A Viennese Table Will Satisfy Every Sweet Tooth at the Party – with Style and Flavors!


The image of a lavishly decorated, multi-tiered wedding cake is synonymous with the after-party that commemorates marriage. The cake is surrounded by tradition. Generations of couples have frozen their cake’s top tier for enjoyment (or not!) on their first anniversary. The cake’s décor has changed with the times and reflects each couple’s generation – even cake toppers have evolved from a simple bride and groom to depictions of blended families, couples with pets, and same-sex couples.


More and more couples are foregoing the classic wedding cake and opting for sweet treats that will please the variety of guests in attendance. Novelty cakes – like Krispy Kreme doughnut cakes – have caught the attention of some couples – while others opt for more chilly desserts and offer guests elaborate ice cream sundae bars. Cupcakes have been trendy, but now seem to be falling to the wayside.

I am recommending to couples that we reach further back into tradition and bring forward the Viennese Table – a collection of various candies, pastries, cookies and parfaits – that offer guests more choices and the opportunity to create an eye-popping display.

The Viennese are known for their spectacular sweets. While the presentation gets its name from the country’s dessert cuisine, there’s no guidebook for choosing what will be featured on your Viennese Table.

Ideas abound -- there are Pinterest pages devoted to table design and dessert ideas for the Viennese table.
  Choosing a Viennese Table plan does not mean you must toss aside the venerable wedding cake – but now the cake does not have to be as decadent or as eye-catching – the cake is now part of an ensemble cast of desserts.


My recent Viennese tables have been as diverse in content as the couples who inspired the choices. Single bite desserts have been classic from macaroons to pecan tassies and Key Lime tartlets to chocolate brownies.


Want to ramp up flavors? Let’s add “special ingredients,” to make those Chocolate Brownies a Drunken version. Downsize portions of Lowcountry trifle into trifle shots, or treat guests to a childhood memory with a DIY S’mores station.
  The unbeatable pairing of cake and ice cream doesn’t have to be so fussy. Fold wedding cake into your favorite ice cream and serve in a waffle cone from a roving ice cream wedding cake cart.
  Take a tip from the Viennese and give guests plenty of options and a variety of sweetness when planning your reception!

Embrace ‘Savannah Style’ to bring variety, easy-going mood to your special event

In the Lowcountry of Georgia and South Carolina, we love our relaxed lifestyle. Why not carry that sense of comfort and easy living over to your catered event?

  The set-up is something I call “Savannah Style.” For events of this nature, only 60-70 percent of your guests are seated, and a variety of food stations combine to create a fun evening of food and drink. I enjoy this type of service because it allows your more adventurous guests to try unusual dishes -- while also offering easily recognizable favorites for others. There’s a little something for everyone!


The stations can take several forms – or introduce a variety of service styles: Butler-passed hors d’oeurves, self-service stations and manned stations.


A popular self-serve station is like this bruschetta bar. Here, a variety of breads and crackers are served with many different toppings. Guests choose what they want.

Pulled pork is a staple of Southern cooking, and, as seen in this photo, we have staffed a pulled pork station with two types of pork, sauces and crispy hush puppies.



shrimpgrits And, speaking of Southern fare, no Lowcountry feast would be complete without Shrimp and Grits. 

Shown here, guests can self serve shrimp and grits into containers that make socializing and enjoying the food a simultaneous treat. With this self-serve option, guests with shellfish allergies can have another topping from which to choose -- while keeping cheesy, creamy grits on the menu.


 The flexibility of multiple “Savannah Style” stations enables you to design a menu that accommodates special dietary needs – or to incorporate ethnic selections like this chicken stir fry and fried rice – with other styles of cuisines. It’s the perfect solution for a wedding couple with different food traditions as part of their family culture.

Your special event is all about having fun. We think creating a menu based upon "Savannah Style" is a perfect way to entertain guests, have fun with your menu, and explore a variety of different cuisines.

Vegan Recipes Find a Home at Today’s Events

Vegans rejoice!

With more and more people following vegan diets it has sent chefs scurrying back into cookbooks to create flavorful and nutritionally balanced dishes that meet your dietary requirements.

If you are a vegan, I’m sure you have attended events where your plate consisted of the same vegetables being served to other guests – just minus the meat. Or worse yet, you “meal” was a plate of plain pasta tossed with olive oil and herbs.

