The catering field is a unique segment of the wedding industry in that it’s not just influenced by engaged couples, but by overall food trends and preferences of the greater population. We’ve seen the likes of miniature everything, pumpkin spice, cupcake towers, and more — all shaped by culinary demands outside of the wedding and events industry.
With that said, these trends may come as no surprise; they align with the culinary trends we’re seeing in restaurants and bars, as well as those splashed across magazines and TV channels. The challenge comes in translating these trends into wedding-friendly menus that will satisfy a couple and their guests, both in flavor and experience.
It’s been a few years that we’ve seen meat alternatives shine rise in popularity, but this trend is only going to skyrocket in 2020 as people recognize the impact of animal products on health and the environment. This year, we’re going beyond vegetarian staples, like tofu and lentils; instead, getting creative with ingredients and flavors is the top culinary challenge in the plant-based realm.
Margot Jones, owner of Purple Onion Catering, elaborates: “We’re seeing things like nutritional yeast being used in place of traditional cheese to add depth and texture to sauces, salads, and more. Oat milk and other dairy substitutes will be used. In pastry, chefs are likely to be experimenting with aquafaba and utilizing that ingredient in lieu of eggs. Our personal favorite addition is a plant-based carving station. Instead of meats, guests will enjoy whole roasted cauliflower with garam masala, cumin-roasted acorn squash, roasted whole fennel with garlic olive oil, whole grilled eggplant medallions, and more with a variety of plant-based dips and spreads.”
Photo courtesy Ellwed and the photographer, Lefteris Kalampokas
The wedding industry has seen the rise of handcrafted cocktails in recent years, with bartenders curating ingredients from all around the world — from a sprinkle of freshly ground turmeric root to spirits infused with whole cardamom pods. In 2020, however, bartenders are reeling in their recipes to incorporate fresh, local flavors that taste just like home.
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“Handcrafted beverages will still be royalty in the coming year, but with more a backyard, localized feel,” shares Trip Wheeler of SB Value. “Garnishes especially will rise in popularity, such as handpicked herbs and fruits from the wedding or event locale. Couples and guests alike will love nothing more than enjoying an Old Fashioned with orange or lemon zest plucked straight from the outdoor reception space!”
Photo courtesy Hatnem Wedding Planner and the photographer, ThaiPham Photography
Primed for presentation
In 2020, food isn’t just for consuming — it’s for décor purposes, as well. Couples are on the hunt for caterers who aren’t just innovative with flavors, but with preparation and display as well. With that said, your dishes should be as beautiful as they are delicious. Think delicate tapas plates, grazing tables, and dynamic food installations.
Photo courtesy Bohemia Events and the photographer Inta Photography
“Presentation has really taken center stage for catering,” confirms Jeremy Bronson, president and owner of Occasions Catering. “Top caterers are buying or making creative furniture and display equipment to delight guests, and often the food is wheeled around, suspended, or in motion on a track. Food is part of the entertainment, so chef action and guest customization options continue to grow in popularity.”
These are just a peek at catering trends in 2020; the full International Wedding Trend Report reveals many more, as well as what to keep an eye out for in the way of design, décor, entertainment, technology, and more.