2015 Food Trends

We’re hungry after researching the 2015 food trends!  Last year, we and some of our industry friends predicted that cauliflower, artisan Gin, celery, juicing and hyper local cuisine would become popular choices.  We’ve certainly seen these items on more and more restaurant menus, as well as our client’s event menus.  This year, we’re predicting some of the flavors and ingredients that are Up & Coming, ones that are Going Strong (hitting the mainstream), and those that seem to be on their way out (although, I don’t ever plan to say goodbye to bacon!).

 

2015 Food Trends

 

Thank you to Well Dunn Catering, Susan Gage Caterers and our fabulous intern, Cassie, for their contributions to this post!

2014 Food Trends Pt. 2

In our previous post, we introduced you to some of the food trends we’ve been tracking for 2014.  Recently, we asked some of our industry colleagues to comment on how they are already incorporating current trends into their events or to make their own predictions for hot new ideas.  Here’s what they had to say.

Trend:  Celery

At Your Event:  Chap Gage of Susan Gage Caterers predicts that celery is going to be the newest veggie Chefs and mixologists alike will be elevating and highlighting.  He has created two custom cocktails featuring this often over-looked green that can pack a mighty punch of flavor.

Aquavite Celery Martini

Photo courtesy of: Susan Gage Caterers

Celery-Aquavit Martini

2 oz. Linea Aquavit

1 oz. Celery simple syrup

.5 oz. Dolin Blanc

Top off with soda water

Garnish with celery

Rim with smoked sugar

 

Celery simple syrup

1 Cup water

1 Cup Sugar

3 stalks of celery (chopped)

Boil water, add sugar until dissolved, add celery and simmer for 10 minutes

Strain and allow to cool (will last in your fridge for a couple of weeks)

 

Celery Greyhound

Photo courtesy of: Susan Gage Caterers

Muddled Celery Greyhound

2oz Jensen Gin

2oz Fresh squeezed grapefruit juice

Small handful of celery greens

 

Muddle greens in bottom of a rocks glass

Add ice

Add juice and gin

Lightly stir

 

Trend:  Cauliflower

At Your Event:  Wolfgang Puck Catering at The Newseum offers a delicious and unique first course highlighting the media’s pick for veggie of the year.  The Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Indian Spices shows just how versatile this pale sister of broccoli can be.

Wolfgang Puck Cauliflower Soup

Photo Courtesy of Wolfgang Puck Catering The Newseum

 

Trend:  Artisan Gin

At Your Event:  Occasions Caterers has been noticing an increase in custom cocktail bars at events.  To highlight this year’s trend of artisan gins, offer a selection of small batch gins, including DC’s own Green Hat Gin.  Then, invite your guests to mix their own cocktail with an assortment of options like housemade syrups; fresh herbs and berries; citrus peel ribbons; lemongrass sticks and candied ginger batons, small batch tonics, fresh squeezed juices and more.

Photo courtesy of Occasions Caterers

Photo courtesy of Occasions Caterers

Trend:  Juicing

At Your Event:  Kimpton properties across the country are now featuring fresh juice menus, and The Hotel Monaco Baltimore’s Juice Caboose Break offers a fresh and healthy option for meetings and events.

Kimpton Juice Bar

Trend: Hyper-Local

At Your Event:  Farm-to-table dining and local, seasonal, green events continue to grow in popularity. Some venues are going beyond sourcing at local farms and actually growing their own produce.  The Hay Adams Hotel recently announced a “partnership with the University of the District of Columbia’s College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences (CAUSES) to serve locally grown produce from its Muirkirk Farm. The farm uses sustainable growing methods to produce a range of fresh herbs and vegetables including ethnic crops not native to the US, but that can be grown locally.”

Hay Adams DC farm

Photo courtesy of Hay Adams

 

2014 Food Trends

As in previous years, we have been collecting ideas and articles about the latest trends in the fashion, design and food industries to share with you.  In the coming weeks, we will talk about what trends will impact the event industry and provide inspiration and ideas on how you can incorporate some these trends into your upcoming events.

 

The experts have been abuzz for months making predictions about what will be big in food for 2014.  Here are a few of the articles we’re keeping on file National Restaurant Association, Huffington Post, The Guardian, Food & Wine.  Not surprisingly, some of the trends from last year will gain even more favor this year (e.g. mash-ups, local sourcing, and artisan products), but there will also be some new themes bubbling up (Peruvian cuisine, Cauliflower, tea).

Here are just a few of the trends expected to be big in food, dining and cooking.  Follow our Pinterest board to learn more.

2014 Food Trends

2014 Trends to Watch (L to R): Middle Eastern Spices and Cuisine; DIY and Artisan Gin; Mash-ups like S’mores BrowniesCauliflower Ousts King Kale; Tea, Not Just for Drinking; Artisan Breads; and Veggies, Juices and Local Sourcing, Oh My

What trend has you reaching for the recipes?