One of my recent catering jobs was for a mostly vegan audience and I came up with these dishes:

Butler-passed hors d’oeurves
Beet pesto with pita chips
Crabby cakes (vegan cake with remoulade sauce)crabbycakes

Chilled English Pea Soup 

Entrée course of Moroccan Vegetable Tagine

Coca-Cola Cake

Each course was rich with flavor and texture – and are easy enough to prepare yourself. To get the most from each recipe:


  • Use fresh, organic vegetables
  • Fresh herbs are best, but if dried herbs are used, make sure they are fresh and aromatic
  • Seeds, like cumin or coriander, develop the best flavors when lightly toasted over medium heat in a pan

Beet Pesto with Pita Chips


(Adapted from thebloomingplatter.com)
Four 2 to 3 ounce fresh beets (trimmed weight), peeled and quartered
1 cup, firmly packed, fresh cilantro (leaves and stems)
1/3 cup smoked almonds
2 large garlic cloves, halved
1 tablespoon coriander seeds (whole)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds (whole)
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (ground)
1/3 cup olive oil
Juice of 1 large lemon
Juice of 1 medium-large lime
1 tablespoon maple syrup
Sea salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Optional: 1/4 teaspoon chili flakes or to taste

Place all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and process until almost smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary.
And, on a hot summer day, there is nothing more refreshing than chilled pea soup. This may be served in bowls – or in small glasses (shooters) – for more casual service.

Chilled Spring Pea Soup


1 Tbs. olive oil
¼ cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced small shallot, chopped (2 Tbs.)
1 lb. frozen peas, thawed
32 oz. vegetable stock
⅛ tsp. white pepper
¼ cup large fresh mint leaves, plus more for garnish
1 ½ tsp. lemon zestMethod
Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, and cook 2-3 minutes, or until soft and translucent. Add peas to pan, just cover with vegetable stock, and bring to a boil. Simmer until peas are tender. Add salt and pepper. Cool slightly.
Blend with immersion blender, or in stand blender or food processor until smooth. Add mint leaves and lemon zest, and blend 30 seconds, or until very smooth.

There is no need to for vegans to miss out on dessert! This recipe, another adaptation from thebloomingplatter.com, is a hit with everyone!

Coca-Cola Cake

For the Cake:

1 cup natural sugar
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (I like white whole wheat)
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup dairy-free margarine (such as Earth Balance)
1/4 cup vegetable oil or grape-seed oil
1/2 cup Coca-Cola, root beer (not diet) or a natural cola/root beer brand
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons dairy-free buttermilk (5 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons non-dairy milk, e.g. So Delicious Dairy Free Original Coconut Milk Beverage + 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar whisked together to curdle)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Frosting:
2 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar (plus extra, if needed, to yield the consistency you desire, but more sugar makes it lighter in color and less fudgy)
1/4 cup dairy-free margarine
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
3 tablespoons Coca-Cola, root beer (not diet) or a natural cola/root beer brand
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans + more for garnish, optional (omit for nut-free)

For the Cake:

Preheat oven to 350ºF and grease, and lightly flour an 8 x 8-inch baking pan.
In a bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder.
In a 1-quart saucepan, combine the margarine and oil. Bring just to a boil and pour over dry ingredients.
Add the cola to the batter, and whisk well to combine.
Dissolve the baking soda in the vegan buttermilk and add it to the batter along with the vanilla extract. Whisk just until combined. The batter will seem a bit thin.
Pour the batter into your prepared ban and bake 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean; avoid over baking.
Remove from the oven to a wire rack and frost immediately.

For the Frosting:
While the cake bakes, place the confectioner’s sugar in a medium bowl.
In a 2-quart saucepan, combine the dairy-free margarine, cocoa powder and Coca-Cola; bring just to a boil.
Pour the liquid over the sugar, and whisk to combine until smooth. Whisk in more confectioner’s sugar if necessary.
Add the vanilla extract and pecans (if using), and stir to distribute.
Spread frosting over warm cake. Garnish with pecans if desired.  When cool, cut into squares and serve. Store, covered, in refrigerator.

12 Questions You Need to Answer for Your Caterer



Whether you are hiring a caterer for small birthday party or a corporate event with several hundred guests, there are 12 questions you need to answer before that first meeting.

