2022 Catering Trend: Bringing the Catering Menu to Life

Catering Trend Flair bartending

Of course, we all expect exceptional food and drink at any catered event.  But what if how it’s served is just as important as what’s being offered?  In 2022, we’ll see more catering menus come to life with interactive experiences that elevate the overall guest experience.  The goal is to make the preparation and service as satisfying as what’s in the glass or on the plate.

Bring the Bar to Life with Flair Bartending

Instead of just bellying up to the bar to order your usual martini or cosmo, imagine instead a mixologist who can juggle bottles, toss glasses and shakers around, and who even use fire to make the perfect custom cocktail.  They’re called Flair Bartenders, sometimes referred to as “extreme bartending” or “flairtending”, and they are highly trained to entertain and delight guests with their showmanship.  Think back to the 1988 film Cocktail with Tom Cruise, or the iconic 2000 movie Coyote Ugly.  Flair Bartenders can manipulate bar tools and liquor bottles in visually dazzling ways, and can add a unique flair to just about any private or corporate event.

Invite Guests to Graze at the Garden Bar

In 2022, the emphasis on just about every catering menu will be “fresh.” Few things are fresher than a garden bar.  Guests gather at a bar featuring fresh herbs like lavender, mint, basil, rosemary and edible flower like orchids, nasturtiums and pansies for color.  The bar is also garnished with decanters of fresh juices, simple syrups, and freshly sliced fruit garnishes.  Skilled bartenders then prepare cocktails using these simple ingredients to create one-of-a-kind taste sensations.  It doesn’t get fresher than that.  This provides guests a colorful visual display from which to choose their drink ingredients from, giving them a greater sense of ownership to the experience.

garden bar at a catered event

Host a Wine Dinner for a Crowd

Wine dinners are nothing new, but they aren’t usually expected at large catering events.  Add a sommelier to the mix and you’ve got another type of experience entirely. A sommelier can not only recommend what food and wine to serve at each course, but can be present at the event to explain to your guests between courses the subtle nuances of how certain foods and wines interact and why. They take into consideration elements like “mouthfeel” to determine whether the wine either complements or contrasts with the food being served.  For instance, a deep, rich red like Merlot or Bordeaux complements rare beef very well, while a cabernet with its vanilla and blackberry notes, might beautifully contrast with a delicate dessert such as creme brulee.  A sommelier can educate guests that the generalization of red wine with red meat and white wine with fish, poultry, or pork isn’t necessarily true.  Guests leave not only having had a great experience, but with some wine-knowledge that they can share.

Food and Beverage Pairing Stations

Hosting a cocktail party?  Food stations with perfectly-paired beverage tastings are a great way to go.  Combine a fresh summer ceviche station with small pours of pinot grigio.  Serve sips of premium tequilas alongside an oyster shucking station.  Have fun with frosty German beers alongside salty warm pretzels.  Add an international flair with Saki paired with ramen or lo mein.  Provide narrative at each station to educate guests on each pairing and complementary flavors.  Strategic food and drink pairings like this promote mingling and discussion among guests.

Food and Beverage Pairing Station

Chef-attended Action Stations Allow Guests to Craft Their Perfect Dish

An action station is any food station that requires participation by the guest.  Chef-attended action stations are truly personal touches, and allow the chef and guest to connect as the guests’ food is individually prepared just for them.  For instance, at a Ramen action station, guests can watch as their chosen toppings are layered over a steaming bowl of broth and noodles.  Pasta action stations allow guests to choose their pasta type, sauce and toppings and watch as their creation is sautéed to perfection and plated just for them.  As one of New Orleans most experienced caterers, we’ve been doing bananas foster action stations for decades.  Guests watch as the dark rum sauce is ignited and caramelized before being poured over ice cream.

Chef-attended Action Station

Trust an Experienced Caterer Like Messina’s to Infuse Action to your Next Event

We’ve been adding action and elevating guest experiences since 1961.  Our event experts and chefs can help guide you on the ideal menu, drink offering, layout, and direction on the best way to serve it up with showmanship and style. Learn more by visiting MessinasCatering.com.