More Fun in the Sun

10 ways to add extra fun and flair to your outdoor events

By Sara Perez Webber

Spring and summer are here, bringing more events to the great outdoors. With their carefree ambience, occasions under the sun and stars invite fun activities and whimsical décor, as shown in these 10 winning ideas from caterers, event planners and venues. Continue reading »

Lifting the Lid

In their new book, brothers Matt Lee and Ted Lee share their undercover experiences—the good, the bad and the ugly—in the high-stakes world of New York catering

By Sara Perez Webber

“What kind of person chooses this as a nightly drill?” That’s the question Ted Lee asks himself as he’s helping to plate entrees for a $2,000-a-head gala for 465 guests. It was “the most extravagant party of New York’s fall social season that year,” he writes, a high-stakes event for caterer Sonnier & Castle. But the pressure reaches a boiling point after complaints of lukewarm food, prompting Chef Patrick Phelan to demand that servers start sprinting back to the kitchen to get the plates out faster. Continue reading »

Spicing Things Up

By Deanne Moskowitz

You may be surprised to learn that the state with the fastest-growing Latin American population between 2000 and 2015 was Georgia, according to the Pew Research Center. That demographic change has spurred demand over the last 10 years for Latin American cuisines at Talk of the Town Catering & Special Events in Roswell, a suburb of Atlanta, according to Andrew Brackner, executive chef and owner. As people see so many different cultures living next door, he says, they are “naturally curious” about every aspect—“most importantly, their food.” Continue reading »

On the Cutting Edge

By Sara Perez Webber

More people than ever attended The NAFEM Show in February, checking out the latest in foodservice equipment and supplies. The record-breaking show—put on by the North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers (NAFEM)—attracted 643 exhibiting companies and more than 22,000 registrants, while occupying more than 378,000 square feet at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla. Continue reading »

A Century of Service

As the National Restaurant Association and its popular annual trade show celebrate their 100-year anniversary, Dawn Sweeney, the association’s president and CEO, discusses challenges faced by the industry, as well as its importance to the U.S. economy.

By Sara Perez Webber

In 1917, U.S. egg brokers tried to demand a price of 65 cents a dozen—a move protested by the year-old Kansas City Restaurant Association, which organized a successful egg boycott in response. Egg prices plummeted to 32 cents a dozen. Recognizing that there’s strength in numbers, the Kansas City restaurateurs expanded their reach; they launched a nationwide organization in 1919, holding the first meeting of what is today the National Restaurant Association, which then represented an industry of 43,000 restaurants. Continue reading »

Station Success

Creating memorable moments with clever and interactive food stations

By Connie Jeske Crane

Whether they’re dessert walls, cilantro-scented DIY taco bars or rumbling carts bearing dim sum, it seems food stations are everywhere these days. As the International Caterers Association reported in 2016, “One of the biggest growths in requested food styles has been food stations, with more caterers providing more food stations than ever before.” And the trend shows no signs of stopping. Continue reading »

Mediterranean’s on the Move

Middle Eastern and North African cuisines are making waves

By Deanne Moskowitz

When restaurants start winning James Beard awards for Israeli/Mediterranean cuisine, the general public gets excited,” points out Ryan Bouillet, executive chef at A Fare Extraordinaire in Houston. He’s alluding to Israeli-themed Zahav in Philadelphia, whose chef/owner Michael Solomonov was the 2017 James Beard choice for Best Chef and who turned Bouillet on to Middle Eastern cuisine at a chefs’ workshop in New York City in 2013. Continue reading »

Seeds to Success

What does it take to be named Greenest Caterer in the nation? We find out from Heidi Moorman Coudal, owner of Big Delicious Planet in Chicago

By Sara Perez Webber

In October, Big Delicous Planet—a Chicago-based catering company founded in 1994—earned the Greenest Caterer in the nation award from the Green Restaurant Association (GRA). It’s an impressive feat, reflecting the sustainable practices the company has increasingly incorporated into its day-to-day operations. Continue reading »

Sweet Talk

How are couples choosing to add a sweet note to their wedding receptions? Experts share the latest trends in cakes and wedding desserts.

By Sara Perez Webber

A signature wedding order at Charlotte Patisserie in Brooklyn, personal cakes allow each guest to have his or her own miniature cake. Most popular are airy sponge cakes, sweetened with a light mousse. In fact, Michael Lechowicz—the French Culinary Institute-trained executive chef of Charlotte Patisserie—carved out a niche in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint neighborhood by offering lighter, Continue reading »

Something New

What’s popular and up-and-coming at wedding receptions? The experts fill us in.

By Sara Perez Webber

If you’ve ever seen wedding photos from the ’70s, you know how important having a timeless wedding-day look can be. But that doesn’t mean that nuptial traditions and customs should be frozen in time. To find out what’s popular and up-and-coming in food, décor and entertainment at wedding receptions, we asked a range of industry experts what they’re seeing. Continue reading »