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Friday, November 5, 2010

Catering For A Fall Themed Wedding!

Fall is one of my favorite seasons!  Too bad it feels like it's almost over.  I just wanted to share some beautiful pictures from one of our Fall Themed wedding reception, that we catered on October 10, 2010.  Yep, 10/10/10.  The bride said that they came up with that date, so the groom could remember!  It was our pleasure to work with this young couple. 

This couple had a country wedding, and the groom took the time out to lay out brand new landscaping, for the ceremony area of the wedding.  It was so beautiful, and original!  And it made the ceremony that much more special.

They used bales of hay, and blankets, along with some white folding chairs, to create this beautiful fall space.  They also used lots of fall flowers and vegetables, for table centerpieces, and decor of the ceremony space.
We tried to blend the colors and decoration pieces on the food tables to resemble the tone and color scheme that the bride chose.  She had various shades of rust, copper, orange, gold, and tan.  We jazzed up our food tables with some of the same colors to make the overall look cohesive.

They had a cocktail hour, before dinner, where we served Curried Butternut Squash & Pear Soup Shooters.  We also had a duo of Honey BBQ & Spicy Marinara Meatballs.  And to top if all off, we had Turkey & Provolone Deli Pinwheels. 

We continued the fall themed colors and decor over to the dinner buffet tables.  We offered Spinach & Feta Stuffed Chicken Breast, wrapped in bacon, with an apple cider gravy on the side.

The other entree was Prime Rib with Au Jus, cooked to desired temp.  The side dishes were Artichoke Potato Au Gratin and Carrot & Asparagus Bundles. 
We also made sure that once the dinner started, and the sun went down, that everyone would be able to see what they were eating.
   So we made sure that there was lighting on the tables, and up-lighting behind the food tables.  It created a beautiful ambiance for a luckily warm "Indian Summer" night.  

The bride created her own wedding cake, which was still fall themed, and 3 different flavors.  She creates beauties like this one, everyday, at "Short North Piece of Cake".  
It was a wonderful night.  I couldn't have been any more perfect.  We were all worried that it would be windy and cold, since that had been the trend in weather.  But they got really lucky, to pick the one Sunday of the month, where it was beautiful sun, warm temperatures, and no wind!  That should be a sign of great things to come for their marriage!  Congratulations Mr. & Mrs. Flowers!  It was our pleasure to be the Columbus catering company, that they chose to share their special day!

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Monday, October 4, 2010

First Steps To Choosing the Best Caterer

The food is one of the most important parts of your event planning.  Food transcends, and is a part of the lasting memories in our lives.  We tend to include food, in the special moments of our lives, so when you start to look for a caterer for your event, keep the importance of the food, in your mind.  Before you start contacting caterers for your events, there are a few things, that you should think about and decide on, so that the caterer can give you as much accurate, relevant information as possible.  It's somewhat redundant to ask for pricing information, before you've thought about what you want first.  So to make the most out of your time, take a moment to decide on some key components of your event menu.

The first thing you should establish, is the venue where you will have your event.  This should be picked
out first, because it will determine how much research you need to do, to find a caterer.  Some venues
have in-house catering, that you must use, to rent the venue.  If you know that you want to pick your
caterer, then this will be a key factor in picking your venue.  Once you have your venue picked out, and
are sure that you can bring in an outside caterer, now your caterer search can begin.

The best placed to start, would be to ask family and friends for catering referrals.  If someone you know
has had a great experience with a caterer, why not try them first.  Whether you go with a referral or
start from scratch, you'll need to have a basic idea of what you'd like from the caterer, before you
request a caterer quote.

1.  You need to have an estimated guest count.
Most caterers will price the menu, by a per person rate.  Also, having an approximate guest count will
help you set a budget for your food.  The more guests you have, the more carefully you need to create
your menu, to consider cost.  Small changes will greatly effect your total price, because of the large
guest count.

2.  You need to have a realistic understanding of pricing.
Before you set your price per person, please make sure that you consider everything that you are paying
for, in hiring a caterer.  Realistic pricing, for a caterer, is nothing like the cost of the food you buy
for your home, or even at a restaurant, for that matter.  Take a moment to think about a few things. 

