Art of Catering Food: Cracking the Salt Crust and the Next Big Fusion Trend

It’s like catering chefs have a sixth sense for buffet awareness. The second our lunch buffet was set up on the Grand Ballroom floor, every chef’s ears perked up. The immaculate setup drew contestants in our photography contest almost immediately, and kindly Ken Barrett and Linda West let attendees photograph the buffet setup for 10 minutes before mealtime. Since the buffet was filled with ideas for room-temperature meals, it could withstand the culinary paparazzi.



Before and after chefs photographed, they got a barrage of culinary education. Today we were stuffed full of info, from the ever-popular Plug and Produce Apps session — with 20 easy and amazing hors d’oeuvre ideas– to the session on pies from around the world.


Here were some of today’s highlights:

 1. Sponsor giveaways. Bamboo Studio and SternoCandleLamp drew attendee names for their selection of products– and attendees were psyched! There will be many more giveaways tomorrow, so this was just the first taste.


2. Chefhacks from Chef Adam Gooch, who taught cave cooking and techniques for organizing shipping processes. Colored totes, cave-style cooking on site with SternoCandleLamp, mashed potatoes in pastry bags and more to answer the demand “I Need That Now!” 

3. Pies! Chef Ken Barrett, who has been pumping up the jams in the kitchen, presented an excellent session on sweet and savory filled pastries.

4. Cracking the salt crusts. Cracking isn’t necessarily the best sound at an event, unless Andrew Spurgin and his acolytes are there. Spurgin presented an awe-inspiring class on salt-crust cooking, evoking soft applause from the audience as a salt-crusted fish was CRACKED open on stage. It was a fantastic presentation that applied just as well to a pineapple.

Salt crusted beet from @andrewspurgin

Salt crusted beet from @andrewspurgin


5. Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate — hooray! Robin Selden taught us the difference between Tuile and Hippenmasse, shaping chocolate desserts beautifully.

Chocolate desserts from Marcia Selden Catering

Chocolate desserts from Marcia Selden Catering


6. The next big fusion trend from chef Elgin Woodman alerted us that the next big fusion trend is probably coming from the Southern Hemisphere. THe pulled pork arepas were delicious, but when chef Angie from Catering by Design mentioned Siberian Nachos featuring wontons and caviar– I was intrigued. Also alluring: a plantain dumpling in cilantroconsommé, which is the Latin version of Matzoh ball soup apparently. 


Pulled pork arepas on EMI Yoshi plates

Pulled pork arepas on EMI Yoshi plates


And now we’re off for the biggest surprise of the day… the Culinary Concert party. Excited to see what the Feastivities and the JDK Group have put together in Catersource’s biggest-ever party on the East Coast. Follow along on social media tonight at #aocf13 or #CulinaryConcert or wait for next week’s Get Fresh E-newsletter for the full story.



Sponsored: Creative Recipe Ideas from Bush’s Best

Bush’s Best® has the right beans for all your catering needs. Whether you’re looking for ethnic inspired cuisine, meatless options or gluten-free dishes, the versatility of Bush’s Best® beans can work for your menu. More and more menus are including black bean burgers, bean salads, and other bean-based vegetarian or gluten-free items to satisfy growing consumer demand. Beans are the perfect choice for your pantry because they are a nutritious vegetable that can be served on their own as a side, can be part of expanding your breakfast menu or can be used in an entree. Best of all, Bush’s Best® beans are consumer’s preferred choice. Take a look at these ideas and discover new ways for beans to influence your menu.

BBQ Dinner Bites - Click Through for Recipe

BBQ Dinner Bites: Call them portable, dippable, or just down-right delectable, these panko-breaded bites of smashed Bush’s Best® Bean Pot Baked Beans mixed with shredded pork are perfect for lunch on the go and appetizers. Click through for recipe.

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Sponsored: Win Big from Cambro!

CCC2 web banner 806 x 140.83

Once again, Cambro connects with the catering community in a fun and exciting way!

The Caterer Challenge is a great opportunity for caterers to really share their stories of success with the peers in the industry. Simply put, caterers can enter by sharing what Cambro products have made their lives easier!

One grand prize winner will win $5,000 in Cambro products (list price) and three runner-ups will each receive $500 in Cambro products.

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Top 10 Reasons to Use Plasticware

This week we got in touch with Beau from Chef Rubber, who gave us the skinny on some fantastic plasticware products.

Top 10 Reasons to Use Plasticware

10. Sculptures: With the right amount of creativity and a couple of hot glue guns, plasticware can be used to create some amazing showpiece sculptures. Use the plasticware in your sculpture that is being used in your buffet to tie the sculpture in with your event.

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