Events are all about creating amazing experiences to connect people. Great food can be a wonderful facilitator for this; after all, for most of us, it is a fairly common denominator.
In 2014, event caterer Jackson Gilmour and the Science Museum published ‘The Science Events Survey’, which revealed 80% of participants left events feeling hungry. Furthermore, 84% of respondents stated they had a desire to eat something new and exciting.
When planning events, it can be really difficult to choose something to please all palates. Will everyone like Mexican? How spicy should the dish be? So, how can you create a great experience for your guests without having them leave with their bellies rumbling?
I have been to my fair share of events, and I love food, so I have put together some food for thought and shared my top 5 mouthwatering event catering tips to inspire you.
The science events survey revealed that 64% of the event attendees surveyed enjoyed canapés. These work really well at events, particularly when there is a lot of networking involved, so you can have a quick bite whilst you circulate the room. However, I find that some events I have attended have overly complicated, half bite canapés, that you need at least 5 to feel in anyway satisfied, and you’re not 100% sure of what you have even eaten!
My favourite canapés are comfort food, but with a twist. For example, I tried some delicious mini Indian tacos at a New York event this year. They were tightly wrapped, so weren’t messy, could be eaten in one or two bites, and the chick pea and lentils stuffing meant they were quite a substantial dish. Another favourite of mine that works really well, is mini burger canapés. The bread and meat makes them quite filling, and you can experiment with different cheeses and chutneys in between to add a little extra surprise.
Choosing an exciting twist of classic comfort food, will ensure that your guests can try new, interesting versions of the foods they know and love, and get a good hearty bite so they don’t leave hungry.
Whether it is in New York, San Francisco, Melbourne, Berlin or Belfast, the majority of the meet ups I have attended (particularly in tech) are catered by the good old staple, Pizza. However, pizza can be great for larger events as well, and there are lots of things you can do with this classic, as you can have as many creative bases, cheeses and toppings as you like, to create a slightly more sophisticated bite. Another advantage is that these our easy for your caterers to prepare, and you can use toppings that suit your budget.
3. Variety is the Spice of Life
One solution is to have a basic meat, chicken is the most obvious, and vegetable option (or fish, if you can budget) for your guests plate, and then, bring down a variety of sauces for them to choose from. This way, your guests can have fun trying new things without having them forced on them. Don’t neglect the 16%, they’re still your guests, so make sure you have a plainer option for them.
You can do the same with their sides. One of the best events I attended offered guests a choice of noodles and rice dishes to accompany our mains, so we could try a bit of everything.
Sushi is a great option for events. They are surprisingly easy to make (I’ve made my own quite a few times) and can contain simple ingredients, so they don’t have to burn budget. I think a lot of event planners are put off them because not everyone will like raw fish, however there are lots of recipes for vegetable and cooked meat dishes that you can ask your caterer about. I had BBQ Beef sushi in Melbourne and it was delicious!
Certainly not traditional Sushi by any stretch, but it does add a wow factor for your guests, and the rice makes it very filling.
Tip: Ask for some rice sheet rolls, as not everyone will appreciate the seaweed sheets.
5. Fruit Kebab
These work really well as a filler for when your guests are networking, and work at any time of the day. They’re healthy, look great and they aren’t messy as they’re on a stick, so no awkward moments for your guests.
There are so many great ideas that you can have for these, and you can make them more interesting by adding extra ingredients. Don’t be afraid to ask your venue caterer about including these to your menu, or make them up yourselves for smaller events, as they are very easy to prepare.
Tip: Remember to ask guests for any food allergies. You can do this at the ticketing stage by making it a compulsory question upon your guests ticket purchase.
Do you have a memorable event dish? Let us know by sharing below!