Creatively adapting to diverse dietary restrictions from a growing population of vegan, nondairy, and gluten free clients without jeopardizing taste or the Portland “foodie” experience can be a catering challenge–though Art of Catering (AOC) has developed solutions to meet these dietary standards while offering innovative menu and service trends clients are after.
Along with the influx of vegan and gluten free menu requests, Art of Catering Event Coordinator, Eric Sandstrom, is noticing clients straying from plated, seated, traditional banquet menus, and are turning to small plates and family-style menus.
“People like to share and sample” said Sandstrom, which is why so many clients are choosing to forego formality–opting for a variety of tapas, or small plates. Art of Catering recommends passed service for a menu comprised of tapas, or “composed plate” buffets; caterers prepare 7.5 to 9 inch plates with different samplings of complementary menu items, and arrange the mobile “composed plates” on a buffet table for guests to pick up and enjoy. AOC and West Coast Event Productions collaborated to select WCEP’s new new vortex and pasta plates which are perfect for small plate menus.
Hors d’oeuvres and small plates can be difficult to execute under vegan and gluten free guidelines, as so many feature a bread or starch-based vessel, though creative adaptions like using endive leaves as a base for hors d’oeuvres items like Art of Catering’s popular artichoke tapenade, is one of the many ways caterers can adapt to combine somewhat contradicting food trends.
Art of Catering and West Coast Event Productions have collaborated to deliver countless creative events over the past 15 years.
“We have a history with West Coast; it is always fun when clients give us the autonomy to be creative. I love seeing what West Coast comes up with, and we work with our staff to match the theme” said the Art of Catering Event Coordinator. “Working with West Coast on SMARSH holiday events has been among my favorite; we’ve done everything from glamorous Gatsby, to a gritty 80’s theme where our servers even wore side ponytails”.
From staff appearance to plating, Art of Catering is known for presentation and precise execution. Never scheduling more than three events in one day, “clients choose Art of Catering when they are looking for a higher level of food and service… we don’t try to be the biggest, but the best” said Sandstrom. Attention to detail, and the ability to create any menu from authentic Asian cuisine to a dessert display that mirrors the event color palette has earned AOC’s reputation in Portland’s event industry, and positioned the company as a favorite among West Coast Event Production clients.