2010 is here and there are some great new trends emerging in the catering world. Some are new and some are just re-invented with a twist.

What’s Hot!

*Small Bites- sweet & savory

*Regional ethnic menus

*Dessert Only Parties

*Interactive Stations with guests assembling thier own masterpiece

*FRESH! FRESH! FRESH!- Local products & in season

*Upscale Comfort Foods

Some other new items that are trendsetting and great conversation pieces are Bourbon tastings, Old school cocktails, Family style service, Late night snacks, and personalized everything.

People are more into menus that create an atmosphere of mingling rather than having to set in your seat all evening and be presented with a plate. Guests love variety so lots of small bites and interactive food stations are a great way to get people moving. Instead of having a served sit down dinner consider having courses served family style or displayed at interactive stations around the room. A great example is the salad station, this gives your guests an opportunity to have a customized salad course  if you are having a full dinner.

A lot of brides are opting for a smaller wedding cake and also offering a decadent table full of mini sweets & desserts. Items such as shots of mousse, mini cupcakes, smaller versions of favorites, and sinful confections. These tables of sweets can also opt as the favor with the addition of cute boxes, bags, and take out containers. Last summer we had a couple offer guests a gourmet popcorn bar with Mint Oreo, Salted Caramel, Dark Chocolate, & Raspberry flavors with coordinating bags. Very cute and the guests loved it!

The emergence of regional ethnic flavors offers a wide variety of choices and dishes not typically found at most parties. Some clients want to offer a taste of thier heritage or incorporate favorite restaurant dishes such as Polish peirogis, Spanish empanandas, Chinese take out, Korean kim bap, or a favorite Curry. Couples with a large group of out of town guests always love to show off our great southern dishes such as buttermilk fried chicken, old fashioned mixed greens, corn cakes, biscuits, corn pudding, or praline sweet potato casserole.

Traditional comfort foods are taking on new flavors and one of the cutest menu items I have seen is the mini TV dinner! It included a mini version of meatloaf, mashed potatoes, corn, & a roll. It was even served in a foil mini plate- how cute! Things like mac and cheese are really becoming popular with additions such as lobster, import cheeses, caramelized onions, and a variety of pastas. The once humble pot pie has became bite size and spaghetti with meatballs are being offered in mini plates complete with the fork to match. The reinvention of the burger as haute reception food is also being followed by bistro fries and even tomato soup shots with a mini grilled cheese on the side.

One of my favorite new trends is the tasting menu. It offers guests up to 20 choices in very small bites so that they can indulge on an array of tidbits. We created a tasting menu that started with a demi tasse cup of roasted red pepper soup along with a small chef salad served on a fork. We then presented each guest with a trio of entrees including a very petite filet topped with seared spinach, small petite lobster tail, and a medallion of pork loin with peach chutney. Five small cups of side items offered 2 or 3 bites of rum candied sweet potatoes, safforn rice, mini red potatoes stuffed with brie, endive filled with grilled vegetables, and petite fresh peas with caramelized pearl onions. we prepared all of the breads in small loaves alongside coordinating butters, jams, and honeys. To end the meal, each guest was presented with small 2 tier cake, trio of ice creams, truffles, and a shot of espresso.

Mini Pot Pies from couturecuisine.com

Tomato Soup Shots with mini grilled cheese & bite size saltines

Mini Dessert Trio: Chocolate Covered Strawberry Sundaes, Lemon Meringue, & Spumoni Mousse

Mini Brandied Peach Cobblers

Bite Size BLT

Tasting Menu Desserts

Corn Cakes with country ham, local berry jam, & goat cheese