Self-proclaimed foodies all agree – bowl food is in! It’s hot (and cold), trendy, and so the thing to do at special events. Even the Royals are in on bowl food. What food? Bowl what, you ask? Don’t worry, Messina’s Catering and Events gives you the scoop on the ins and outs of bowl food.
Bowl Food What is it?
Bowl food is pretty much what you think it is – food in a bowl – but decked out for events. According to the BBC, “Bowl food is larger than a canapé and around a quarter of the size of a main course. It is served in miniature or hand-sized bowls and comes ready to eat with a small fork.” Bowl food has become super popular for large catering events because instead of the traditional sit-down dinner, it keeps the event cocktail party style, where guests stay standing and mingle.
We often think of cereal, porridge and soup as standard fare served out of a bowl. However, for many countries around the world, the bowl is the primary tableware used for eating. In the twentieth century US, plates were the main tableware used, and separate plates were used for bread, salad and the main course. Food courses were meant to be separate, and bowls meant mixing them, which was unfashionable at the time and a mark of lower-class status.
For the last few years, the rise of eating out of a bowl was brought out by a focus on healthy dishes that includes layers of grains, veggies, protein and sauces. Mixing foods is now in. With Instagram, the gorgeous array of food has been propelled into stardom. Bowls are quite frankly photogenic. Bowl has many delicious things that look pretty on top, like seeds, garnishes and sauces. For plates, the assembly for the perfect photo is much more difficult. Conversely with bowls, it’s only the top layer that has to be beautiful. And voila, Instagram stardom is born.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle pushed the bowl food trend into mega popularity. Breaking with custom, the Prince and his bride threw the formal, sit-down dinner out the window, and instead served trendy bowl food at their 2018 wedding instead. Although there was worry that their wedding celebration would not be dignified enough with mere bowl food, Prince Harry and Megan proved the doubters wrong. For their lunch wedding reception, their food menu consisted of 1) fricassee of free-range chicken with morel mushrooms and young leeks, 2) pea and mint risotto with pea shoots, truffle oil and parmesan crisps, and 3) 10-hour slow roasted Windsor pork belly with apple compote and crackling. From that point on, was not only deemed royal-worthy, but escalated to mega trendy as well.
The beauty of bowl food is that it can be composed any way you want. Popular burrito bowls, sushi bowls, Hawaiian poke bowls, superfood Buddha bowls (consists of various greens, veggies, beans and a healthy grain like quinoa) and acai smoothie bowls are excellent choices. But to elevate your event to the next level, work with your caterer on customizing your catering menu. Give a seasonal flair to your bowls with seasonal seafood and produce. Or if organic and healthy is your focus, add in more veggies (bowls are a great way to do that) and greens. If comfort is your game, go for fried specialties atop mashed potatoes and gravy.
With bowl food, the world is your oyster, so let your caterer work their culinary magic. Messina’s Catering and Events can incorporate many our main courses into bowl food. Our gumbo works perfectly as well as our Seared Duck Breast atop a grit cake with Satsuma Marmalade layered in with veggies of choice. Messina’s chefs have been providing the New Orleans area with the hottest catering events for 58 years.