Posted August 29, 2005, 12:00 AM EDT
We asked three caterers to cook up a menu for three different types of events. Here are the results.
An Atypical Breakfast for a Financial Firm
The Caterer: Ro Howe is the chef and owner of Barraud Caterers.
The Story: “Breakfast is quite a challenge,” Howe says. “You cannot throw foie gras at the stomach first thing in the morning.” For our fictitious financial group, Howe assembled a menu that was upscale but not overly adventurous, with obvious breakfast components like fruits, eggs, and breads, dressed up in dishes that are both familiar and unusual. For instance, oranges translate here to not only gelatin made with fresh juice, but also orange slices dusted with sugar and torched, which adds a slightly caramelized taste to a Muscat wine-sweetened French toast. “It has to be something soothing, yet delightful,” she says. “Breakfast food has to be very simple, and at the same time it can still be very interesting.”
Vanilla bean and coconut yogurts with .phpberry and orange gelées
Muscat French toast with almond mascarpone and orange slices
Smoked salmon and quail eggs with whipped cream and herbed brioche
Rum pancakes with ricotta mousse and plum jam
Hearty Pre-Screening Hors d’Oeuvres
The Caterer: Scott Fagan is the chef and co-owner of Eric Scott Celebrations & Events.
The Story: Fagan’s challenge was to keep guests satisfied through a two-hour screening. “These hors d’oeuvres will get guests through the film and hold their appetite,” he says. He came up with hearty offerings that also play up unusual combinations. “I like food with color, texture—it catches your eye and makes you wonder what it is,” he says. “When you taste it you recognize the flavors, and yet there’s something there that you’re not quite sure of.” To that end, traditional blini get ground wasabi peas in the batter to give the little pancakes a kick of curious flavor. Empanadas satisfy the appetite—the beef is permeated with a Chinese five-spice powder and topped with plantains, a Caribbean accent.
Thai curry shrimp and papaya with pepper guava sauce in lettuce leaves
Arugula-stuffed melon and prosciutto
Sesame seared tuna on green pea wasabi blini with fennel cream
Five-spice beef empanada with plantain and scallion
Carolina-style pulled pork on mini buns with black grapes
A Beauty-Conscious Fashion Industry Dinner
The Caterer: Laurence Craig is the owner of Laurence Craig Catering.
The Story: Craig decided to give fashion types a feast for the eyes (and skin, and hair) with a bevy of ingredients known for their beautifying properties. Almonds, avocado, ginger, and pineapple have been incorporated into this healthy meal presented as a series of small plates. “When designing a menu like this, you set the whole theme with the visuals,” he says. “I try to elevate the menu to an artistic level.” Craig complemented the health-minded ingredients with foods thought to be aphrodisiacs—oysters and chocolate—and items with sensual qualities, like lobster, with its silky, luxurious texture. “Aside from the chemical properties of the food, it’s the color, the texture, it’s another element—a visual aphrodisiac. You awaken all the senses.”
Rhubarb and peach infused champagne
Belon oyster and white truffle sake cups
Pistachio-crusted tiger prawns with pineapple syrup
Roasted Maine lobster with vanilla and white.phparagus with opal basil and almond oil
Moroccan capon roulade with lavender and honey, and micro herb salad
Avocado summer roll
Tiny chocolate pot au crème with .phpberries and caramel
Ginger ice cream