Though caterers are multi-talented, mind-reading falls firmly into the category of smoke-and-mirrors. Try as we might, it's impossible to read a client’s mind, especially when it involves cuisine. To help you out, we asked ICA members in our annual survey about their most requested cuisine. The results gave an exclusive peek into the motivations and preferences of clients across the US. Here’s a look:
Most popular: American (39%)
Nearly 40% of ICA members surveyed reported that the most requested cuisine is American cooking. Whether this means hot dogs and apple pie or shrimp and grits is up to interpretation—but in the spirit of this vast and unique country, why can't it mean both?
These peach chicken & waffles from Blue Ridge Catering are a hit with their Southern clientele. Photo courtesy Blue Ridge Catering
Mark Baldwin, chef and owner of Blue Ridge Catering in Roanoke, Virginia, shared that his most popular cuisine was Southern food—which is easy to understand. Their menu is full of flavorful takes on classics, including "fried green tomato canapes with barbecue shrimp, chicken & waffle cones...biscuits made of sweet potato with country ham & apple butter...[and] bacon jam and chicken with spicy VA honey & bourbon smoked sea salt." What's not to love?
Staying power: Farm-to-Table (18%)
Though it seems like not too long ago, farm-to-table catering became incredibly popular several years ago and continues to be a leading trend to this day. Providing an event with fresh, carefully crafted meals using local produce makes the whole dinner and the evening.
Not many caterers have access to fresh prickly pear, but Creative Hands Cuisine utilizes the local ingredient in these appetizers. Photo Harley Bonham
Creative Hands Cuisine is incorporating their gorgeous Mesa, Arizona surroundings into their menu. Sarah Nett, their operations manager, gave us a sneak peek of the menu: "Prickly pear flautas, smoked free-range chicken, Tillamook cheddar cheese, and prickly pear sauce reduction rolled in a flour tortilla and finished with a raspberry chipotle glaze." We hope this trend lasts forever.
The up-and-comer: Spanish/Mediterranean (6%)
While Mediterranean food is no stranger to your classic wedding buffet—from Italian lasagne to Greek spanakopita—there is a new region that is increasing in popularity. Rather than select the more traditional Italian, French, even Greek dishes, many engaged couples and special event planners are choosing Spanish food.
Executive Chef Jimmy Olang of 24 Carrots Catering & Events in Orange County incorporates the Spanish trend into his menu with street tacos. Another innovative idea? Olang believes that with the increased globalization in the United States, there will soon be a craving for Filipino American cuisine. We look forward to it!
This variety of Mediterranean inspired bites from 24 Carrots Catering is a perfect (and tasty!) reflection of current trends. Photo courtesy 24 Carrots
Blue Ridge Catering, Creative Hands Cuisine and 24 Carrots Catering & Events are proud members of the ICA. To learn more about the ICA, visit http://internationalcaterers.org/.