Hot Pots!

The Asian culinary fire keeps spreading, with Korean and Hawaiian influences fanning the flames

By Deanne Moskowitz

The fastest-growing ethnic population in the United States between the years 2010 and 2015 was Asian, according to United States Census data, so it’s not surprising that Asian influences are strong on catering menus. But credit for the evolving manifestations of the trend, and its expression in Westernized and fusion dishes goes to—you guessed it—the millennials, both the first-generation American offspring of immigrants and young people with unrelated ancestry. Continue reading »

State of Affairs

A profile of three off-premise caterers, who share the trends they’re seeing, the growth they’re planning, and their outlook on the business

By Sara Perez Webber

How’s business in the off-premise catering world? That’s the question we posed to three catering companies of varying sizes, in different areas of the country. Their answers are encouraging, as each company grows and expands into new segments. One common thread? All note consumers’ increasing demand for unusual, personalized events—a demand that off-premise caterers are uniquely qualified to meet. Continue reading »

How to Save Casual Dining

Events and catering can diversify a restaurant’s revenue stream, helping it to survive in a difficult market

By Alex Lassiter, Co-Founder of Gather

Following the worst year for restaurant sales since the Great Recession (according to restaurant analyst TDn2K), the “polished” casual dining segment is inching closer toward extinction. Last August, Ruby Tuesday announced plans to shut down 95 of its locations, while the Boston-based chain Cosi filed for bankruptcy less than two months later. Continue reading »

Smokin’ HOT

How three caterers who specialize in barbecue meet the growing demand for this down-home cuisine

By Sara Perez Webber

“Barbecue may not be the road to world peace, but it’s a start.” —Anthony Bourdain

Perhaps because it’s associated with large, fun-filled gatherings—or maybe just because it’s so darn tasty—consumers continue to go hog-wild for barbecue-style cuisine. Three caterers who specialize in barbecue tell us about their menus, their customers and how they’re satisfying a need for good, old-fashioned comfort food. Continue reading »

Alfresco Events

Fresh air, sunshine, moonlight—and, yes, even some rain—helped set the stage for these outdoor affairs

By Sara Perez Webber

The pros at Someone’s in the Kitchen (SITK) in Tarzana, Calif., didn’t let rain spoil the fun for a 70-year-old entrepreneur’s Cirque du Soleil-themed birthday party.
The event took place in July 2015 “when the weather is perfect in Southern California,” notes Cheryl Fish, vice president of SITK Design Services. Continue reading »

Keeping It Simple

Chef and Food Network star Alex Guarnaschelli will soon debut a cookbook designed to be a kitchen staple

By Sara Perez Webber

Alex Guarnaschelli knew she wanted to be a chef since the day she graduated from New York’s Barnard College in 1991. The seed had been planted much earlier, however, when as a child she’d watch her mother, esteemed cookbook editor Maria Guarnaschelli, experiment with recipes from whatever project she was working on at the time, while encouraging Alex to help her in the kitchen.

After college, Guarnaschelli trained under chef and restaurateur Larry Forgione in New York before attending culinary school in France and landing a sous chef position at one of Guy Savoy’s restaurants in Paris. She returned to her hometown for a job at New York’s Daniel under Daniel Boulud, working her way up to sous chef. After a stint with Joachim Splichal’s Patina Group in Los Angeles, Guarnaschelli again made her way back to Manhattan, to open Splichal’s first New York City venture. Continue reading »

Kitchen Talk

Appliances and foodservice equipment continue to evolve, becoming safer, more efficient and even better-looking

By Sara Perez Webber

What are the latest and greatest kitchen technologies? How are appliances evolving to make working kitchens safer and more efficient? What products are on the market to help foodservice operators do their jobs better? Knowing the answers to those questions can make all the Continue reading »

Outside the Box

How large facilities and institutions—such as stadiums, universities and convention centers—are growing their catering business with creative cuisine and community outreach.

By Sara Perez Webber

As weddings go, this one’s sure to score a touchdown. In May, a Miami Dolphins-loving couple will tie the knot on the football field at the newly renovated Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., home of the Dolphins and Miami Hurricanes. Their reception in one of the stadium’s private clubs will feature Dolphins-themed pastries and decorations, as they celebrate their favorite team while they celebrate their union.

It’s one example of how large facilities and institutions—including stadiums, universities and convention centers—are casting a wider catering net. They’re booking events during off-periods, catering off-site, and establishing reputations in their communities for innovative, creative cuisine and interesting venues.

At the Hard Rock Stadium—where Centerplate is the food, service and hospitality provider— Continue reading »

Star Power

With an expanding restaurant portfolio and new line of kitchen products, Geoffrey Zakarian continues to expand his culinary reach

By Deanne Moskowitz

You may not guess it from his laid-back manner and meticulous grooming, but Geoffrey Zakarian is moving at an incredible clip. The celebrity chef, television personality, cookbook author, philanthropist and (most important, he insists) “Daddy” has been riding a rocket to culinary stardom since he fell in love with the hospitality world and decided to become a chef, and he shows no signs of slowing down.

After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in 1983, Zakarian began his career at Le Cirque in New York, where he rose from pastry sous chef, to chef, to chef de cuisine in only five years. He went on to preside over some of the most acclaimed kitchens in America, before opening his first restaurant in 2001, Town, which was awarded three stars by The New York Times.

Ever since, Zakarian has been lighting up the hospitality landscape with a string of luminary restaurants, notable for their sophistication and timeless style. Among them are The Lambs Club and The National in New York; Continue reading »

Healthy Profits

By Deanne Moskowitz

Recently, Robin Selden, managing partner and executive chef of Marcia Selden Catering & Event Planning in Stamford, Conn., took a smart step to “keep up with the times.” She assigned a chef the role of developing recipes weekly that are healthy, “sexy and exciting,” and, since the chef herself is gluten-intolerant, every dish is designed with a gluten-free and vegan twist. Selden sees demand for “a much healthier way of eating,” so lately she’s “always thinking about that person who has a dietary concern and/or wants to eat healthier.” Continue reading »