Promote Smoked Foods on Your Menu to Increase Business

Smoked Food is the Biggest Trend in Catering

Catering Trends: Smoked Food

When it comes to catering and keeping up with the latest trends, there’s no rest for the weary. Just when you thought you had a handle on the latest trend – be it craft butter or Greek cuisine – along comes the next big thing and the cards are in the air. Now it’s time to prepare for the era of smoked food of all kinds. It’s hard to ignore the appeal of smoke-flavored foods; from the distinct taste to the pleasant and distinctive aroma, smoked foods are definitely rising in popularity.

Smoke is Not Just for Meat

We spent some time in a recent blog discussing how you can incorporate barbecue into your catering menu, in particular Korean barbecue. But smoke is not just for brisket or other cuts of meat and, in fact, nearly any food or dish can be smoked. The Smoke restaurant in Dallas, Texas, serves a cedar-wood infused tequila cocktail and they are not alone – smoky cocktails are all the rage. All you need in order to cook up original and delicious smoked foods are some wood chips (such as hickory, maple, cherry, mesquite, etc.), a grill or smoker, a variety of herbs and seasonings, and your own instinct, imagination, and creativity and voila, a smoked food is born.

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Soft Cheeses Come in a Variety of Types and Can be Used in a Range of Ways

Soft Cheeses: Flavorful, Spreadable, and Special

Soft Cheeses

Although when you think of cheese, you may think immediately of hard, yellow cheeses with their many uses and great varieties, don’t overlook soft cheeses when you’re looking to infuse your next catered event with a tray-ful of flavor. The difference between the many soft cheeses on the market can be subtle, but to the experience palate they are distinct and significant. Some versions of soft cheese work better in certain settings and for many people they are an acquired taste. In any case, learn about soft cheeses here so you can use them at the next possible opportunity.

A Guide to Soft Cheeses

Many people – including caterers – are not that proficient about using a full range of soft cheeses. Beyond putting out a plate of Brie and crackers on a buffet table, many caterers – even those who consider themselves cheese-savvy – don’t give soft cheeses much thought.

Soft cheese can be made from cow, goat, or sheep’s milk and come from countries and places around the globe. Common types of soft cheese are feta, Brie, ricotta, cream cheese, Camembert, Chevre, Roquefort, and gorgonzola, and – of course – cottage cheese. All these cheeses have a special tangy creaminess that no other food imparts.

Hard Cheese vs. Soft Cheese

Soft cheese is un-ripened cheese made by coagulating casein (milk proteins) with acid. Hard cheeses, on the other hand, are aged (ripened), and made by coagulating milk proteins with rennet and culture acids. The ripening process is aided by bacteria or mold. Cheddar, Swiss, Colby, brick and Parmesan are types of bacteria-ripened hard cheeses. Because aging reduces the moisture level in the cheese, hard cheese is drier (and harder) than soft cheese. And, because, bacteria doesn’t grow as easily in dry conditions as in moist ones, hard cheeses keep longer than soft cheeses.

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Greek Cuisine: A Healthful and Delicious Catering Option

Last updated on August 23rd, 2018

Foods Ideas for Catering a Greek-Themed Event

Greek Cuisine

Ethnic food is all the rage at the moment. We’ve already discussed internationally flavored breakfasts and Southwestern cuisine, so now it’s time to put the focus on Greek cuisine. With its heart-friendly ingredients and unique dishes, along with amazing taste and fabulous flavors, Greek cuisine has been enticing foreigners and natives alike for many years. Here, you will find all you need to know about the history of Greek cuisine, as well as the spices and elements that will make it a hit at your next catered event.

History of Greek Cuisine

Greece, located in the southeast of Europe, has a rich history and culture that permeates throughout the country. Though Greek cuisine has evolved significantly over the course of Greece’s history, many traditional dishes are still popular today. Typical Greek cuisine is derived from a general Mediterranean palette and consists of what is known as the “Mediterranean Triad”: grains/wheat, olives/ olive oil, and grapes/wine. The olives and olive oil in particular; and fruits, vegetables, honey, and fish in general, are the pillars of Greek cuisine, and these foods combined, have made Greece to be known as the birthplace of one of the healthiest diets in the world.

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Impress Your Guests with Upgraded and Upscale Pasta Dishes

Last updated on August 16th, 2018

Update Your Pasta Repertoire and Watch it Get Devoured

New Ways to Serve Good, Old Pasta

When it comes to casual catered buffets, there is probably nothing as versatile and, therefore, as ubiquitous, as pasta. In so many shapes and forms, pasta is the chameleon of dishes, changing its shape and size to fit any occasion. Now, pasta is getting a long-needed facelift, thanks to restaurants and chefs who are raising the bar for pasta around the world. With a nip here and a tuck there, you can hone the classics and invent new pasta dishes that will impress and satisfy even the most discerning client.

