As we usher in fall flavors once again, you may be thinking it’s time to switch things up with your menu. Food trends come and go and, as caterers and food suppliers, it’s our job to introduce fresh ideas for meals that are both seasonal and unique.
This year, challenge yourself to look past the usual ingredients and flavorings. Bring creativity to the forefront and discover new ways to embrace the season. Our experts offer a few ideas for building an innovative menu this fall.
Try something new
It’s easy to fall into the usual swing of pumpkin spice and butterscotch flavors, especially when that is what clients are asking for. However, since you are the one with the culinary expertise, you are in the ideal place to bring new ideas to the table. Plan out your seasonal menus with not-so-common fall flavors that will have your clients drooling for more.
“There are so many fall flavors that are shadowed by the ‘pumpkin spice’ craze,” says Adam Gooch of Common Plea Catering. “One really cool spice with a different layer of fall flavor is Chinese five-spice powder. With the rich cinnamon tones, it can really pair well with fall squashes and fruit.”
Gooch adds: “Another flavor that is not used much or overshadowed is vanilla. Adding a little vanilla bean to a butter sauce and pairing with a roasted chicken breast is a great warm fall flavor.”
A lot of the menu creation process comes from experimentation, so have some fun in the kitchen and see what your team comes up with. Better yet, host an in-house competition to see who can create the most creative and delicious dishes using less common ingredients. Not only will you end up with some cool recipes, but it will also get your staff into the seasonal spirit.
Jazz up the bar scene
Autumn flavors aren’t just for the kitchen — they belong at the bar, too. After all, there is nothing like a cozy mug of spiced cider or hot cocoa on a chilly fall night.
“High-end cocktails continue to find a place at events,” shares Meryl Snow of SnowStorm Solutions. “You’ll see fresh ingredients at reception bars, like fruit squeezed in front of guests and flowers frozen into ice cubes. Small batch bitters, tonics, and elixirs are also emerging on the scene — perfect for a fall celebration. Signature hot toddy, anyone?”
Autumnal beverages also make a great choice for interactive serving with stations that offer various additions to complement a drink, like cinnamon sticks, cherries, nutmeg, and more.
“Think hot buttered rum stations, mulled red wine stations, and café diablo stations,” hints Lon Lane of Lon Lane’s Inspired Occasions. “Another tasty drink is what we call Urban Bourbon – bourbon, gingered orange juice, cherry liqueur, and prosecco.”
Autumn is a great time for experimentation, so do not leave your creativity behind in summer. Take advantage of all the harvest season has to offer and look for new ways to bring the beautiful season of fall to your client’s plates.