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8 Top Tips for Flawless Catering

Before buying, you should think carefully about how you’ll be using your picnic hampers Sydney to ensure you choose the right one.

1. The palate has it. The individual tastes of your guests will affect your menu preparation. In order to please every palate, ensure that your menu reflects the style of your event. For example, if you’re catering for a cocktail reception, you can create simple yet elegant hors d’oeuvres that cater for a wide variety of tastes. Be inspired by the new spring: infuse your menu with the light, tart flavours of seasonal fruits and fresh seafood. Pair crisp asparagus with earthy goat’s cheese, or stick to a classic fresh bruschetta.

If you’re holding a sit-down dinner, seduce your guests with a theme. Style your event with a French provincial theme: serve rich truffles and confits, platters of soft Brie and sweet chestnuts and walnuts, and dazzle your guests with a main such as bouillabaisse or a hearty cassoulet. Good catering is about exciting flavours as well as a consistency and harmony between each dish.

2. Each guest has their own needs. Part of your menu will be determined by your guests. Before you and your caterer begin to plan your menu, you need to have a list of dietary requirements of your guests. Who is vegetarian, vegan, organic only, or Atkins? Which of your guests is allergic to gluten, fish, tree nuts, dairy, or soybeans? Do any of your guests have religious dietary restrictions such as pork, beef, or seafood? Do you require a Halal butcher or a Kosher cooking environment? Know your guests before you know your menu, and communicate these requirements to your caterer. A good caterer will have the ability to work around any number of dietary requirements in order to provide a mouth-watering meal for every guest.

3. Individual tastes. The different likes and dislikes of your guests will play a role in your menu composition. Of course, it would be impractical to know the exact likes and dislikes of each individual guest if you’re catering for a large party, so the key to success in this circumstance is variety. If you’re catering for a sit-down meal, you could include an alternating menu drop for each table, including two differing entrees, mains and desserts, with a variety of side dishes to complement each course. Serve chicken and beef, or lamb and fish, or even a protein-based and vegetable-based dish for your main, as well as a number of pasta dishes or warm and cold salads to satisfy each and every guest.

One of the best ways to cater for a wide variety of tastes is a cocktail menu. You can serve any number of hors d’oeuvres and cocktails during a revolving platter service. Identify a number of dishes that are likely to be the most popular and order extra servings of these. You can ask your caterer about the best ways to provide variety for a large party of guests: an experienced caterer will give you good advice.

4. Taste testing is essential. Try before you buy by organising a tasting session with your chosen caterer. Previewing the flavours, freshness, and quality of presentation will give you a good idea of the way each of your dishes will be served on the day of your event. This is also a good time to refine any dishes that you’re not yet satisfied with.

5. Plan, plan, plan. Before you begin to create your menu, you need to know the details of your event. The location of your event will affect the items you can include on your menu, as well as the formality and the number of guests you invite. Similarly, your budget will play a huge role in determining what you include on your menu.

6. Decoration! You can add ambience and theming to your event with some simple decorations. Colour-theme your tableware, including napkins and flowers. Include candles or lanterns for a warm, muted lighting effect, or coloured lights above a dance floor. If you’re catering for a crowd of organics and environmentalists, use decorations made from recycled materials. You can even complement your menu’s theme: Chinese lanterns could accompany an Asian-style banquet. Be creative and think outside the box.

7. Professionalism is the key. It’s not only the food that will impress your guests, but also the standard of service. Before you hire a catering company, look for reviews on their level of promptness, professionalism, and service. You want your wait staff to look smart and act in a respectable, refined manner. Additionally, you want to ensure that your food is prepared in a safe and hygienic way. Ensure that the catering company you select has all of the necessary qualifications, as well as a good reputation within the industry.

8. Meals as works of art. The flavour of a dish is one thing, but the presentation of a meal is another. You want your palate to be excited through all of the necessary senses: sight, smell, and taste. Avoid particularly elaborate presentation for large crowds, though: the logistics of creating a gastronomic masterpiece for a party of 150 people are ridiculous. Suit your style of presentation to the number of guests in order to ensure that service runs smoothly and on time.

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