In New Orleans, food is everything. It isn’t a holiday or special occasion without breaking bread over the family table. We even discuss plans for our next meal while we are still eating the current one.

This sentiment is no different when it comes to revelry surrounding a couple’s wedding. But how does a couple spice it up or make sure their food doesn’t fall flat? We got the 411 in reception fare from Joel Catering’s Chef Evan Benson to ensure couples stay on trend when partying down. 

Benson said his two favorite options for a reception are small plate stations and late-night bites. While late-night bites aren’t anything new, and have been quickly climbing the trend scale, Benson says couples are getting more creative and now serving snacks based on their favorite meals. 

“One couple loved empanadas, so we kicked it up a bit and made homemade empanadas with queso fresca and mojo dipping sauce,” said Benson. “It’s tempting to simply serve beignets, but why not make it unique to you that’ll leave your guests smiling and satisfied?” 

Some other snacks he’s been cooking up are homemade milk shakes (vanilla, chocolate and strawberry); Waygu Beef tacos with avocado puree, cilantro leaves and chipotle crema; and mini-grilled cheese filled triple cream brie and fig mostardo. 

Benson said he enjoys the small plate trend hitting the reception scene, because big marks in reception food come from presentation, execution, quality and taste. This option gives couples the opportunity to add fine-dining-like fare with the sophisticated taste one would find at a high-end restaurant. Another pro to this reception option, Benson said, is “like any fine dining restaurant, timing is critical so guests can immediately enjoy the dish when it’s fresh and hot, and small plates can accomplish that.” 

A few of the most recent small plate options he has created include cilantro corn cakes with jumbo lump crab with mirliton slaw and lime vinaigrette; sauteed gnocchi tossed with butternut squash, pearl onion, mushrooms with a sage brown butter sauce; and lamb chops with a white bean puree, romesco sauce, and oregano oil soaked feta cheese. 

The food a couple picks for their reception is worth the time and consideration they will have to put in. Kicking it up a notch will ensure a complete and full experience for your family and friends. 

“My staff and I love working with couples that want food that goes beyond the typical fare and becomes a fine dining experience,” said Benson. 

So knock it out of the park, incorporate one of these culinary movements and keep your guests talking for weeks to come.  



Joel Catering & Special Events. 504-299-8400.