Answering these questions helps your caterer prepare thorough event pricing – and can begin to help define types of food and service best suited for your event.

You should go into your first meeting with answers to the following questions:

  1. What is your planned budget for the event?

Be realistic. Clients often come to the table with the idea that for $7 a person everyone can be fed, served beverages, have appetizers passed and all the flatware and paper goods be provided. Professional caterers must also factor in labor costs, fuel and transportation charges, wear and tear on equipment – plus the physical needs of your event.

  1. Where will the event be held?

Your location or a third party venue? The event’s location helps determine what power, heating or cooling needs the caterer must have, plus if there will be a need for additional tables or tents for outdoor venues.

  1. What kind of event are you planning?

Needs for a garden wedding reception versus a reception held indoors are vastly different. A sales awards banquet is much more formal than a company picnic.

  1. What is the date of your event?

Having a date pinned down alleviates just being “penciled in” on the caterer’s calendar. Catering companies are busier at some times of the year than others – you may be competing for a date!

  1. How many people will be eating?

One way to control costs is to know EXACTLY how many people will be eating. Caterers typically add a small percentage of over production to accommodate last minute guests – but you want to avoid having high waste or, worse, running out of food!

  1. What time will your visitors be arriving?

This key fact helps the caterer hit the timetable so hungry guests aren’t languishing or spending too much time at your bar! Caterers take this time and work backwards to build their entire production schedule.

  1. When will the meal be served?

Again, this data helps plan better so hot food is hot, cold food is cold –and servers or food station staff are on their marks.

  1. How long do you have for your guests to eat?

Part of your catering expense is cost of labor – driven by time on site. Help reduce your costs by defining the dining time – instead of leaving food service open for the entire event.

  1. What type of meal are you planning?

Served, stations, buffet, box lunch – the type of meal you want determines types of foods that can be served, heating and cooling needs and labor and presentation costs.

  1. What dietary restrictions and food allergies do your guests have?

More and more guests are faced with a variety of food allergies or dietary restrictions. Learning this information when arriving on site leaves no options for the caterer – they bring everything with them. By providing this information in advance, your guests’ special needs can be taken into account and usually accommodated!

  1. What kind of drinks do you want?

Water, soda, juice, spirits, coffee, tea – This is another cost factor that can be determined at an initial meeting. Consider the variety of guests you will be serving and what their preferences may be for beverages. Bar service may require special permitting or use of a specialized bar caterer.

  1. Are you going to want rental china, glassware, silverware or paper and plastic?

Hard goods have a cost beyond the rental fee – it takes more labor to move, set and wash china and flatware. And, disposable goods may be less hassle – but may not fit your event. For environmentally conscious clients, we also offer a line of disposable, single use bio-degradable or single-use goods made from sustainable materials.

Score a Trifecta with an Authentic Derby Day Menu

The season for horse racing’s Triple Crown – Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, and the Belmont Stakes – is right around the corner. What better time to plan a themed party!

The scene around the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes is nothing to scoff at – but the pageantry, history and all-around good time of the Kentucky Derby is what makes Churchill Downs so very special on the first Saturday in May.



Burgoo and cornbread — authentic and delicious

Ladies in flowery dresses and oversized hats are showstoppers alone, but the culinary legacy of the Kentucky Derby deseres some credit for making this the most happening weekend of the year in Lousiville. From beaten biscuits with country ham to the simple and crowd-pleasing beer cheese to finger-lickin’ good fried chicken – a Derby party offers plenty of options and plenty of great food.

Top that off with the signature Derby beverage – the Mint Julep – and you’ll feel like you’ve picked a trifecta at the finish line.

hot-brownKentucky Derby party food can be simple an authentic – like burgoo and beer cheese – or simply elegant, like beaten biscuit with country ham or The Hot Brown.

A Kentucky Derby party catered by Cape Creations was a combination of casual foods and fancier dishes – including smoked salmon profiteroles.

We’re happy to help plan and prepare your party – we’ll be ready to serve before post time! However, if you want to have a DIY party, here are a couple of recipes to get you started:


The Hot Brown. (Photo and recipe
courtesy The Brown Hotel)

Kentucky Burgoo

Just like Brunswick stew? Hardly! Many regions of the US have their own versions of these marvelous and rich one-pot stews. Burgoo got its start from neighborhood “burgoos” where each family brought canned goods from their grdens and threw meat in the pot – from chickens to pork to wild game like rabbits, squirrel and venison. A long, slow cook is required!


