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Fall Menu Planning for Your Business

Variety is the key

When queried, “Which season is your favorite?” more Americans responded with “fall” than any of the other seasons. Parents are happy that kids are returning to school, many enjoy college and NFL football, others love the changing of the foliage from a lush green to rustic tones, and of course, fall brings in Halloween, Thanksgiving, and ultimately the holiday season.

For Southern caterers like myself, fall heralds the beginning of busy season, after struggling through summer’s slump in sales. It’s time for a new beginning. Menus begin to show more heartiness, as the cooler months bring larger appetites. A quick Google search for “fall menu ideas” brings thousands of recipes for us to choose from.

Heartier cuisine is a staple for the fall season and into the colder winter months.


One of my favorites for many years is West Indian Pumpkin Soup with Spice Scented Whipped Cream. You can find the recipe at We have served this soup for years since it’s easy to produce, has a very low food cost, and can be served in a variety of vessels from hollowed out pumpkins to mini tureens. For serving this soup from a practical standpoint, it’s best to carry the whole pot of soup to a space close to the dining area, but out of view from your guests. From here you can dish up into warmed vessels, allowing the wait staff a shorter walk while carrying the soup—which as you all know can result in spills, splashes, and those sloppy and messy soup movement marks.


Health conscious clients

Fall also means tailgates, and while many think of chicken, ribs, wings, dogs, and burgers with plenty of brewskis to wash them down, there is an ever-growing group of health conscious fans that would prefer lighter fare. Two thousand-plus calories of food that contain only the two basic food groups (grease and fat) is not what they want before being herded into a stadium full of football fanatics.

Just yesterday, my Spanish teacher (yes, I’m finally trying to learn Spanish at 70 years young) left me with two copies of a magazine called Naked Food and it’s not what you think. Most of us have worked with live, nearly-naked food models prone on a buffet table and covered with food from which to nosh, bite-by-bite until there’s nothing left but the model and whatever is left uncovered. This magazine has nothing to do with nudity, but I suspect if you follow their diet regimens you might look better nude than you used to.

So here’s the deal. We should be offering options that are sustainable, chemical-free, GMO free, organic, and plant based. One option is pizza crust made from organic cauliflower, chia seeds, almond meal, and non-GMO miso paste and then topped with marinara sauce, pesto, zucchini slices, and asparagus along with fresh organic basil, sunflower sprouts, and nutritional yeast. Another great, tasty and healthful tailgate snack is organic carrots filled with hummus. Or how about Kale and Bulgur Croquettes or Eggplant and Lentil Lasagna? All of these recipes and more can be found at

Prosciutto-wrapped roasted bosc pear with gorgonzola and balsamic glaze.

Tender baby arugula with balsamic marinated artichokes, homestead heirloom tomatoes and balsamic vinaigrette.

Variety is the key in fall menus. “Artery clogging” foods are still in demand, but perhaps not as much as they were decades ago, and for sure, there is a growing number of clients who want healthier options.

From South Florida to Everyone around the world who reads this: here’s to a great fall season with many blessings.


Get Fresh September 2015

Bill Hansen

Bill Hansen

CEO, Bill Hansen Catering and Event Production, Miami, FL

From catering for four U.S. Presidents, to Pope John Paul II, to champion Super Bowl teams, Bill Hansen brings over 50 years of catering, entrepreneurial and food service management experience to his consulting practice. A published author, Bill’s extensive expertise has made him one of the country’s leading food experts and Founder and CEO of one of South Florida’s top catering firms.

Bill’s areas of expertise are in leadership, and management. In 1980, he founded Bills’ Catering with his best friend Bill Hendrich. In 1990, Bill began teaching Catering Management at Florida International University. After 403 years, Bill’s firm continues to prosper, while spawning scores of South Florida caterers...