Why Caterers Are Keeping up with the Kardashians: Celebrity Catering Trends YOU Should Be Using, Too
Why should you care about what Kim and Kanye did at their wedding—or what Jessica Simpson and fiancé Eric ate at their four-day nuptials (the food for which apparently cost over $300,000, not including alcohol)?
Because celebrity-news-hungry clients are going to come to you with ideas for their own weddings and parties based on what they read in tabloids and online. And you want to be prepared. You’ll come across as the caterer in the know!
And even though many of these ideas come from weddings, they should translate well for all sorts of events, including corporate shindigs.
Here are emerging trends from 2014 celebrity weddings.
Pre-wedding eve dinners
Think rehearsal dinner, but bigger! People are starting to have bigger rehearsal dinners and are including out-of-town guests as a courtesy. We like this trend, because the evening-before meal gives hosts and guests alike a chance to catch up or get to know each other before the pressure of “the big day” hits. This strategy could be great for any large event—not just weddings. Kate Walsh of Grey’s Anatomy did a large pre-wedding dinner for her guests, as did Al Gore when his daughter got married.
Wolfgang Puck has all the best ideas—and his motto for hors d’oeuvres is if you can’t eat it in one bite, it’s too big. Think a mini-caprese on a stick, with one small cherry or grape tomato, one small piece of fresh mozzarella, and a piece of fresh basil on a stick. A potsticker with a little sauce in an elegant Asian-styled spoon that guests can eat in one slurp. Even miniature s’mores! What do you have in your catering software database that can be shrunk down and served in one small, fun bite-size portion?
Personalizing the party
You don’t have to carve your guests’ names in a marble table, the way Kimye did at their wedding, to tailor an event to your clients and their guests. Something as simple as renaming dishes from your menu after guests of honor (think things like Annie’s Alfredo and Pasta or Aunt Jenny’s Juleps) can really make guests feel special and make the event memorable. Consider getting a favorite family recipe from the hosts and making a large batch of Mama Mary’s Meatballs or Uncle Bobby’s Brown Cobbler.
For late-night events, serve a satisfying mix of savory and sweet snacks after the dinner and cake to keep guests energized as they dance and socialize through the evening. Jessica Simpson served sliders, French fries, pizza, cookies, and s’mores. Think things that are easy to eat and crowd pleasers.
We’re definitely liking the DIY trend in catering. Not only do some of these self-service ideas take minimal or no staff on your part—guests can experiment with flavors and get exactly what they want. Another great Wolfgang Puck idea is to have a well-timed barista bar, so people can get espressos, iced lattes, and other caffeinated treats just in time to prep them for the main events. Instead of a champagne toast, consider a cocktail bar—offer Champagne and Prosecco, a variety of liquors (such as Chambord, flavored brandies, Framboise, etc.), juices, and fresh fruit, and let guests come up with their own unique combinations. And finally, one trend we really like is DESSERT BARS! Mindy Weiss, wedding consultant to the stars, is seeing dessert bars that include tried-and-true favorites, such as brownies and apple pie, as well as gluten-free, vegan, low-sugar, and other inclusive options—so EVERYONE can indulge!
What’s new about themes
OK, so themed weddings aren’t new, but the themes that people choose can be very timely. For example, Sin City: A Dame to Kill is inspiring vintage film noir, black-and-white themed weddings. What are some themes you could have ready to suggest—but that you can customize to your clients’ personal interests and tastes? ‘60s “Rat Pack” theme with vintage cocktails and American cuisine…Travel and countries, like a French cuisine menu paired with a Versailles theme, à la Kimye this year…A bohemian/hippie/gypsy rhapsody, like Ashlee Simpson’s wedding…Or maybe something a little more rock ‘n’ roll, like Linda Perry and Sara Gilbert’s nuptials (although good luck getting actual ‘80s rock stars to come up and sing their own songs with the band).
And don’t forget…
Other trends we’re seeing are tall cakes (like Mariska Hargitay’s seven-feet-tall cake), lots of color (brides’ dresses are getting more colorful, and the food should match), pairings (mini fish tacos with margarita shooters, for example, or maybe barbecue sliders with a mini stout ice cream float), and a move towards organic and sustainable foods. The idea of using organic, sustainable, locally sourced food isn’t just for crunchy celebs like Alicia Silverstone. It’s a trend that’s here to stay, because it makes sense. Not only will you end up with better quality ingredients—you can often times save money by sourcing fresh ingredients locally. And it’s a bonus that it’s usually better for the environment and the community, too.
What trends are you seeing in your area? We’d love to hear about them!