1 four- to five-pound hen

6 onions, finely chopped

1 pound beef stew meat

2 green peppers, finely chopped

1 pound (of another meat — more beef, lamb, pork, chicken, game, etc.)

1 medium turnip, finely diced

4 quarts water

8 to 10 tomatoes, peeled and chopped (2 large cans)

2 cups shelled fresh butter beans (2 cans drained)

2 cups corn (2 cans drained)

One 10-ounce can tomato puree

2 cups thinly sliced celery

2 cups finely chopped cabbage

2 cups finely chopped carrots

1 red pepper pod

2 cups fresh okra, sliced

1/4 cup salt

1 Tablespoon each lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and sugar

1-1/2 teaspoons coarse black pepper

1/2 teaspoon cayenne


If you make this in 2 parts, on successive days, it is not such a chore.

  1. Put the meat, onions, peppers, turnips, water and tomatoes in a large pot; bring to a boil and simmer slowly, covered, for about 4 hours. Let cool and strain, setting aside meats.
  2. Cut chicken and meat finely, removing all skin, bone, and gristle. Kitchen scissors are good for this job. Return to stock and refrigerate.
  3. The following day, lift off half of the fat, add all the veggies. Cook another hour covered until until thick.
  4. Add the additional seasonings. If you finish the cooking in the oven, it will eliminate stirring and watching.
  5. Cook, uncovered, at 300 degrees for about 2 hours until the consistency of a thick stew. This will make a gallon. If made before hand, reheat in the oven to ensure against scorching.

The Hot Brown

In the 1920’s, Louisville, Ky’s., Brown Hotel drew more than 1,200 guests each evening for its dinner dance. In the wee hours of the morning, the guests would grow tired of dancing and retire to the restaurant for a bite to eat. According to the hotel’s history of this dish, diners were growing bored with the traditional ham and eggs, so Chef Fred Schmidt set out to create something new for his guests. His creation was an open-faced turkey sandwich with bacon and a delicate Mornay sauce – The Hot Brown.

Ingredients (Makes 2)

1 1/2 tablespoons salted butter

1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1/4 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, plus extra for garnish

Pinch of ground nutmeg

Salt and pepper

14 oz. sliced roasted turkey breast, slice thick

4 slices of Texas toast (crusts trimmed)

4 slices of bacon

2 Roma tomatoes, sliced in half




  1. In a two-quart saucepan, melt butter and slowly whisk in flour until combined to form a thick paste or roux. Continue to cook roux for 2 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring frequently. Whisk heavy cream into the roux and cook over medium heat until the cream begins to simmer, about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Remove sauce from heat and slowly whisk in Pecorino-Romano cheese until the Mornay sauce is smooth. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste.


  1. For each Hot Brown, place one slice of toast in an oven safe dish and cover with 7 oz. turkey. Take the two halves of Roma tomato and two toast points and set them alongside the base of turkey and toast. Pour half of the sauce over the dish, completely covering it. Sprinkle with additional cheese.
  2. Place entire dish under a broiler until cheese begins to brown and bubble. Remove and cross two pieces of crispy bacon on top. Sprinkle with paprika and parsley and serve immediately.

All that sparkles is not always Champagne

For that important toast or prior to a reception, Champagne or sparkling wine is a tradition enjoyed by everyone.

But not all that a sparkle – or bubbles – is necessarily Champagne. For a bubbly wine to be called “Champagne,” it must hail form the Champagne region of France and meet that country’s requirements for labeling. Al other bubbles from around thchardgrapese world carry their own designation.


For that important toast or prior to a reception, Champagne or sparkling wine is a tradition enjoyed by everyone.

But not all that a sparkle – or bubbles – is necessarily Champagne. For a bubbly wine to be called “Champagne,” it must hail form the Champagne region of France and meet that country’s requirements for labeling. Al other bubbles from around the world carry their own designation.

In America, bubbly wines are called “sparkling wines.” Italy has its own highly effervescent wines in “Prosecco,” and from Spain comes delicious and fizzy “Cava.”

And if you venture away from the Motherland of bubbles – France – you’re likely to find great tasting sparklers and much better values.

