Summer Party Planning Tips from Wolfgang Puck Catering

When creating seasonal menus, the team at Wolfgang Puck Catering (WPC) never disappoints. From locally sourced ingredients to innovative flavor pairings, this veteran catering company, celebrating its 20th year in 2018, continues to keep things fresh.

The 2018 summer menu recently released by the catering team was inspired by flavors of the tropics and the vibrant design palates currently on trend in both fashion and home decor. The menu launched in style at a kick-off event titled "To Summer with Love," held at the AT&T Performing Arts Center in Dallas.

Guests were treated to tray-passed hors d’oeuvres such as crispy pork belly and lobster with pickled mango on a plantain chip; small plates of Hamachi crudo with blackened citrus and puffed sushi rice; along with grilled watermelon and asparagus salad with white balsamic dressing and basil caviar. Desserts included mini rum pineapple upside down cake, peach melba panna cotta parfait, sour cherry mousse cake, and mango kulfi.

Looking for inspiration for planning your own seasonal event? Here are WPC’s top tips for how to plan and execute the perfect summertime party:

Don’t weigh yourself down with a heavy menu. For a warm-weather event where guests will want to mix and mingle outdoors, opt for tray-passed bites and small plates instead of a formal seated dinner with full courses. Keep the mood feeling loose!

Ditch the dish. Incorporate the summer-y theme into your servingware. Think outside of the plate and serve small bites in creative ways, like inside of coconuts or on vibrant banana leaves. Unexpected presentations are often the most memorable.

Incorporate flavors of the season. As our event pulled inspiration from the tropics, our culinary team developed a menu with flavors such as coconut, pineapple and guava. Get creative with your offerings!

Craft a drink for everyone. A full bar is great, but be sure to offer non-alcoholic options as well. For a summer event, focus on light, refreshing flavors, and play around with juices and syrups to create drinks with colorful appeal.

Add pops of color. Decor-wise, set the mood by keeping a neutral palate and interspersing colorful elements throughout, such as in the tablecloths, pillows, along the bar station, and more.

Put on a show. We utilized our chefs as part of the evening’s entertainment, by setting up live-action stations for guests to enjoy foods such as huli huli chicken and lemongrass steak skewers cooked right in front of them.

Don’t forget the music. Keep the party going with curated entertainment that brings out the best summer vibes, whether it’s a warm-weather playlist, live music or more.

Want to see more? Get a taste of the event with this video produced by the Wolfgang Puck Catering team.

Tips and tricks provided from the pros at Wolfgang Puck Catering to the National Association for Catering and Events. Photos courtesy of the caterer.

Now in its 60th year, National Association for Catering and Events (NACE), www.nace.net is the oldest and largest professional association dedicated to all aspects of the catering and events industry. Committed to building a vibrant community and proving essential resources for its members.

Want more tips to last the year round? Head to Catersource 2019 in New Orleans, for inspiring ideas. Click here for the latest information!

National Association for Catering and Events

The National Association for Catering and Events (NACE) is the first non-profit national organization for caterers, event planners and event professionals that provides education, certification and a network of resources for members in all segments of the hospitality industry.