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your options in caterers and catered foods

Preparing and cooking food for a hundred people was not something that I was prepared to do. I didn't have the supplies, kitchen space or energy to even consider doing so. As I was talking with some friends trying to get them to help, we decided to start looking into some catering options instead of doing all of the work ourselves. I had no idea that there were so many types of caterers that prepared such a wide variety of foods. That is why I created my blog to help others considering using a catering service to prepare the food for their next party.


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your options in caterers and catered foods

Successful Catering For Large Parties With Many Dietary Restrictions

by Roope Hanninen

Planning catering for a party, reception, or other event is difficult enough when the event is small, and as the guest list grows, the planning only grows more complicated. It's not just personal tastes that you have to consider but allergies, medical dietary restrictions, and religious restrictions. Catering companies have become very good at creating food that meets certain restrictions, and if you work with them, you'll likely be able to cover all your food-related bases. 

The best solution, if possible, is to ask attendees to let you know ahead of time about dietary issues so that you can let the catering company know. However, that's not always possible. Sometimes you have to arrange for catering at your workplace, where RSVPs aren't possible. If you're faced with that situation or something similar, you can still try to accommodate surprise dietary issues.

Cover the Basics

Ask the catering company to arrange to have vegan, vegetarian, kosher, halal, and low-sodium options. Don't be surprised if the options are combined, such as all dishes, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian, being kosher. It helps now to have low-carb/keto-friendly options as well, given how common that way of eating is, and gluten-free will be appreciated if you have attendees with celiac disease. Just by offering these basics, you'll be able to accommodate many, if not most, of the dietary requirements you might encounter.

Consider Buffets and Make-Your-Own Stations

Sometimes it's easier to give people the option to create their own dishes, as that helps avoid problems with major dislikes. Instead of having a catering company provide sandwiches that all use mayo, which can be annoying to people who think mayo is terrible, people can make their own and avoid mayo if they wish. You'll need a lot of room for something like this, however, so be sure you know how much table space will be necessary.

Look for Simple Combinations

Simpler dishes and whole foods may be better because people with medical restrictions that they don't want to divulge may have an easier time finding something they can eat. Shredded, poached chicken and roasted vegetables, for example, with sauce options placed on the side, uses simple ingredients that can be dressed up as the attendee sees fit. Someone who needs to avoid certain foods but who doesn't want to tell others due to privacy reasons likely could have a dish like this. This is just one example; you can speak with the catering company about how they normally handle these situations.

Have Lists of Ingredients Ready

It really helps to have lists of ingredients ready in case people need them. Not recipes, but simple ingredient lists for allergen purposes. People who are allergic to legumes, for example, know not to eat black-bean brownies, but they might not be sure about something like "healthy brownies," where the name doesn't indicate that there might be beans in the recipe.

Catering companies know now that they might encounter people with varied dietary restrictions. While you can't think of every possibility, you can do your best with the help of a good catering company.

Contact a local catering company to learn more.