CARVING STATION SUCCESS
Catering a large-scale event is all about creating a great guest experience, and it starts with a well-designed carving station with a high-quality, showstopping cut of meat as the centerpiece. One trending favorite is a cost-effective center-cut pork loin, brined and smoked to perfection with a maple-seasoned crust that creates a visually stunning presentation. Pork loin is a versatile cut that’s equally at home at an upscale or casual event, with a flavor profile that pairs well with a limitless variety of complementary sides and accouterments.
Consider dishes that won’t dry out or become soggy on the serving table: creamy garlic mashed potatoes with capers, sliced baguette, roasted cauliflower with parsley and lemon, fig and arugula salad, an elegant succotash with blackeyed peas, corn, and fresh fennel, or grilled Parmesan polenta. Provide a number of garnishes and sauces so guests can customize their plates with creamy horseradish sauce, spicy mustard, tart apple and onion chutney, cornichons, roasted mushrooms, or marinated artichoke hearts.
Other popular proteins that present well and can accommodate larger events are steamship round, a whole smoked turkey, or roasted Atlantic salmon. Create an international menu around your centerpiece with creative brines and seasonings, and exciting sides that will please a crowd.
Asian flavor profiles – Indian, Japanese, Vietnamese, and Indonesian are all trending cuisines.
Latino and Hispanic dishes also pair perfectly with the carving station concept, especially with beef tri-tip and flank steak that are perfect for slicing and serving with tortillas.
Another idea is an impressive and eye-catching roasted rack of lamb as the table’s focal point with a variety of Mediterranean tapas to add to the plate. Serve more than one protein within the same flavor profile to provide even more options for guests. A carving station is the perfect place to showcase a beautifully designed and executed menu that appeals to the greatest number of people.
According to the Wedding Report, roughly 2.5 million weddings will take place this year, and along with those come the same amount of wedding showers. Brunch is a popular choice for this type of event, so offering it as part of your catering services can maximize profits in this niche daypart. Brunch is the perfect time to shine as a chef as the limitations that typically constrain certain dayparts are lifted, and creativity is the order of the day.
There’s a certain been-there, done-that with trendy dishes like avocado toast and chicken and waffles, and today’s diners expect to be surprised and delighted with late-morning fare, so delivering fresh concepts that work for a crowd is a must. It’s important to offer a menu that incorporates vegan/vegetarian options along with meatier options yet retains some classics while still being inventive.
Eggs are a no-brainer, but they don’t have to be scrambled. Serve sunny-side-up atop spicy kimchi-garlic fried rice, or make sausage-and-breadcrumb-coated Scotch eggs with a dollop of grainy mustard.
For people with bigger appetites, serve a hearty French onion soup and roast beef dip sandwich with au jus, caramelized onions, and Swiss cheese.
Serve the whole table at once with a classic brunch/breakfast board or create specialized versions, such as a vegan brunch board, Mexican brunch board, or a waffle brunch board – a variety of unique choose-your-own boards is an especially appealing option for catering service.
For dessert, leave coffee cake behind and offer a cool, on-trend crêpe cake instead that will wow a larger group. Or capitalize on the bold flavor of inseason summer berries and bake individual crisps or crumbles and top with whipped cream that party guests can grab at their leisure.