Who Doesn’t Love Pasta?

Everyone loves pasta. According to the International Pasta Organization, dried pasta is the most prominent pasta variety sold in the United States and sales reach about $3.3 billion annually. The chilled and fresh pasta retail value is projected to reach $340 million this year, while in 2016 there were 1.16 billion units of pasta sold in U.S. supermarkets. That’s a lot of pasta!

There are many reasons why pasta is so popular. First reason is that it is simply so good, taste-wise and even health-wise. Although carbohydrates in general, and pasta in particular, have gotten a bad rap lately, nutritionists agree that pasta is a healthy food and that complex carbohydrates are essential for any diet, especially when paired with other healthy foods, such as greens, vegetables, olive oil, etc. As the Pasta Fits website says, pasta is a “perfect foundation for healthy, nutritious, and satisfying meals. It is generally eaten with nutrient-dense food partners, such as fiber-filled vegetables and beans, heart healthy fish and monounsaturated oils, antioxidant-rich tomato sauce, and protein-packed cheeses, poultry, and lean meats.”

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How Vegetable Shakes and Smoothie Bowls Can Put Your Business on the Map

Last updated on July 19th, 2018

Serve Vegetable-Forward Drinks to Impress Your Catering Clientele

Cater With Vegetable-Based Drinks

An important part of any catered event is quenching your guests’ thirst. Nowadays it’s not enough to place a few bottles of sparkling water or Coke on each table; a beverage station – serving hot perked coffee, freshly brewed tea, and blended drinks that are created on the spot – is a feature that no event can do without. Smoothies and shakes have long been part of a caterer’s beverage repertoire, as they allow guests to customize their beverages with ingredients of their choosing. Now, however, with the arrival of warmer months, along with the increase in healthier menu offerings, it’s time to liven up your beverage menu by introducing your guests to fresh, bright, vegetable-based smoothies.

Eating and Drinking Healthy is Here to Stay

There are basically two options for including a beverage bar at the events that you cater: you can handle all the drink-making yourself (with staff that you hire and train), or you can outsource to a company that specializes in serving beverages at catered events. Either way, the drinks that you serve at your upcoming events will have to conform to the current trends: healthy, sustainable, and seasonal. When it comes to drinks, this means that your clients will be looking for freshly squeezed juices and blended smoothies made from organic, local, and seasonal fruits and vegetables. Many people are trying to incorporate more vegetables in their diets, and juicing is a great way to capture a lot of vitamins and minerals from raw produce that might otherwise be lost during cooking.

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How to Cater for Clients Who Want Gut-Friendly Foods

Tips for Catering and Creating a Gut-Friendly Menu

How to Create a Gut-Friendly Catering Menu

For years, we thought of bacteria as organisms that are bad for us, even deadly. However, research has shown that the human body is loaded with “good bacteria,” which help us to digest food and contribute to our well-being. Serving “gut-friendly foods,” – foods that contain friendly bacteria that aid digestion and help to prevent certain diseases – is a big catering trend right now. Add these foods to your menu and your customers will appreciate the effort you make to help keep them healthy while they enjoy your tasty food.

What Are Gut Bacteria?

The gut is simply another word for our gastrointestinal system, which starts in the mouth and includes the esophagus, stomach, pancreas, liver, gallbladder, small intestine, colon, and rectum. The gut is essential in sustaining and protecting the health of our bodies, starting with the intake and absorption of nutrients. The digestive process is the foundation for our body’s ability to function and stay healthy.

Roughly 300 to 500 different kinds of bacteria live inside our gut, along with other tiny organisms, like viruses and fungi, which form the body’s “microbiome.” Every person has a unique microbiome, which is influenced by genes, as well as diet and lifestyle. Our gut bacteria line our digestive system and affect everything from our immune system and metabolism, to our moods and temperament. Gut bacteria help to break down the foods we eat and aid in the digestion of the nutrients that support our body’s functions, such as energy production, skin health, and mental health.

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Salmon: Loaded with Nutrients and Flavor

Salmon: The Fish That Everyone Loves

Salmon: Versatile, Nutritious, and Delicious

When it comes to foods that meet what are arguably the three most important criteria – taste, nutritional value, and ease of preparation – salmon heads the list. Salmon is delicious, it just about cooks itself, and it has more health benefits than we can keep track of. Salmon is also super-versatile – it can be baked, broiled, grilled, and poached, and with so little work on your part, it never fails to be delicious.

