Food takes center stage at any event due to the fact that is entices all the senses and is the most engaging aspect of most major events. You can’t help but notice the small details and quirks that go into hospitality, the placement of a fork, the way a napkin bends or tucks. Small details that when correct go unnoticed by guests but would be the center of attention if incorrect. The same attention to detail is seen in the eyes of professional chefs who make the food for the many events you will help create over your career.
While food can vary wildly depending on the event, the people you are catering to and the style of your own business there are four factors that play an integral role in food decision and should be taken into consideration with every food decision made for a major event.
Type of event
The number one decision that goes into food decision making is the type of event you’re having. Is your event a small meeting where some bottled water and small snacks would fit best or is this a formal dinner where a four course meal is the main focus of the event. Determining the type of event you’re providing food for is quite easy by defining the goal of the event. The goal will determine what is most important and what role food plays into the event. Is it part of the entertainment or is it the main focus. In most cases the client you’re speaking with will have some idea of the food they want at their event but if they don’t make sure good communication is used in defining the goal of the event and the needs so you can figure as a professional can determine the event’s food needs.
Restrictions in the diet of guests can be hard to manage but call for simple shifts in types of food what isn’t so easy to manage is venue food restrictions. Many venues may have a list of local caterers that prefer you choose from or have onsite catering. This may not be a problem for some guests while others may find it a bit more of a struggle if they have their hearts set on another catering team. The easiest solution is to switch venues but if that is not an option sometimes as an event planner speaking on behave of a client you may be provided some wiggle room with whom provides the food. If that’s not the case explaining to your client or boss the limitations this venue brings is crucial, if they are still on board with the venues working as a team with your client and the venues caterer list or onsite catering will become the main focus of your job. This provides its own set of challenges that can be easily be overcome with honesty and communication between all parties involved.
Theme of your event
Events are like theatre. There are no second chances, you have to get it right the first time and you have to set a stage. Décor, setting, props, and lighting is key in both situations, and food can pull to another place and time instantly. Food isn’t just a show for the senses as any good chef or event planner knows. Food can sometimes act as a passage or transportation taking a guest from modern America to another place they’ve never been. Sometimes this trip can be through time. With décor, ambiance and useful imagery a guest can be whisked away to an old school sock hop, a Greek style party or the overabundant 20’s. Combining the theme of your event with the type of event you are providing food for is key to providing show stopping expectations.
Create a wow factor
One of the most overlooked factors in food is one we see every day in media, providing the wow factor. There is a reason why brides are willing to spend hundreds sometimes thousands on an amazing wedding cake, it is the wow factor. Like we said, food helps set a mood, it’s part of the show so why shouldn’t it be a part of the same wow factor the décor, music and lighting provide. The wow factor can be created with stunning artesian designs, overabundance, the way the food is delivered, a surprising menu from a restraint you may not have expected. Remember creating the wow factor with food isn’t just the taste but is a feast for the eyes as well.
No matter the formality or type of function food is always the center fold of an event just as important as having enough tables and chairs to making sure a key note speaker arrives on time. Good food that takes center stage indulges each of the senses, sight, smell, taste and even touch and sound in some cases. Taste is one of those senses often overlooked since the average person doesn’t go around tasting everything they pass. While everyday things at events like music and décor engage four of the five sense it is food that provides that final sense changing an event from good to remarkable. Using food to fill that final sense and to set a stage for all other activities is key to making an everyday party to the next level by keeping guests talking.
Event coordinator with specialized research and education in fashion event management and editorial styling. Novotny is a cosmetologist since 2011 and event professional for four years. Graduating from Sinclair College in 2016, Novotny has worked alongside art museums and nonprofits including poverty awareness and education. In 2016 while finishing his degree Novotny also studied fashion design and merchandising at Marist College. http://jamesnovotny45.wix.com/jamesnovotny