All Aboard

From hors d’oeuvres to desserts, cheese is picking up steam on catering menus

By Deanne Moskowitz

At a debutante party catered by Joel Catering and Special Events in New Orleans, cheese was a big mover. Four themed carts, effectively uber-stations, delivered cheese and drink assortments to a cheese-hungry crowd of nearly 1,000, reports Sarah Hall, company president. But Joel Catering isn’t the only place where cheese is on a roll. Continue reading »

Oh, What Fun!

December events that added extra holiday sparkle to make spirits bright

By Sara Perez Webber

Events that take place during the holiday season have an extra bit of revelry built in—whether they’re celebrating the holidays or another happy occasion that happens to coincide with the season. The following events took full advantage of their calendar date, warming guests with good food, festive décor and much merriment. Continue reading »

How to: Think Like an Event Planner

By Jonathan Morse, CEO and founder of Tripleseat

Eleven tips to help improve your sales and service

Event planners, service teams and sales teams need each other: You can’t plan events without having any clients, and you can’t get clients without offering top-notch services and events. However, miscommunications and misunderstandings between services and sales and event planners can lead to mistakes. Sales staff may be making promises that can’t be fulfilled on the service side. Or the service team may not be communicating the depth and breadth of what they provide to clients. How can you make sure your people are on the same page? Continue reading »

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 »