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Mini, Green & Clean

Predicting catering trends is an essential part of the food industry. How do catering companies stay ahead of the game, and what trends are bright and twinkling this holiday season? Like many industries, trends are set by social psychology, and the state of mind can influence food choices. During the last couple of years, people feel they have been exposed to the darker side of politics, no longer trusting what they hear on the news and media. These mindsets have trickled over to how people choose food, demanding transparency and authenticity in their catering choices.

Clean eating with pure ingredients is still on the rise, whether it be locally grown, in-season vegetables, organic grass-fed meat, or international food to challenge taste buds. The theme this holiday season is unpolluted, fresh and bite sized, with a fact-driven, body-conscious and cerebral dining experience. Meat-eaters and vegetarians will both enjoy these simple mouthwatering uncorrupted delights, the result of forward-thinking professionals in the catering business.

The catering + events show of the year is back! James Beard Award winners, TED style keynotes, influencers galore, and food for days. See all that’s in store here!

Veggie buffet appetizer

The following recipe was provided by Ellen Harte, director of business development at ‘Tasty Catering’ based in Chicago, IL. Her business averages over 15,000 meals every week, preceding the holiday. The clients often request a buffet, rather than a plated sit-down meal. This recipe is taken from one such buffet, appealing to both vegetarians and meat-eaters.

Balsamic Tomato Jam Crostini

This appetizer should be served at room temperature, suiting both a tray service and a buffet.

Yield: 12 guests


12 pieces each long thin French baguette cut in ¼” slices
12 oz. Black Pepper Mousse (see sub-recipe)
6 oz. Honey Balsamic Tomato Jam (see sub-recipe)
½ oz. fried crispy onions for garnish
½ teaspoon green onion bias slice thin


1.     Toast the sliced baguettes in the oven until they have a slight crunch
2.     Transfer the Black Pepper Mousse to a pastry bag, with a plain tip
3.     Pipe 1 ounce of the Mousse onto each baguette evenly
4.     Spread ½ ounce of jam onto each crostini
5.     Garnish with crispy onions and bias-cut green onions

Sub Recipe: Black Pepper Mousse


12 oz. cream cheese
12 oz. goat’s cheese
1 T black pepper
Kosher salt to taste


Mix all ingredients together in a stand mixer, until smooth

Sub Recipe: Jam – Honey Balsamic Tomato


1.5 pounds ripe Roma tomato, finely diced
½ cup granulated sugar
2 T fresh lemon juice
3 tsp balsamic vinegar reduction
1 tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher Salt to taste


1.     Combine all ingredients into a medium saucepan
2.     Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often
3.     Reduce heat and simmer until mixture reaches the consistency of jam, about 45–60 minutes
4.     Let cool, mix in the food processor until smooth and well combined

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National Association for Catering and Events

The National Association for Catering and Events (NACE) is the premier destination for catering and event professionals of all backgrounds, specialties, and experience levels. Our members are a passionate and vibrant community of innovators, organizers, and creators who look to us for resources and networks that help them thrive. We provide education, certification and a network of resources for members in all segments of the catering and events industry.