Catering can make or break an event. The food and presentation set the tone and create a memorable experience for guests. That’s why it’s important to keep up with the latest creative catering trends when planning an event. Catering trends evolve each year as new styles, cuisines, and presentation ideas emerge. Following the trends shows the guests you put thought and care into the event, and it’s a great way to make your event stand out from the crowd. If you’re looking for a catering company that can help you stay ahead of the curve, Let Us Cater Chicago catering is a great option. This article will highlight ten creative catering trends for 2023 that are fresh, innovative, and sure to impress your attendees. From sustainable options to interactive stations, these are the top trends that will make your next event unique, stylish, and delicious.
Trend 1: Sustainable Catering
Sustainable catering focuses on locally sourced, organic, and seasonal ingredients to reduce environmental impact. It cuts down on food waste, plastic and paper usage, and transportation emissions. Benefits include supporting local farms, reducing your carbon footprint, and providing fresher, healthier options. When choosing a sustainable caterer, ask about their sourcing practices, if they use compostable serve ware, and minimize food waste.
Trend 2: Plant-Based Catering
Plant-based catering offers creative, tasty options without any animal products. It features veggies, grains, legumes, fruits, and meat/dairy alternatives. Benefits include appealing to vegan/vegetarian guests, lighter fare, and globally-inspired dishes. When selecting a plant-based caterer, sample menus to ensure variety and nutrition. Check if they can avoid cross-contamination and customize to meet dietary needs. Ensure they cook plants properly for optimal texture and flavor.
Trend 3: Interactive Catering Stations
Interactive catering stations allow guests to customize their meals or get a behind-the-scenes look at food prep. Popular options are DIY taco/pizza bars, omelet stations, raw bars, or cocktail mixing stations. Benefits include entertainment value, tailored options, and memorable experiences. When setting these up, offer a mix of proteins, toppings, sauces, and labelling. Have an attendant to assist—position in an open area with queue lines.
Trend 4: Themed Catering
Themed catering revolves around a central concept, era, location, or style. Popular ideas are 80’s nostalgia, carnival fare, Parisian cafes, or salsa bar. Benefits include cohesive, stylized events and conversational pieces. When planning themed catering, ensure menu items and presentation align with the theme. Incorporate appropriate music, decor, and serving ware. Offer interactive elements like contests or activities to engage guests. Work closely with a caterer to bring the theme to life through all senses.
Trend 5: Miniature Food
Miniature food features bite-sized portions of normal dishes. Items like mini burgers, skewers, shooters, and tarts are popular. Benefits include sampling ability, easy eating, and built-in portion control. When serving mini foods, offer a mix of 4-5 pieces per person for balance. Mix cold and hot items. Consider passed services or stationed platters for ease. Include toothpicks, napkins, and plates for tidiness. Focus on presentation with garnishes.
Trend 6: Fusion Cuisine
Fusion cuisine combines elements from different culinary traditions on one plate. Popular dishes include Pho tacos, Thai pizza, and Ramen burgers. The blend of flavors and styles creates unique options guests may not have tried. When choosing a fusion caterer, sample dishes to ensure cohesive results. Ask about their culinary influences and training. Ensure they carefully balance flavors and fuse techniques properly. An experienced fusion caterer can meld cuisines into an appetizing, seamless meal.
Trend 7: Food Trucks
Food trucks offer casual, on-the-go catering options like tacos, barbecue, burgers and more. Benefits include built-in entertainment, customizable menus, and festival vibes. When hiring food trucks, choose ones that suit your theme and cuisine preferences. Ask about power requirements, parking access, and service styles. Have a rain plan for outdoor events. Schedule trucks to stagger arrival so lines don’t overlap.
Trend 8: DIY Catering Kits
DIY catering kits provide prepped ingredients and recipes for guests to assemble themselves. Benefits include interaction, customization and allergy accommodation. When selecting a kit, consider group size, theme, and skill level. Look for detailed instructions and pre-portioned ingredients. Make sure needed equipment, servingware, and garnishes are included. For ease, choose dishes that can be prepared ahead then quickly assembled on-site. Provide a finished sample for guidance.
Trend 9: Grazing Tables
Grazing tables feature bountiful arrays of small bites like cheeses, fruits, nuts, and crackers for guests to casually graze on. Benefits include interactive socializing and abundant options. When setting them up, layer height with risers and tiered platters for visual appeal. Incorporate lots of textures and colors. Include small plates and napkins for convenience. Maintain freshness with frequent refills or staff redistributing items.
Trend 10: Dessert Tables
Dessert tables showcase a sweet assortment of cakes, pies, macarons, chocolates, and more. They add a touch of indulgence. When designing them, follow a theme and artfully arrange items at varying heights. Include signage so guests know what they’re eating. Offer takeaway boxes or bags so guests can sample multiple items. Keep the table looking bountiful with replenished trays. Insert interactive elements like create-your-own-sundae or candy stations.
Catering trends like interactive stations, themed menus, miniature foods, fusion cuisine, food trucks, DIY kits, grazing tables, and dessert displays provide creative ways to make events unique and memorable. By staying up-to-date on the latest catering innovations, hosts can choose options that best suit their vision and guests. Whether it’s farm-to-table cuisine, a Parisian cafe, a salsa bar, or a make-your-own-taco station, these on-trend catering styles offer variety, entertainment, and customized experiences that can elevate any event.