2013 Trend Report

It’s that time of year again – our annual Trend Report.  We’ve been collecting ideas, articles and photos like crazy to come up with our predictions for how fashion, interior design and food trends will influence the event industry in 2013 and beyond.

Photo Credits: VogueUK, Elle Decor, Bon Appetit

Coming up, we will show you how to incorporate this year’s latest trends into your events.  In the meantime, check out our Pinterest boards and these articles to see what trends we’re tracking.

Style.com Trend Reports for Spring and Fall

Elle Decor

Huffington Post

New York Times

Huffington Post

London Love

Last month, I took a little holiday over the pond.  Here are just a few highlights from an amazing trip to London and Harrogate.

Birthday Dinner at my favorite London restaurant, La Petite Maison; Best Sunday Ritual – Sunday Roast at The Pig and Butcher; wedding gown shopping with @urbanflipflops at Brown’s Bride; wedding venue shopping at Fulham Palace with @urbanflipflops.

Getting to know the Islington neighborhood with @urbanflipflops; The Queen by Lego at Hamleys; design inspiration at Selfridges.

A majestic peacock in Holland Park; Baccarat chandeliers at One Marylebone, a spectacular London wedding venue; House of Dior exhibit at Harrods – beautiful and inspiring; cheese-flavored macaron at La Cave a Fromage – genius.

Home Sweet Home at Betty’s Harrogate and The Valley Gardens Harrogate; Columbia Road Flower Market; the truly stunning Renaissance St. Pancras, my London home.

And, the jewel in the crown, seeing Dame Helen Mirren in The Audience.  Truly incredible performance and a must-see if you are planning to be in London before June!!!

Let Them Eat Cake

The wedding cake is no longer just for dessert.  Sometimes, the cake is the star attraction.  Here are just a few spotlight-worthy confections that I have had my eye on.

Via Camille Styles

by Kendall's Cakes, via Washingtonian

via Style Me Pretty

Style Me Pretty via Pinterest

by Maggie Austin Cakes

via Emmaline blog

Charm City Cakes

2011 Food Trends

In the final part of my series on 2011 trends, I asked Joel Wolke at Occasions Caterers, Steve Dunn at Well Dunn, and Kelsey Hendrickson at Windows Catering to share some of their expertise and insight on the current trends in event catering.

Here are just a few ideas for you to think about as you plan your next event.

Farm to Table: Local and seasonal produce continues to be growing in popularity.  Occasions Caterers has developed a series of “100 mile” radius menus which are very popular, particularly with wedding clients looking for a truly local dining experience

A Taste of History: In addition to sourcing locally, Well Dunn has started growing its own produce, some with links to the past. Steve Dunn tells us: “In this area, we can link our culinary tradition to Thomas Jefferson who used Monticello as a testing ground for importing agricultural ideas from Europe and France in particular, as well as inventing agricultural methods and products of his own.  One of the tomatoes that he grew, Virginia Sweets, are now part of the tomato repertoire in Well Dunn’s farm plot.  The Virginia Sweet is a small orange and red skinned tomato with a sweet deep pink interior. We are using it in our kitchens for everything from Caponata to balsamic scented tomato sauces, which we hope to have on hand through the holidays.”

via Well Dunn

Around the World: According to Windows Catering, a lot of couples want to incorporate more ethnic foods into their menus, whether it’s in hors d’ouevres, stations or the dessert table. For example, a bride and groom who got engaged on the Great Wall of China decided to have all the hors d’ouevres at their wedding be Chinese inspired.

Having catered this year’s Washington National Opera Ball at the Embassy of the Peoples Republic of China, Occasions Caterers can now offer their customers some of the new items specially created for the event.  They have a line of “modern Shanghai” hors d’oeuvres including tea-smoked quail egg with pickled crab, Shanghai-style pork meatballs served from tiny woks, and phyllo “birds nests” filled with Cantonese lobster.

via Occasions

Small Plates: Another trend noticed by caterers is an increase in interest for small plate menus.  Well Dunn translates this trend in a number of ways, including offering multiple small selections in a single course.  You get to cover a lot more culinary ground by offering a selection of salads or a soup and salad combination in a single course.

