It’s no longer enough to simply choose a quality caterer for your corporate events. Instead, you must embrace trending ideas that will make a statement. If you want to create a more meaningful experience at your next event, here are some trending ideas to make your menu more memorable.

Local Sourcing

An exciting menu once meant flying in the most exotic, luxurious foods to an event. Today, it’s just the opposite, with people expecting to sample locally sourced foods. While this can be challenging in the winter months of Toronto, you can still focus on the freshest foods available or use ingredients unique to Ontario, from wines to interesting condiments.

This is important because locally sourced ingredients are also eco-friendly, reducing carbon emissions due to transportation. Don’t forget to include local spirits and wines, which are a true mark of locally inspired themes. Today’s Toronto events have a plethora of local microbreweries and distilleries, adding more options to the long list of established Ontario wineries.

Infused Cocktails

Including an original cocktail is always a fun way to begin the evening. Infused cocktails range from spices and fruits to flowers and herbs. Infusing begins with your choice of spirit, such as vodka or gin, and then enhancing the taste with your own blend of flavours. Cocktails are then created for a show-stopping signature drink. And don’t forget to create a mocktail for non-drinkers and designated drivers.

Food for Thought

Attention to health provides smarter menus to meet the needs of changing diet trends. From low carb to no-glucose and non-GMO foods to foods packed with Omega-3, you can provide a thought-provoking menu that not only feeds the soul but also provides an education on how healthy foods can taste fantastic. This is also the best way to make food more inclusive with vegan options, respect for religious dietary restrictions, etc.

Grab-and-Go Food Stations

A modern twist on the humdrum buffet, the grab-and-go food station works with today’s diners who prefer the grazing approach to meals. People can choose small portions and sample foods as their hunger demands, allowing you to address every desire from a long list of food choices. This is an excellent option where mingling is productive and encouraged at corporate events.
Guests are more likely to interact outside the group at their table. You can even base each food station on a wine, beer, or cocktail pairing to make things more fun.

Immersive Food Experiences

Experiential events are more popular than ever, providing an opportunity to entertain, educate, or inspire participation. This can include onsite chefs preparing food at food stations, allowing guests to participate in creating their own foods, or interactive classes as a group activity. If your event could use some publicity, this is the best way to encourage social media posts. Provide some hashtags and incorporate the event into your marketing plans.

Sustainable Foods and Charitable Donations

When you combine foods from sustainable farms and food producers, you support the eco-minded. To enhance your efforts, demonstrate a commitment to reducing food waste by ensuring all leftover ingredients are sent to food pantries, and uneaten prepared foods make it to local soup kitchens.

Indulging the Senses

Create a menu that delights all five senses with foods that look beautiful, taste delicious, smell unbelievable, feel messy, or even offer a unique sound such as Japanese food being cooked on an open grill.

Fusion

This isn’t such a new trend, but the cultures included in fusion cuisine have changed a bit. Not only can you include the ingredients common to different cultures, but also include different dining traditions. It might be a Japanese tea ceremony or a British tea gathering with sandwiches and cakes. It could be skipping the cocktails to respect cultures who don’t imbibe or introducing a few common spirits enjoyed by other cultures, such as Greek Ouzo or warm Japanese Sake. The trick is to balance traditions and ingredients to create a multi-cultural, inclusive experience for your guests.

Comfort Foods

This trend leans towards less upscale foods and presents a menu that indulges childhood memories and traditions. We’re talking about the dishes that people can really dig into, including the many foods often considered taboo today. Gooey mac and cheese, hearty stews, mouthwatering pot roast, homemade rustic bread and rolls, creamy soups, mashed potatoes, baked ham, meatloaf, open-faced hot sandwiches smothered in gravy — you get the picture. Stick to home cooking to calm nerves, create warm memories, and allow people to kick back and relax.

Tableside Offerings

This is the old school tradition of preparing certain foods tableside while guests watch. Common dishes include Caesar salad and desserts like crepes Suzette and bananas foster. Modern twists could be a salad of any kind, freshly prepared cold gazpacho, or even hand-rolled sushi. If this is too much work, introduce the 1960s roving cocktail cart instead, where bartenders wander the event mixing drinks made to order.

Poke Bowls

The sushi craze has given way to poke, a Hawaiian dish filled with fresh ingredients such as raw fish, sauces, rice, and vegetables. Bowls of any kind offer an excellent option for food stations, as guests can choose what they want and create their own fresh meals. Some examples include oils, citrus juices, vegetables, miso, salsas, and an assortment of raw fish, such as salmon or arctic char.

Barbecue and Smoked Meat

Fire up the grill and hold an outside picnic with a selection of ribs, burgers, brisket, chicken, wings, and more. Guests choose the meat, how they want it served, and a selection of grilled or traditional sides. Include a vegan choice such as smoked portobello mushroom burgers, and maybe even have a seafood option, like smoked fish, to keep everyone happy. In the winter, the grilled meats can be served at carving stations to bring a touch of summer to the dreary gray months of the year.

The catering trends today make the possibilities for your next event more exciting than ever. If you would like to discuss your catering options, speak to our team at Chateau Le Jardin today.