Our friend Tim Rutherford of Savannafoodie.com, has written about wine for more than decade and has a great bottom line thought on bubbles:

“I would much rather have an amazing bottle of Prosecco or Cava – or a superb American sparkling wine – than a bargain basement French Champagne.”

With that in mind, let’s take a look at each style – but first, let’s go in armed with some basic knowledge.

On Champagne in particular and other bubblies generally, there will be some indication on the label as to level of sweetness. You’re like to see these phrases – and here’s what it means:

Brut less than 15 gram of sugar per liter (dry, this is the typical style of Champagne with no sweetness) Extra-Dry 12-20 gram of sugar per liter (still dry with a hint of sweetness or slightly sweet)
Sec 17-35 gram of sugar per liter (medium sweet)
Demi-Sec 33-55 gram of sugar per liter (sweet)

The level you choose is up to you and your specific tastes. Brut is the most common Champagne chosen for a toast – but it is necessarily required that a toast Champagne be dry. Remember, it’s your special day – drink what you enjoy.

Sparkling wines are typically made from one of three grape varieties – or a blend of these varieties. Each grape has its role:

Pinot Noir adds body, structure, aroma, and a complexity of flavors.

Pinot Meunier contributes fruitiness, floral aromas, and character.

Chardonnay gives freshness, delicacy, elegance, and finesse. For this reason, many producers make a blanc de blancs (Chardonnay) Champagne.

American Sparkling Wines

Most grape growing regions of the US have winemakers who produce a sparkling wine. For those that are closest to French style look for producers who utilize “method champenoise.” This means the process used for fermenting, aging and bottling follows traditional French practices.

Some of our favorites include:

Iron Horse: Based in Sonoma County, California, Iron Horse is known for a long history of producing some of America’s most celebrated sparkling wines – including the sparkling wine that was used to toast the historic Reagan-Gorbachev Summit Meetings ending the Cold War. However, its “Wedding Cuvee” marks those special days – and anniversaries – more than any of its labels. This is Iron Horse’s Blanc de Noirs, made from predominantly Pinot Noir.

Gruet: The Gruet family has made Champagne in France for decades – but with this property near Truth or Consequence, New Mexico, produces still wines and sparkling wines from the highest elevation vineyard in North America. A large variety of vintage and non-vintage sparklers are produced, including some made with other grapes. Our favorite is Gruet NV Demi Sec – subtle fruity aromas and the freshness of the Demi-Sec drives the character of this light bodied, semi-dry sparkling wine. The palate carries through with a creamy sensation and vivid flavor of green apples, ripe pears, pineapple and a hint of mineral.

wolfmt3Destination only bubbles: If a destination wedding is in your plans, explore having your wedding on-site at an area winery – most use this alternate revenue stream as a way to bolster their wine business. For example, in North Georgia, Wolf Mountain Vineyard has a stunning, mountainside wedding pavilion and makes a variety of sparkling wines sold on-site only. The family uses method champenoise for all of its bubbles.


Italian sparkling wines are the domain of a handful of producers from the country’s famed Veneto region. Prosecco is a white wine that is generally dry or extra dry wine. It is normally made from the Glera grape – although some producers refer to the grape as “Prosecco.”

Labels to look for include:


Bisol: This prominent family has been making wine around Valdobbiadene for more than five centuries. They produce a wide range – and wide price range – of Prosecco. All are delicious and representative of the region.

Carpene: Carpenè Malvolti Prosecco di Conegliano Extra Dry won a Gold Medal at the International Wine & Spirit Competition 2012. This wine is the epitome of how fine Prosecco Spumante should be: Fresh, dry, lively and deliciously grape-scented.


Spain is recognized for the great wine values it is currently producing – and its Cava is no exception.

Most Cava is produced in Catalonia – it may be white (blanco) or rosé(rosado). Only wines produced method champenoise may be labelled cava, those produced by other processes may only be called “sparkling wines” (vinos espumosos).

Labels we’ve sampled include:

Vega Barcelona: This producer’s Cava Brut Reserve is made from three Spanish grape varieties; this stunning sparkler serves up aromas and flavors of red delicious apple, pear, citrus and crème brulee.

Vinos Libre: Ya Cuvee 23 Reserva Cava is a fresh, clean Cava with a great nose, solid minerality, elegant mouth feel and a soft fresh lemon finish with very persistent bubbles.


