Catering Tips from Michael Stuart NY Part II
Here comes part II of our special focus on wedding catering from Michael Stuart NY! Michael tells us what the current trends in the food world are, and imparts some wisdom on the new popularity of specialty drinks…
We keep finding over and over again that young people want casual and fun; traditional seated dinners are just generally not what couples want these days. We do far more proposals for family style dinners than any other format, and for us it fits our style, philosophy and aesthetic to a T. Family style dinners are so casual yet intimate; it just seems like a perfect fit for the visions of the couples that seem drawn to us. We have been playing around with some new ideas for stations during cocktail hour and dessert recently, but trying to come up with new and interesting ways to provide more food without having to increase staffing is always a challenge. A couple of our favorite new stations are the olive oil tasting bar and the “toast bar.” For the olive oil tasting we provide a variety of regional and unique olive oils, artisanal bread, and other accroutrements that make great flavor combinations without overpowering the olive oils. The toast bar is our version of a tapas bar; with fresh bread and flavorful toppings such as chickpeas & spinach with saffron & smoked paprika, chilled shrimp with serrano ham & pomegranate, & organic English peas with romesco & mint.
We love to take our favorite comfort foods and spin them into unique hors d’oeuvres. Some of our favorites are the truffled steak & eggs, mini baked potato, shrimp & grits, & falaffel burgers. Our philosophy behind our food is to keep it creative yet accessible. By not trying to reinvent the wheel and using what is fresh and seasonal, we can come up with new combinations of simple, delicious food without scaring people off with obscure ingredients. Generally, with passed hors d’oeuvres we follow a rule of ten per person per hour. This ensures that we provide enough for everybody to taste each item and have extra in case a cocktail gets extended. For variety, we recommend six to ten options in order to keep it interesting and give guests a chance to sample a variety of flavors without getting bored.
Specialty drinks have become a very popular way for couples to impart particular tastes and styles to their wedding. We recently had a couple do a bourbon cocktail with blood orange, bitters and sugarcane. They named it love potion 309 (their building address). With the resurgence of bourbon as a drink of choice, we have been putting together an all bourbon specialty cocktail list for the spring and summer. Some of our clients’ other favorites are homemade ginger ale, spiked sweet tea and a spiced pear cooler with fresh ginger, lemon zest, pear vodka, pear nectar, lemongrass, & a cinnamon stick.
photo credits: top image, Apryl Ann; last, Aregrayline