FRESH, FANCIFUL FLAIR
Catering tips and trends for the blushing bride and groom.
WRITTEN BY NATASHA BOURLIN
PHOTOS BY GAGEWOOD PHOTOGRAPHY
Couples who own catering companies may have a (lamb/chicken/duck) leg up on what couples getting hitched may want on their Big Day. We spoke to three husband-and-wife teams who own catering companies in the Reno-Sparks area — Blend Catering Co., Butter + Salt, and Roundabout Catering and Party Rentals — to gain some insights into this season’s wedding trends.
In an increasingly global society, it should be no surprise that caterers are seeing an increase in culturally influenced wedding menus. No longer is continuity in cuisine a concern on a couple’s Big Day. Chef-owner of Roundabout Catering and Party Rentals Colin Smith and his wife and business partner, MaryBeth, frequently have been placing Moroccan dishes next to Italian pastas, for instance.
The Smiths also have received many requests for healthier items that adhere to dietary guidelines, such as gluten-free and grain-based dishes.
Roundabout Catering produces anywhere from 60 to 80 weddings a year, mostly between June and late September. Smith suggests booking outside of that timeframe to save money on venues that often charge premiums during high season. It also ensures you and your betrothed won’t be stuck with the B-team on your Big Day.
Caterers often must spread their core team of professionals among multiple venues during their busiest season. For support, they pull in temporary help, who may be well vetted but perhaps are not as experienced.
Approaches to service
A rising movement seen by both the Smiths at Roundabout Catering and the owners of Butter + Salt is that of themed culinary stations and build-your-own bars. For example, Smith has created both mushroom and macaroni-and-cheese bars, to guests’ rave reviews. Butter + Salt has prepared a build-your-own-taco bar with fresh salsas and filling options, as well as a chicken-and-waffle station complete with hot sauce, maple syrup, and many other beloved Southern fixin’s for the staple dish.
Aubrey O’Laskey, chef-owner of Butter + Salt with her husband, Tyler, whom she met while attending the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, says that recently they’ve been hired for entire wedding weekends. In these cases, on top of catering the wedding, they also prepare brunches and the rehearsal dinner.
“[Couples] are caring about their wedding menus and food more than ever before,” O’Laskey says.
She’s also noted a rise in family-style dining, with large platters of food at each table, providing a more casual and communal feel. Serving wedding meals this way also enables couples to save money on décor, as they’re relying on the beauty of the dishes rather than elaborate centerpieces.
Josh and Whitney Deri of Blend Catering Co. lately have received many requests to prepare traditional family recipes at weddings. Couples bring in recipes passed down for generations and ask Blend’s chefs to recreate or provide their own interpretations of them.
“Couples are going back into history instead of doing something more modern,” says Josh. “Real family recipes … you can’t just find that at any other wedding.”
All these catering experts agree, finding what distinguishes your wedding from anyone else’s is always on trend.
“My job is to stay in front of trends,” Smith says. “Always trying to do something unique keeps cooking fun.”