7 Catering Tips By Elizabeth Andrews Corporate Catering [Guest Post]

July 30, 2020

Food and drink comprises one of the most important considerations for any event. But professional caterers often need to deal with surprisingly challenging situations.

In our latest guest blog post, we interview Andrew Dunoon of Elizabeth Andrews Corporate Catering to discover how they'd approach these seven situations.

1. Your client informs you that her sit-down charity dinner comprises strict vegans, those on Paleo diets and Hindu guests. What do you suggest?
We are often asked to cater for special dietary requirements and have an extensive menu available covering a variety of dietary requirements including vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, dairy free etc. For an event with specific requirements such as this, we can suggest:

- Paleo: Grilled chicken, burnt leek and onion puree, blistered heirloom tomatoes, wilted greens, herbs and macadamia gremolata
- Paleo Vegan Hindu: Roast pumpkin stack, burnt leek and onion puree, blistered heirloom tomatoes, wilted greens, herbs and macadamia gremolata
- Vegan Hindu: Buddha bowl of uruchimai, tamari and ginger spiced tofu, roasted broccoli, edamame, pickled cabbage, avocado, seaweed and sesame furikake

2. An engineering company has organised a Yuletide weekend away for its 80 employees during wintertime to Gapstead Winery. What food do you serve in their individually served lunch packs on their 3-hour chartered bus trip from Flinders Street Station?
We love Christmas themed events and we also have a great range for individual lunch boxes which can be easily tailored to our clients needs. For a Yuletide themed lunch box, we’d suggest:

- A spiced rum and orange glazed ham sandwich
- A turkey and cranberry laugen roll
- A mix of winter vegetables served with roquette, pecorino, vincotto
- A Christmas treat such as a gingerbread cookie or a fruit mince tart or a fruit salad for a healthy option
- A drink such as cranberry juice

3. You've been asked to cater for a diet magazine's media lunch. You can't serve any dish that contains over 250kj. What do you serve and how do you detail its calorific value?
In this day and age simple, fresh and healthy corporate catering is becoming the norm rather than the exception. At Elizabeth Andrews Catering we have a great range for healthy lunch catering options such as:

- Rice paper rolls
- Sushi
- Salad or poke bowls
- Finger sandwiches made using wholemeal breads and packed with healthy fillings
- Crudités and dips
- Fruit skewers or fruit platters
- And finish with something sweet like protein balls or raw/vegan slices

And collaborating with a dietitian or nutritionist we can work out the calorific value of each menu item and create display cards. 

4. The lunchtime buffet event is being held on a beach under a huge marquee. You cannot use electricity to cook as there are no power points available. There is also a fire ban so you can't use gas bottles either. What food would work best?
We often work in settings where basic cooking and kitchen equipment are not available to us. There are however many great catering options to work around such challenges including:

- Grazing platters or table with a variety of antipastos, cheeses, dips and crackers
- Salad bars
- Sushi and sashimi station
- Roasted meats served cold with rolls and condiments
- Ready to eat dessert bar

5. You've been asked to theme the food in black and white for a company with a monochrome logo. What comes to mind?
We are often asked to work with company colours and logos, this can be a challenge depending on the colours but also lots of fun! For a black and white theme there are some sensational catering options can suggest:

- Grilled barramundi with pickled cucumber, kewpie served in a charcoal bun
- Bao buns filled with sticky beef and bean shoots or black garlic and miso mushroom
- Cauliflower, black rice and queso blanco burrito
- Cacio e pepe (cheese and pepper) squid ink pasta
- Mississippi mud cake                                                         
- Mini pavlovas topped with blackberries
- Cookies and cream dessert cups made using Oreos
- Lamingtons
- Black sesame cupcakes topped with lemon buttercream frosting

6. What are the top five canapes you'd suggest for a cocktail party?
Canapes that we are loving at the moment include:
- Beef mignon: Tender eye fillet wrapped in prosciutto with horseradish cream fraiche on a crisp potato rosti. Decadent and delicious!
- Charcoal buns: filled with smoked salmon, wild roquette, dill and horseradish cream cheese. The charcoal buns have a ton of ‘wow’ factor.
- Seared tuna: tataki of yellow fin tuna rolled in sesame seeds and served with a miso mayonnaise. Dairy free, gluten free and nut free, it ticks all of the boxes!
- Goats cheese tarts: tartlets filled with goats’ cheese and topped with Moroccan spiced caramelised pumpkin, pomegranate and lemon balm. Looks pretty on the platter and it’s vegetarian too. Bonus!
- Duck crepes: filled with roasted duck breast, cucumber, capsicum, spring onion and hoisin sauce. They are always a crowd pleaser!
7. Your client wants to organise an eco-friendly hawkers night stall avoiding the use of disposable eating utensils and plates. What foods would work best?
As companies become more conscious of the environmental footprint of their events, we only use environmentally friendly plates and cutlery. However as we are often asked to provide hand-held catering only so there is no need to use any plates or cutlery, there’s a ton of great options available including:
- Mexican stand with tacos, burritos and quesadillas
- Greek street food stands with souvlakis and skewers
- Asian street food stands with banh mi, bao buns and rice paper rolls
- Good old fashioned hot dog and burgers stands
-And for something sweet, an ice stand with ice cream cones and ice cream sandwiches!

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