Green Wedding Guide: Catering

How to Feed Your Guests Sustainably:

Catering

Photo taken at Loft on Lake.

Many factors determine the sustainability of your menu. Let these tips & ideas guide you as you build the menu for your event.

Eat with the season by using locally available produce. For example, FIG Catering knows everyone loves caprése skewers, but when local tomatoes aren’t available they offer a fall/winter version with apples from Ellis Family Farms. See their yummy recipe for Winter “Caprése” Skewers below.

Remember the meal's "food mile."  A food mile is the distance food travels from producer to consumer. To reduce your foods miles source foods from local producers. Elysia Root Cakes loves to use seasonal fruit in their cake fillings. Big Delicious Planet grows herbs and vegetables in their own garden right outside their kitchen - you can't get much closer than that!

Choose organic & sustainable when what you need isn't in season or you want items that aren’t grown locally. FIG Catering offers sustainable seafood options from the Monterrey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch list, like Wisconsin trout and char, wild salmon, and Laughing Bird shrimp.

Less is more. More food means more waste. Although you’ll want to offer a good selection to satisfy your guests, sticking with plated meals is guaranteed to create the least amount of waste. Compared to buffets, stations, or family style service, plated meals control portion size.

Skip the late-night snack. If you think most of your guests will pass on that snack, just put that money into your main meal, or choose packaged favors that guests can take with them, like ones from Katherine Anne Confections that are hand-made, local, organic and use tree-free paper!

More Sustainable Tips:

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Plated dish by Food for Thought Catering

Have it made in-house! Making food in-house reduces food miles and packaging. FIG Catering makes their breads and crackers in-house to ensure freshness and quality by using organic flour and reduce packaging Just think about how much plastic ensures crackers don’t crumble before they get to you.

Less Packaging = Savings. Packaging affects every business, but food businesses definitely use a lot of materials to store and transport food. Make sure your caterer is using reusable containers to bring the food into a venue, then washing them and bringing them back rather than using aluminum hotel pans or other things that get tossed at the end of the night.

Skip the meat! Consider having a predominantly vegetarian menu, like all-veggie appetizers which your vegetarians guests will appreciate. Vegetarian diets use less energy, water, and land space as compared to meat-based diets.

Eat meat smarter. But if you simply can’t imagine a menu without meat or have a gang of protesting relatives, consider smaller animals like chicken, duck, or pork. Feed conversion ratios (FCR) measure the amount of feed such as grain needed to create the equal amount of meat and are approximately 7:1 for beef, 5:1 for pork, and 2.5:1 for poultry. And of course, chicken doesn’t have to be boring.

Save the scraps! Hire a service like Collective Resource to reduce your event's overall impact by composting the food scraps. Food for Thought Catering composts all food and compostable product waste in their kitchen and at many events.

FIG Catering’s Winter “Caprese” Skewers

Winter-Caprese-Skewer

Makes 20 skewers, for passed appetizers

  • 1 large or 2 medium beets, roasted (can do a mix or red, yellow, and multi-colored)
  • 4 oz. fresh mozzarella
  • 2-4 crisp apples (Northern Spy or Granny Smith are great!)
  • 20 mint leaves
  • 1 oz. olive oil
  • 1 oz. balsamic, reduced
  • salt & pepper to taste

Coat beet(s) in olive oil, salt, and pepper; roast beets in a 400 degree oven until fork tender. Remove and cool. Once cooled peel and cut beets into ½” cubes, set aside. Cut mozzarella and apples in similarly sized pieces and set aside. Skewer 1 cube of each beet, mozzarella, and apple, add one mint leaf. Drizzle with balsamic reduction and salt & pepper.

FIG Catering’s Quinoa-Mushroom Loaf

This versatile dish makes four 4” patties that can be served on bread, as a vegetarian burger, or as a main course with caramelized onions and blue cheese. It can also be made vegan.

  • 2 cups quinoa, cooked
  • 1 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ cup garlic aioli or mayonnaise (can substitute vegan mayonnaise)
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1 Tbsp. pumpkin seeds, toasted
  • 1 Tbsp. hemp seeds, toasted
  • ½ cup brown rice flour
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 4 oz. Mindoro Danish blue cheese (optional)

In a medium sauté pan cook the onions, mushrooms and garlic until they are tender. Then combine everything into a large mixing bowl except for the flour. Mix together until all ingredients are incorporated. Then add your flour and stir until combined. Form into patties and sear in a skillet with olive oil. Once the patties are crusty and caramelized, place into a 350-degree oven and cook for 5-7 minutes until hot all of the way through (if topping with blue cheese, bake for 4 minutes then crumble 1 oz. of blue cheese on top to finish cooking).

Top either burger or entrée with caramelized onions for even more flavor!