Regardless of your choice – Champagne, American Sparkling Wine, Prosecco or Cava – all should be served well-chilled in flutes to show off the beautiful bubbles that dance to the surface.

When ‘Eating In” Makes Perfect Sense

As a business owner, you’ve invested a significant part of your capital in bricks and mortar. Whether you own your space or lease, you’ve no doubt created a meeting space that’s impressive to customers, comfortable to use and welcoming on an everyday basis.

officelunchSo when you have special office occasions – holiday parties, retirements, the celebration of an outstanding sales quarter – why go out to an impersonal restaurant when the restaurant can come to the place you’re the most at home – in your office meeting space.
Sure, you can do it yourself. That strategy seems to be the most relaxed and economical, but think about past office shindigs – does this sound familiar?
Hey, did somebody sign up to bring ice?
This cake looks great! Do you think we can cut it with a letter opener?
All of the crockpots tripped the breaker – all of the food is cold!
Keep your paper plates for dessert – we just have enough for everyone to have ONE!
A full-on office soiree or casual lunch is far more than just food. The event calls for paper goods, plates, utensils, condiments. Food has to be kept hot – or cold. In the end, it all has to clean up quickly and efficiently – time is money!
Here at Cape Creations Catering, delivering the office lunch is one of our specialties. From simple to more elaborate – we can meet your office meal needs in a variety of ways:

Box lunches: This style of office lunch allows us to be a little more flexible in the creation of a L”lunch box.” From deli sandwiches to pitas, roll-ups to kabobs – part of the fun in lunch boxes is popping open the top to find a surprisingly delicious lunch inside. Add a cup of soup, a pasta salad or cup of fruit for variety. Of course, every box needs a sweet treat – cookies, cake or mini pudding? Lunch boxes can be all-inclusive – food, utensils, condiments and a box that serves as a “plate.” Add beverage service and the work is done. Clean up is easy.

Self-serve trays: Disposable platters are easy to clean up and provide office diners the chance to assemble a plate of their choosing. Platters can be all cold, deli-style offerings or a combination of hot meats and cold sides. Again don’t forget the tray of cookies! We provide paper goods and disposable serving utensils.

Hot Line: Lunch is by far the most popular catered affair – but we do breakfast as well. Here’s where a hot line really brings a rib-sticking treat to your co-workers. Disposable service pans stay sealed and piping hot until you’re ready to eat and then open to reveal, eggs, breakfast meats, grits, roasted potatoes – you dream it, we can do it.. An inclusive breakfast casserole, biscuits and fresh fruit makes a popular breakfast self-serve line. Hot lunches can be as close as the conference room and may encompass a variety of menus – from simple soup and sandwich to more elaborate meat and three combinations.

And remember, catered lunches aren’t just a treat for your staff. Your best customers will feel like royalty when you treat their office staff to catered lunch. Show your appreciation for their business with a stress-free office breakfast or lunch.


Guests Won’t Squawk When Served a Moist, Tender Recipe With Bone-in Chicken

Fish can be fragile. Beef can be expensive – and more and more people are eating less red meat. Pork runs afoul of personal lifestyles.

But chicken…chicken can rule the roost for your special event.

The obvious go-to for chicken is the boneless chicken breast. As popular as the choice may be, it’s not without its own problems when being prepared for a crowd.

First, some history.chickendish

The boneless breast came about, in part, because it was quick to prepare. Busy restaurant chefs could give the chicken pieces a quick sear on each side then finish in a hot oven in just a few minutes. When prepared properly, this is the ideal application.

But your party of 50 – or more – cannot be served made-to-order chicken breasts. For large parties, we must think about keeping food hot, keeping meat moist and tender and delivering lots of flavor plate after plate.

The boneless chicken breast is not at its best when prepared in quantity. It tends to dry out – even when held in sauce. Plus, bone-in chicken has much more flavor than boneless breast filets.

Choosing chicken to save money is the right idea. According to price statistics from the National Chicken Council, the retail price of chicken can be just one-third the price of a comparable cut of pork and a whopping 75 percent less than beef.

So what are your options to serve chicken, save money and get the best dish possible?

Work with your professional caterer on braised chicken dishes, chicken in sauces or stews and always choose bone-in pieces. Use dark meat – thighs and legs – when possible because these higher fat pieces bring even more flavor to the table. These cooking methods will keep the chicken at its best – and allow you to introduce some international flavors to your event.

