Dinner for One
Personalized, tableside service that doesn’t sacrifice style
You won’t consider your wedding reception a success until at least one of your foodie friends hikes up her dress and stands on a chiavari chair to snap a photo of the hors d’oeuvres. Despite new service challenges, your reception fare can easily be “chair climb worthy” while factoring in a safety-conscious delivery style.
Katie Morris, owner of Black Pearl Catering, has incorporated picturesque concepts that marry visual creativity and mindful serving measures.
Morris says brides don’t have to sacrifice style when creating breathtaking cuisine moments that have an intimate and thoughtfully delivered feel.
“We’ve been using petite cloches to present individual items to guests,” said Morris. “This has worked really well functionally, as it limits the exposure of the menu items and everyone in turns feels safer and enjoys themselves more.”
Taking into account the trending desire for tableside service, Morris notes the opportunity of additional style points for presentation. “We’ve also utilized our rolling carts for delivery, and I think that those have been a lovely way to create a unique experience where guests also feel safe as they are receiving an individual small plate.”
Since many guests anticipate classic Crescent City cuisine but are wary of station-style setups, consider creative mini versions of beloved local staples selectively brought to each guest.
“Many of your favorite New Orleans appetizers can transition to a small bite with a little creativity in presentation,” says Morris. “We do a fried green tomato with pickled greens and local honey, and we core out each tomato slice to ensure that the bites are uniform in size and suitable for the covered serving vessel.”
Kaitlin Crabtree Rodgers, director of sales at Arnaud’s, has mindfully adjusted the service format recently to accommodate guests’ comfort levels.
“We’ve been focusing on individual vehicles for hors d’oeuvres like crabmeat ravigote in individual shooters served with a fork, or precious little French fry cups served with individual sauces,” says Rodgers, who also suggests extending the approach into dessert with petite praline trifles or small ice cream cones wrapped and presented on trays. “The mini vehicles are cute, charming — and very Instagrammable.”
Kellie Levy, director of sales and event manager for Toulouse Gourmet Catering, views modern-day mini service ideas as an opportunity for a couple to highlight the element of branding their event.
“Weddings are more customized now, and the idea of branding everything at the event is like getting instant gratification and recognition,” says Levy, noting the idea of placing logo stickers or custom-made stamps on individual serving apparati like mini beignet bags or to-go boxes.
While traditional concepts like buffets aren’t currently being requested by as many brides, Levy notes the opportunity to get creative in presenting “mini buffet” elements for guests, like individual pails of curated charcuterie on display for guests to select from artfully presented displays to partake in during cocktail hour.
“Your guests will feel like something is just for them, personally from you,” she says. “It allows couples to be more creative and makes the guests feel special.” b