A Trio of Petit Salads

Manchego, Grilled Peach and Micro Green Salad

Baby Greens with Figs, Goat Cheese and Toasted Hazelnuts

Tomato and Mozzarella Salad with a Chiffonade of Basil and a drizzle of Balsamic Reduction

Outside the Box: According to Windows, their clients have been thinking of new and different ways to approach the food at their venue.  A big trend they have noticed has been hiring food trucks for some portion of the evening. Whether it’s a taco truck during cocktails or donuts at the end of the night.   They have also enjoyed working with clients on unique wedding reception ideas.  For example, they recently worked on an extremely creative wedding where the bride wanted her reception to be a picnic style lunch. Guests could seat themselves at various picnic baskets and serve themselves from a wheelbarrow filled with champagne and wine. An adorable touch was that each blanket had it’s own basket filled with baguettes, artisan water and gourmet spreads.

via Windows

Similarly, Occasions has noted a continued interest in going “outside” of the mainstream and providing artisan foods, i.e. things which are made by hand in small batches or using antique methods.   Recent examples include an explosion of charcuterie specialists, European style unpasteurized cheeses, small batch beer and wine, and chocolates made with single-source cocoa.

via Occasions

Always In Style: I asked each caterer their opinion on some ideas that will always be in style.  Unanimously, they all said that delicious, well-prepared food served by exceptional staff will always be in style.

via Occasions

In addition to the above ideas, here are a few additional trends Occasions Caterers started to see this year that may become even more popular in the coming year.

  • Molecular gastronomy
  • Pies – from an all-pie dessert buffet to mini whoopie pies
  • Salty-sweet desserts (e.g. salted caramel, popcorn, and bacon dust)
  • Scandinavian cuisine
  • Pickled foods (house-made chutneys, ketchups, pickles)

A huge thank you to Joel, Kelsey and Steve for their fabulous insight and expertise!

Vacation Highlights: England

Here are just a few highlights from our lovely family vacation in England last month.

Harrogate

We spent the first part of our trip visiting Harrogate in North Yorkshire.  We lived here when I was a little girl and I loved sharing all my favorite places with my nieces.

Valley Gardens

My brother and I used to play with toy boats in the boat pond when we were little and it’s always a great place for a Sunday picnic.  One of my nieces’ most favorite things about our entire trip was the zip line at their playground.  It’s a fascinating learning experience seeing how differently playgrounds are designed in another country.  Even big kids can have fun at this one!

Betty’s Tea Room

Betty’s first opened in 1919 in Harrogate.  I could eat every meal here and just about do when I’m in town.  The Yorkshire Rarebit is our family favorite with heaping spoonfuls of Betty’s tomato chutney.  I buy boxes of their tea and chutney when I’m there and online, so I can enjoy it all year.  I wish we had traditional tea rooms in DC.

Farrah’s

In business since 1840, this is a must-stop for anyone with a sweet tooth.  Known for their toffees, my brother is obsessed with the Pear Drops, while I’m a huge fan of the Strawberry Bon Bons, Milk Caramels and Dolly Mix.

The Drum and Monkey

A fairly traditional British restaurant in a historic building.  Known for their seafood to most, the main reason I keep going back here is the Avocado with French Dressing starter.  There is a secret recipe for the French Dressing that no one can divulge.  It is AMAZING!

London

Buckingham Palace and Kate’s Wedding Dress

Since 1993, Buckingham Palace opens its doors to the public for a few months.  As soon as we learned that Kate’s wedding dress was going on display while we were going to be in London, we bought tickets.  The palace is as impressive as you would expect, but I was mostly overwhelmed by the beautiful collection of artwork on display.  It must be so inspiring to be surrounded by such beauty all the time.

As beautiful and fitting as I thought the gown was on TV and in pictures, my admiration significantly increased when I was able to see the very subtle details of the design and learn more about the process Sara Burton and her team went through to custom design by hand the lace patterns on the dress.  I’m also now the owner of an official ceremony programme in case any of my clients want to borrow some of their ideas.

St. Ermin’s Hotel

This hotel just re-opened after a major renovation. The location, the interior design and the staff are all top-notch.  We literally felt like royalty during our stay (thanks again, Gary! (one of the fabulous Concierges)).  I would stay here again and again and plan to the next time I am in London.

Summer Sales in London

I had been on a shopping hiatus for months, the summer sales were coming to an end and the fashion trends were finally leaving the 80s behind.  Needless to say, I shopped like crazy.  Zara, TopShop and H&M continue to be great options for trendy pieces at affordable prices.  Even though these shops have U.S. outposts, the collections are quite different.  Miss Selfridges is still a favorite for me, as well as some of the UK shops like Whistles for classic pieces, L.K. Bennett for shoes, and Monsoon for flowy, bohemian dresses and tops.

Dinner with Gwyneth Paltrow

via ELLE Magazine

I wish I could say that I actually did have dinner with Gwyneth when I was in London.  I didn’t. However, I did enjoy several of Gwyneth’s recommended restaurants, including two incredible, life-changing meals at her favorite restaurant.

Next time you are in London, I strongly recommend reserving a table at one of these fabulous restaurants.