Recipe ideas

Chicken Tagine: This savory dish can use all pieces of the chicken – dark and white meat. The traditional Middle Eastern preparation incorporates rich flavors of the Med – lemon, turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, parsley and cilantro. It’s a dish that is loaded with flavor and colorful variety.

Chicken Cacciatore: This rustic, Italian-inspired chicken dish can use all parts of the chicken and brings together flavors of Tuscany: Tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, oregano and basil. This dish offers an easy and affordable wine paring option – Sangiovese or Chianti work just fine and are great values right now.

Coq au Vin: This classic French dish is a crowd pleaser for both its simplicity and its flavors. Literally “chicken in wine,” the dish marries earthy ingredients like thyme, mushrooms and pearl onions with a rich wine sauce to produce chicken pieces that are moist, tender and delicious.

Braised Chicken with Wine and Oranges: The tangy oranges in this dish blend with the sweet Muscatel wine to create a Spanish sweet-and-sour chicken. Spain is also the source of some great wine values – and this dish pairs perfectly with the popular Spanish red wine grape Tempranillo.

Beer-Braised Chicken Stew with Fava Beans and Peas: This is a perfect foundation dish for parties where there are plenty of craft beer fans. Onions, mushrooms, herbs and spices ramp up the flavor in this hearty chicken stew – that can be make only with chicken thighs. Compliment the dish with beer like a Belgian-style ale.


A DIY Bar Can Be Fun

Handling kitchen duties can be overwhelming for the host of a special event. That’s where caterers come in – we work on-site or prepare off-site and deliver to your home or special event venue.

Tackling bartender duties isn’t so stressful and may be a way for you express yourself and save a few bucks at your next special event. Here are some ideas for your bar needs:

a diy barExplore discounts: Most wine shops and package stores offer case discounts on every 12 bottles – and some offer a discount on just six bottles. If it’s wine crowd and the party is going for three hours, plan on nearly one bottle per guest – that’s one drink an hour. Also, work in advance with your package or wine store operator and ask them to seek out any special deals for you. Lots of wine comes to market that never sees shelf time – and many of those are bargain bottles that are just right for a large crowd.

Ask guests to pitch in: Some wine and package shops have gift registries. Instead of getting overloaded with another toaster, create a wine and liquor gift registry and let your guests pick up the tab for your favorite beverages.

Mix in bulktequila: You don’t want to be tied to bar-tending duties any more than you want to slave over a hot stove. Some cocktails mix well in bulk and guests can self-serve from a container with a spigot. You don’t have to be an expert mixologist to put together these recipes. And, mixing in bulk allows you to use less expensive brands of liquor and mixers bought in bulk at warehouse or discount stores.

Some ideas include:


Manhattan (Serve over ice in small rocks glass, makes 38 oz)
750 ml rye whiskey
10 oz sweet vermouth
3 oz dry vermouth
Garnish with Luxardo cherries

Whiskey or Vodka Mule (Serve over ice in small rocks glass, make 85 oz)
1 liter Vodka OR bourbon
11 oz lime juice
40 dashes of Angostura bitters
40 oz ginger beer
Garnish with lime wheels

ironhorseDon’t get hung up on labels: If you are serving champagne cocktails, don’t get all hung up on the label – after all, your bubbly is about to get diluted with juice or some other mixer. Set aside that special bottle to be shared by the bride and groom – or bridal party – and use the less expensive bubbles for mixers and guests. Consider the options of sparkling wines from the US, Cava from Spain or Prosecco from Italy – you may just get more bang for your buck with bubbles from outside of France!

Beer bliss: If you are among the growing number of craft beer enthusiasts you probably know a home brewer or two. Ask your favorite homebrewer to craft a special “wedding ale” for your event. It’s a way for the brewer to show off his skills and for you to have a remarkable and one-of-a-kind beer for your event.

Measure, monitor: While no one wants to get serious at a party – you are serving alcohol and by doing so assume the risk as host. To keep consumption – and expense – in check, use small glasses or cups, make plenty of ice available for cocktails and consider cutting off alcohol service an hour or so before the party ends. Offer coffee soft drinks and water. Lastly, don’t let guests who have had too much to drink get behind the wheel. Call a cab – or arrange to have drivers available to take home guests who have had too much to drink.