With the end of the year fast approaching, we decided to look back on the biggest trends from this year and forward to the future in event catering. We asked two experts, caterer Rupert Worden, owner of The Fine Dining Company and Stuart Duff, Executive Chef at the Hilton Deansgate, what their thoughts are on what has been popular in 2016 and what they think will be big in 2017.
Rupert Worden commented that “there is definitely a more relaxed approach to dining, sharing style, grazing stations & street style cooking has definitely been on trend. This style of cooking and eating is far more sociable, encouraging guests to ‘break bread’ together.” Stuart Duff, agreed stating that “due to busy work schedules, over the past year graze dining and sharing has been on the up, and people want instantaneous food on-the-go.” More clients are stepping away from the formal three course dinner and are asking for something more casual to reflect the atmosphere at their event.
Organised by Out There Events and catered by The Fine Dining Company.
Following on from the relaxed dining theme, experiential dining has also seen an increase this year as people look for alternative ways to make food fun. Catersource.com notes that there has been an increase in ‘build your own’ food at events which combines dining and an activity; we love the idea of a s’mores bar where you can melt your own marshmallows.
“The catering market will continue with the more relaxed dining direction, with a greater bias towards more Eastern Cuisines and healthy eating” explains Rupert. “People are fast learning that the sugar filled foods forced upon the western palette are not what we are designed to eat. We are slowly being re-educated to eat “real” foods, which not only work for our bodies, but taste amazing too!”
From Deliciously Ella to the Helmsley Sisters, health gurus are a huge influence over what we eat, and according to the experts, this trend will only grow. Stuart believes that “dietary lifestyle choices, such as gluten free and Paleo will be more popular and readily available than before”, meaning that caterers will have to be more flexible with what they offer clients due to an ever growing list of dietary requirements.
“Customers are interested in sustainable farming and the provenance of products, so seasonal, locally sourced dishes appeal to that market” explains Stuart. With growing pressure on all industries to become sustainable, event caterers must adapt as well, with many already offering locally produced food nowadays, 2017 will see a rise in customers wanting to know not only what is in their food but where it comes from. Taking sustainability up a notch, Stuart explains that “foraging for ingredients is already on the rise”, this is where guests literally forage for their food before being served what they have collected that day. This ‘hands on’ style of dining is ideal if you are looking for something different for a conference or team building day.
So it looks like we are going to be saying goodbye to standard diet damaging sandwiches and cakes and hello to guilt free dining in 2017! We love working to a creative catering brief from a client, we believe that offering a catering option that is different and unique to attendees can help transform the event and create a lasting impression.