It's Time to Believe in the Filling Grazing Table
Sometimes, in this line of work, you have to get pretty creative. Clients present you with complicated problems to solve, or difficult parameters to try and fulfill. And even when you find a solution to what they’re asking for, they may not love what you come up with right away. Like serving pinwheels and pretzels at a wedding shower (more on that in a minute). And sure, sometimes it can be a tough sell and a little extra work, but it’s also part of what makes the job worth coming in for.
Not too long ago, I got a call from a woman with an interesting challenge. She wanted me to come to her home and do a mixed-company wedding shower event for a friend of hers. She had hired a band, and wanted heavy apps at the house. That’s not the challenging part, but we’re getting to that.
Her first request was that the party be pretty casual, because the girl she was throwing the party for was a personal trainer. I wasn’t entirely sure what that meant, but I ran with it.
Her second request was to not have a buffet meal, because it was a party and people would be milling around the whole time. The goal was having fun, and she thought a plated meal was too formal. The problem was that this casual, non-buffet party was at 6 pm….dinner time.
Like I said, it was an interesting challenge. But that’s part of the job. I told her we could do a beautiful event where people could drink and have a good time, but could also get their bellies full. The food wouldn’t get cold and the guests could “graze” when they wanted to. One thing we had to consider was that people usually eat later when booze is involved because the food absorbs the alcohol.
So, with all of that in mind, this is how the menu went:
- Sweet Heat Chicken Wrapped Pinwheels (My kids eat this sauce. SO good on a Chicken Finger, but we also wrap it up sometimes and make Pinwheels out of it)
- Spinach Artichoke Dip with toasted homemade sourdough and pretzel dipping chips
- Antipasto Skewers (olives,tortellini, grape tomatoes, salami, mozzarella, fresh basil )
- Small grazing table (Fresh Fruit, Cured meat, Sweet Treats ,Crackers, Hummus) you will LOVE
I honestly think she was a little skeptical about the menu. Pinwheels and pretzels at a wedding shower? But I asked her to trust me through the process, and reassured her that the event would be amazing.
Let me also point out that the home was absolutely beautiful. It had a stunning view of the private country club where if the golfer was bad enough, you could get absolutely get hit lounging in the pool (or the hot tub right next to it) if you weren’t paying attention.
The house was decorated to the nines, and the giant dining room table looked phenomenal. The kitchen would have made Martha Stewart smile. The landscaping looked like something from Augusta National in the 2nd week of April.
All that being said, it looked exactly like it needed to. It wasn’t that way by accident.
Here’s something you should always remember: people eat with their eyes before they eat with their mouth. And looking at that grazing table, I think people were eating quite a lot already.
But what exactly does that mean?
When you look at a spread, and the sight of the food in front of you takes your breath away, the food will taste better. And when the host gives me their vision of what they want, it’s up to me to make all of that happen WITH amazing food.
It’s my job to create something that the host can stick their chest out about. I want to serve food so delicious-looking AND tasting that the guests will marvel at when they see it, and close their eyes with pleasure at when they consume it.
Making food look good and taste good is no easy task… but if were easy, it would be cheap, and it’s not cheap!
Overall this meal was a HUGE hit. Everyone loved the taste and the presentation, as you can see, was second to none.
Challenges don’t have to be stumbling blocks to what you or your clients want to do. If you’re willing to put in the time and think outside of the box a little bit, everyone can get what they want, even if they didn’t know they wanted it! Like having the finger food at your wedding shower be the highlight of everyone’s night.
- Thomas Cox