*What you pay, for your home food bill, is for food at it's basic stage - not prepared or served.  So it
  would be obviously lower in total dollars spent.

We can take it a step further, and think about what we pay for a fast food combo meal, these days.  They
run, on average, $5-$8 per meal.  That meal usually consists of a sandwich, fries, and a drink.  There's
some variation, but for the most part, it's quick easy foods.  Mass productions of what we would quickly
make at home, for ourselves.  Now apply that thought, to how much your budget for a caterer will be. 

*I know times are tough, but to put your menu budget at $5-$8 per person is not realistic, if your trying to
  give your guests a full sized dinner entree and 2 side dishes, of a memorable gourmet meal, above the
  comparison to a fast food combo meal!

Now, if your budget is tight, that's okay.  You just have to rethink what your menu offerings will be. 
You may not be able to go for the full dinner, that you originally wanted.  Instead, try to stretch your
per person rate with appetizers/finger foods, and go for a cocktail reception, instead of a full dinner. 
Your guests can still get a variety of foods to eat, but your not breaking your budget with a full meal. 

*Get smaller quantities of different appetizers, to offer variety.  But unveil different appetizers through
  the night to stretch them.

When establishing your per person budget, consider what else you are receiving, from hiring a caterer, VS. not. 
Your time and energy can be focused on enjoying the day.  If you don't have a planner, coordinating your wedding day, hiring a caterer will at least allow for more time for other things.  You are paying, in essence, for your time.  Time that would be spent on buying the necessary food items and supplies, time spent preparing the foods, and the time out of your wedding day to set up, serve and replenish the food.  All this time is reclaimed, when you hire a catererWhat is that time worth to you?  It should be reflected in your per person budget!

3.  Know what type of menu is your 1st choice.I don't mean that you have to know what you want on the menu.  Just have a general idea of your
preference.  Are you having more of a cocktail hour reception, with appetizers only, being passed around?
Or would you rather have a more traditional dinner, with 2-3 entree choices, and multiple sides?  Whatever your preference is, it is vital information to have, before you start requesting quotes from a caterer.

****Rules of Thumb****
*The more information you can give the caterer, initially, the more accurate the quote will be, toward
  what you want.

*Try to have the venue picked out before looking for a caterer.  The venue choice may dictate who can
  provide the food.  Ask the venue about their catering policy.

*Make sure you know who will provide the place settings, linens, tables, etc.  You or the Caterer?  Get
  it in writing!

Good luck with your planning, and be creative!

Join me on Google Plus here: Jenine Blackwell

Monday, September 27, 2010

Best Sweetest Day Gift in Columbus

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Monday, August 30, 2010

Ohio State Buckeye Tailgating

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Columbus Caterer Celebrates National Peach Month!

August is National Peach Month!
Did you know it's National Peach Month!

August is the time to celebrate one of my favorite fruits, the peach!  There's something about this fuzzy fruit, that has always made it a favorite of mine.  Maybe it's how my mother used to call me a peach-fuzz monkey, when I was little.  Or told me that little peaches would grow...in my armpits....no less!  Fond childhood memories often have a tie with food.  So I'm always excited to celebrate peach month.  When the peaches are in season, and in abundance!  Check out how Taste Of The Best Catering celebrates the peach this month!  But first...some tips on how to find the best ones.

The History of the Peach
Since I love the peach so much, I thought I would dig up some history of this wonderful fruit.    The peach came from China, originally, and was regarded as a "Mystic Fruit".  It was supposed to bring luck, abundance and protection.  Because of it's ability to grow in eroded, grazing pastures, it then became regarded as a symbol of fertility and affection.  Once they were on the move around the world, many different strains became abundant.  The Native American were known to LOVE peaches.  They were found in many different tribal areas.  In this day an age, peaches can be grown in most climates.  So your chances of getting hold of some fresh ripe ones this month are very good.  Columbus has some great farms, that are overflowing right now! 