All About Salmon

Salmon is an outstanding and unusual fish; outstanding because it’s incredibly tasty, and unusual because both fish lovers and non-fish lovers tend to like it. It’s a fatty, succulent fish with plenty of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, plus a big dose of protein, and an abundance of vitamins. It’s readily available all year round, and, even the most inexperienced (or lazy) cook can prepare it in no time.

Salmon is the common name for fish in the order Salmoniformes. Salmon are “anadromous,” which means that most types of this fish are born in fresh water, migrate to the salt water of the open sea, and then return to fresh water to reproduce, or “spawn.” After living for years at sea, salmon travel a long-distance home to return to the river in which they were born in order to spawn. After spawning, all Pacific salmon, and about half of the other species, die within a few weeks. The salmon that do not die can spawn two or three more times.

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How Bison Has Become a Big Catering Trend

Last updated on July 3rd, 2018

Impress Your Guests: Serve Bison

Catered Events Benefit from Bison

Keeping up with food trends is crucial to offering customers the right menu. These days, “right” means being the healthiest and most environmentally friendly, as well as the most adventurous and interesting. Bison fulfills all the criteria of the trend-savvy consumer, and its place atop catering lists of “hot” items seems to be growing steadily.

History of Bison

Not everyone knows the difference between buffalo and bison; they’re not the same thing and the animals are not interchangeable. The American Bison is native to North and South America and Europe, while most buffalo species reside in Africa and Asia. They’re related, but not identical; in fact, North American bison have a beard, while their Asian relatives don’t. According to the National Park Service, when early explorers came to North America, they thought the animals resembled old world buffalo, and so they called them that, contributing to the general confusion.

During the 20th century, bison came very close to extinction. When the aforementioned early explorers arrived in North America in the late 1500s, there may have been as many as 60 million bison on the continent. In the 1880s, there were approximately 40 million in North America; but by the 1900s, hunting had reduced the population to a mere 1,000. The bison that exist today were bred from just a few individual bison, and they are thriving due to smart breeding efforts and restoration of their native grazing land. The animals now number roughly 400,000 and the bison business is booming.

Bison: a healthier meat

Bison: The Healthier Meat

The American Heart Association includes bison as a lean meat option in their Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations. The greatest difference between beef and bison is their respective health benefits; they’re both delicious, but bison meat has the edge when it comes to health and nutrients. Like beef, bison is an excellent source of iron, zinc and certain B vitamins, including vitamin B12 and niacin. However, bison is lower in calories. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) a 3-ounce burger of ground grass-fed bison contains 152 calories and 7 grams of fat, versus a patty that contains even the leanest beef, which has 184 calories and 10 grams of fat. Grass-fed bison contain less saturated fat than beef and is lower in cholesterol.

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Offer Your Customers Healthier Foods with an Air Fryer

Update Your Commercial Kitchen with an Air Fryer

Air Frying Transforms the Commercial Kitchen

Just about everyone loves fried food and, as a caterer, one of your goals is to give people what they love. However, most people don’t love the calories and the dubious health benefits of fried foods, such as onion rings, French fries, or even fish (which at least has the advantage of being a protein). So what’s a caterer to do? Enter the air fryer: the caterer’s road to making everyone happy.

What is an Air Fryer?

If orange is the new black, air may be the new oil. With an air fryer, you can cook food with the help of circulated heated air, producing tasty and healthier dishes with a lot less oil. We won’t pretend that air frying replicates exactly the heavenly crispy-crunchy texture of deep frying, but with just a tablespoon of oil, French fries, chicken, fish, and vegetables do achieve the yearned for goal: crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and a great taste.

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Surprise Your Clients with Veggie-Carb Substitutes

Use Vegetables Instead of Carbs for Healthier Menu Options

Vegetable Carbohydrate Substitutes

The body’s relationship with carbohydrates is complex – the ultimate love/hate relationship. There’s no question that carbs are important: they give us energy and they contribute to normal brain function. However, not all carbs are good for us, especially not when eaten in large quantities. Many carbs are basic comfort foods – pasta, rice, bread, etc.—and it’s easy to overdo the pleasure of that particular comfort. While some people are ok with cutting out carbs altogether, a better idea may be to eat less of them. Replacing the simple carbs mentioned above with vegetable-based substitutes could be just the solution for adapting a healthier diet.

Why Eat Carbs?

Carbs seem to be everywhere; they’re found in fruits, vegetables, breads, pasta, and dairy products, and they’re an important source of energy. The body uses carbs to make glucose, which is a type of sugar that can be used immediately for energy or stored for later use. “Carbohydrates provide the body with the energy it needs and are a good source of many vitamins and minerals. However, not all carbohydrates are created equal,” says Donna Logan, a registered dietitian at the University of Texas Medical School in Houston.

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