La Petite Maison

53-54 Brooks Mews - Mayfair

On her blog, Goop, Gwyneth states that this is her favorite restaurant in London.  Having just eaten really well in London at a number and variety of fantastic restaurants, I now fully understand just how high of a compliment this is.  The food is simple and complex at the same time.  The presentation is beautiful and creative, but at the same time very authentic to the dish.  We had a lovely dinner one night and were so overwhelmed by the flavors, the service, and ambiance that we immediately booked a table for our final meal in London.

Everything we put in our mouths was delicious.  But, these dishes truly go beyond all existing words in their goodness.

Hors D’oeuvres:

Roasted red and yellow peppers (in a conversation with the chef, we learned that there is a white balsamic vinegar used to impart the subtle, but crucial acidity to this dish)

Carpaccio of scallops – this is an example of the genius of some chefs.  It’s beautiful to look at, with a beautiful assortment of “toppings.” With each bite you experience a multitude of flavors and textures – it just wouldn’t be the same with the little bit of candied citrus, the crunch of the nuts, the chives and whatever secret ingredients are used.  All the flavors combine perfectly with the subtly sweet sea water taste of the scallops.

Buratta with tomatoes – Absolute heaven! Enough said.

Salade Nicoise – I wasn’t as keen on this as the rest of my group because, hey, it’s salad.  That said, the presentation was beautiful and the southern French classic was quite enjoyable.  Perfect to share with your BFF for a quick and light lunch, but the others are so much more remarkable.

Plats Principaux:

Grilled Lamb Cutlets (lamb chops) – I love lamb and in my family, we have several favorite recipes that we make regularly.  It was unanimous that this was one of the best (some said THE BEST) lamb dishes ever tasted.  Again, what appears simple on the plate, was an explosion of flavors in the mouth.  This dish is yet another example of what I found so unique about the food here – as flavorful as the food is, no one flavor overpowers the other, and they all work in harmony to enhance the heart of the dish, the lamb.

Poulet au Foie Gras – This dish requires 55 minutes to make and is meant to serve at least 2, but easily 4.  We pre-ordered it for our second meal so we wouldn’t have to hold up everyone’s entrée.  Either way, it is worth the wait.  Easily, one of the best chickens ever.  I’m a lover of foie gras and it seems like they cook the fois gras in the cavity of the bird.  They also put slices of baguette inside during the cooking and the bread soaked in the juices was like icing on the cake.

Desserts:  Order all of these and share if you can because I can’t imagine eliminating one!

Madaleine with roasted apricots and almond milk ice cream

Lemon sorbet with vodka

Chocolate mousse with malt ice cream

Pain perdu with spice ice cream

Hix

66 Brewer Street - SoHo

From GOOP – At his restaurants, Mark Hix serves up a festive and dynamic feast and has all the London art world credentials you can conjure. At the Soho location, which is oriented toward a trendier crowd, you’ll dine surrounded by the work of London’s big time art-stars like Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, Tim Noble and Sue Webster.

The food here is simple, classic, British.  The smoked Scottish salmon starter and the whole roasted chicken are amazing!  The Credit Crunch ice cream with hot chocolate sauce, divine.

La Famiglia

7 Langton Street – Belgravia

From GOOP – The quiet, charming street in Chelsea completely belies the feeling inside this joyous, boisterous, family-run restaurant. There’s also a beautiful outside patio where kids can enjoy the trees. The food is simple Italian done just right. Kids love the pasta and fried zucchini and so do I.

This was a great family-friendly choice for our last dinner in London.  My two nieces loved having dinner on the tent-covered back patio and the staff couldn’t have been friendlier or more attentive.  The food and service were so authentic,  you really thought you were in Italy!

French Friday: Paris Memories

It’s hard to believe I’ve been back from my birthday trip to Paris for two months.  Needless to say, April and May have been very busy.  Here are just a few of my favorites memories from my trip:

Musee Marmottan - an amazing collection of impressionist paintings in a beautiful historic home that, interestingly enough, can be rented for events

The delicious and visually stunning Une Dimanche a Paris, Pierre Cluizel’s chocolaterie and some goodies I bought for myself.  I was completely enamored by the chocolate dipped clementine confit.  Amazing!  Love the design, love the chocolate, love the packaging!

The chandelier in our hotel lobby, the Christian Lacroix designed Hotel Bellechasse

Even something as common as a drain pipe is a piece of art in Paris

A beautiful idea for DIY floral decor spotted in a shop window

Spring's floral bounty overflows at a local fleuriste

The last night in Paris, we had dinner at L’Absinthe, one of Michel Rostang’s restaurants.  It was simple, intimate, delicious and delightful.  I definitely plan to attempt to recreate at least one item from my dinner – the Chartreuse mojito.  Haven’t found a recipe yet, so let me know if you have any suggestions.

Lots of good food, shopping, walking and fabulousness, and, as usual, I’m ready to go back for more.

All photos by me.