Clingstone Vs. Freestone - What's the Difference?
A Cling-stone Peach
Have you ever heard of these 2 versions?  I never had, even though I guess I knew there was a difference, just in trying to enjoy them.  Clingstone peaches are the "pain in the butt" ones, that never come clean from the pit.  Now I've stumbled onto this difference, just in trying to cut a peach for fruit salad.  These peaches are meant more for canning and baking purposes.  Basically, anything where a beautiful "CLEAN" slice of peach isn't necessary.  When your canning, and baking, the way the cut of fruit looks, isn't important.  There's nothing wrong with these peaches.  They do tend to be harder in texture, and not as juicy.  But they are still good.

The freestone peaches are my favorite, for obvious reasons.  Because the pit practically falls out of the peach for you.  No hassles, no ugly pieces, just yummy juicy sweet peach!  These are the best kind for eating fresh.  And if you have the chance to visit one of our awesome local farms in Columbus OH, then you're in for a treat!  One of my favorites is Lynd's Fruit Farm in Pataskala.  It's not too far, and easy to find.  GREAT prices, and they have farm fresh veggies, as well as fruit.  You can also pick your own.  Just look for good color on the peach, no obvious soft spots or bruises, and a great smell.  I'll write more on them at a later date.  Check them out!

A Special Catering Homage to the Peach!
 Okay, so I already said that I love peaches.  So, this month, we have some peach inspired menu items for everyone to enjoy.  We've created a special chilled soup, which is one of my favorites.  We just previewed it, at an VIP art gallery opening,  and it's been a hit!  It's called Chilled Curry Peach Soup Refresher.  We serve this as a bowl, cup, or our popular favorite, a appetizer shot!  It it yellow and white peaches, with curry, and a secret kick that makes it almost like a liquid peach cloud in your mouth!  Sounds good huh?  

 Then we have the peach bellini.  You know, champagne and anything is a pretty good combo!  A wonderful lite summer drink, that is great for brunch, a before dinner drink, or a nice lite offering to pair with appetizers.  It's highlighted with a fresh raspberry, and served ice cold.  And the flavor from using fresh peaches is outstanding.  This can also be done in a non-alchoholic version, with sparkling cider, or apple juice, which is great for a Sweet 16 party, or for non-drinkers.

My last favorite would of course be peach pie.  We will be highlighting a great recipe for that tomorrow, since it will be National Peach Pie Day!...I know....a little bit much...right?!?  But who can resist peach pie, made with fresh peaches, and some vanilla bean ice cream! YUMMY!

Check out our website for our catering menu selections.
If you would like to get pricing or order some of our delicious peach items for your next event contact us at 614-358-4559.  

Happy Peach Eating! 
Join me on Google Plus here: Jenine Blackwell

Monday, August 16, 2010

Columbus Caterer Favorite-RUM!!! It's National Rum Day!

Today is National Rum Day!  A great reason to enjoy this sugarcane based libation.

So the history of rum dates back to before Christopher Columbus brought sugar cane to the Caribbean.  Once it landed there, the fermenting process was applied to sugarcane liquid....and then you have RUM...named by the French.  It's true home now is found in the islands of the Caribbean, because it's one of their countries main exports.  National Rum Day falls on the last day of the sugarcane harvest on the islands.  In Barbados today, they will be having the "Mardi Gras of Rum' Celebration, in honor of this day.

As a Columbus catering company, we're always using flavored rums in our sauces, and marinades.  We even use it in our balsamic brown sugar peach marinade.  This is a marinade made for ripe peaches to then be grilled.  The rum adds a wonderful flavor to the peaches, and thickens with the balsamic vinegar, to make a wonderful sweet glaze on the grilled peaches.  This little gem works wonderfully  on top of vanilla ice cream, or surprisingly...pork chops!

And of course, there are the drinks that you can mix, with various rums.  Take a moment to enjoy National Rum Day today!   Pull together some friends, and hit your favorite local bar, for rum drink specials today...at happy hour.  Or stay home and be the bartender.  Here are some great rum drink recipes, from the leader in Fine Rum, Mount Gay Brand. 

Check out our Facebook Page, for more ideas on how to use Rum, to celebrate the National Holiday today!

And always check out our official Columbus Caterer website to see what new menu items we have added, as well as themed holiday specials.

Join me on Google Plus here: Jenine Blackwell