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Calgary Catering Trends and Flavours for 2021

I always look forward to the annual lists that predict catering tends and flavours for the upcoming year.  Calgary has a diverse population and a fantastic supply of specialty food products.  Even 10 years ago on our annual family winter get away to Bucerais I would return home with my bag over weight as I had stuffed it full of all those hard to find specialty food items.  Today we have several Latin American food markets in Calgary and when I travel to Mexico I no longer need to stock up as just about everything is available here.  Tomatillos, Inca Cola, cajeta, corn tortillas, dried chillies, I can go on and on…..Everything is available here including epazote.  We also have a plethora of Asian and South Asian shops, it makes cooking and catering so much fun with so many possibilities.

As a Calgary Catering Company it is always such a pleasure dealing with our clients to build unique, fun and interesting menus.  Never before have we had so much availability, I love it when a Calgary bride asks” can you get…..?”, almost always I can say yes.

So back to my original title, what are the new flavour / catering trends being predicted for this year?

  1.  Comfort Food:  After a long, long lockup people are seeking comfort food, its calming.
  2. International Flavours: While we are at home we are trying more and more international cuisines.  Korean is still huge, Israeli and Thai are hugely popular.  Calgary catering clients are enquiring about ethnic touches for their catered events, whether it’s incorporating these flavours in appetizers or late night snacks.
  3. Vegan / Vegetarian:  The vegan lifestyle continues to grow and be widely popular.  People really care about what they eat, where it’s made and how’s it made.  Vegan cheese is now everywhere in Calgary, it’s never been easier for a Calgary Catering company to provide this for their clients.
  4. Faux Protein:  Even though we are in the heart of Alberta Beef country ( best beef anywhere ), people and our Calgary catering clients are looking for alternative options.  These options are plentiful and widely available, it’s never been easier for our Calgary catering company to be able to source faux protein products.

Next Blog, we will dive right into flavours and how you can use them at home and how I can use them as a Calgary Catering Company.

 

Calgary Catering – Covid Catering Part 2

Today is the anniversary of the first Covid 19 case in Canada. Hard to believe that it has been a year, it feels like a life time ago….
Last year on this date we were in Thailand on our annual hiatus. We were busy eating amazing food, taking cooking classes, enjoying the amazing markets and abundant fresh seafood. We had no idea that once we returned a pandemic would be declared and our business would be shut down due to government regulations.  Within a week our entire season of Calgary weddings and events would be cancelled.  Wow, it was heartbreaking for us and I know it was heartbreaking for many Calgary catering companies.  Unfortunately many have not been able to survive this pandemic.  We are somewhat of a seasonal business, as most weddings and events take place in the Spring, Summer and Fall and of course the busy Holiday Season.  With our cold Calgary winters, many catering companies see a big slow down during the winter months and we need our busy Calgary event and wedding season to make it through the slow times. What did we do to survive the first year of the pandemic as a Calgary Catering Company?  We decided that takeaway meals and curb site pickup and deliveries didn’t work with our business model and logistical limitations. So, we pivoted back to our former roots as a film production catering company.  The above photo is us catering a Subaru commercial at Fortress Mountain on a beautiful December day. We were fortunate to have many film production catering opportunities in 2020 including the ever popular CBC family drama Heartland. As we anxiously await the return of catering in Calgary for events and weddings we will be on set. Next up is one of those beautiful Travel Alberta commercials, we will also be waiting for life to sort of return to normal, we miss our clients, we miss our Calgary wedding couples and their families, we miss the fun events in our community.

Calgary Covid Catering

It certainly has been an adventure, returning to work as a catering company during a pandemic has been full of challenges. We have had to change almost everything about how we work, except of course our delicious food…..
Buffets as we know them are not permitted, family style is not permitted so we are seeing a lot of plated receptions, will this be the new normal?
Newly engaged couples are anxious to start planning for their receptions next year, they are asking a lot of questions….
Many of these questions we are unable to answer. What will the new regulations look like? What will happen with our food supply? Will the food pricing continue to rise?
What we do know is that the safety of our team and our guests is of the utmost importance.
Can we celebrate safely? YES we can! We follow and monitor all Alberta Health Services protocols and recommendations. It has been a challenge that we are ready for, new ways of doing things and new ways of thinking. We love our team and our clients and will ensure all measures are taken for everyone!
This is the time to think outside of the box, we are working with our clients to customize their events, customize their service requirements and customize their menus. We understand the importance of working within budgets now more than ever.
So, lets move forward and plan for next year because we all need to celebrate.

2020 Food Trends

This challenging time allows us all to take time to research and read….

With everything that’s going on I thought it would be a fun distraction to look forward to new and changing ideas for the food industry.  Some of these ideas have been around for a while others are taking the lead.

  1.  Food is more important at an event than ever before, our love of instagram has made food one of the most photographed components of any gathering.
  2. Vegetable forward menus, specifically beans, grains and seeds.
  3. Food waste is an ever increasing conversation that food professionals are engaging in.  Composting / donating give us a false sense of purpose.  We must reduce the waste at the source by not creating it in the first place.  We can do this by strong client communication, menu planning and efficient production.
  4. Family style service, increases interaction amongst guests.  It creates communal energy and a sense of sharing.
  5. Food stations that create movement in a room and encourages guests to experiment with a variety of foods.
  6. GRAZING BOARDS……I don’t need to say anything more about this wildly popular trend.

Who dosesn’t love latkes?

These delicious potato pancakes are a breeze to make:

8 x russet potatoes, peeled and grated.  Soak in cold water once grated to soak out the starch

2 x grated white onions

2 x eggs beaten

1/4 cup all purpose flour

1 plus teaspoon of kosher salt

1 plus teaspoon of black pepper

1 x cup canola oil

Method:  Squeeze out the potatoes, making sure the are dry.  Add all ingredients except the oil and mix well.  Heat oil in frying pan until hot, spoon out approximately 1/2 cup of mixture for each pancake.  Fry both sides until golden brown, drain on a paper towel.  I like to top mine with sour cream and roe.

 

Planning Your Perfect Wedding Menu

1. Pick and stick to a catering budget.
When planning a menu and choosing a service style be upfront about your budget. A great caterer will work with you to find a menu that meets your need while ensuring your guest’s satisfaction. We offer a variety of service styles from multi course plated meals to passed hor d’oeuvres, action stations and everything between.

2. Make it personal.
Favourite meal? Family tradition? First date meal?
We love to work with our couples to create a menu that encompasses special memories.

3. Think Seasonal
At Rusty Spur Catering we we handcraft everything from scratch. Our chefs use only the finest local and seasonal ingredients to make dishes that are delicious and flavourful. Talk to your caterer about what will be in season on your reception date.

2019 Catering / Food Trends

It’s always fun in the New Year to read all the blogs and reports about trends in the upcoming year. Here is our take:

  1.  Plant based foods!  Vegan menus are becoming increasingly popular, people are more health conscious than ever and there is real concern about the environmental impact of traditional protein based diets.
  2. Zero to low food waste kitchens.  Sustainability and local are expected.  Biodegradable disposables are a must.  Real policy in regards to composting, recycling , reducing waste and using non harmful cleaning products.
  3. Streetfood inspired menus, food trucks and trailers providing everything from late night snacks, desserts to full bar set ups.
  4. Big flavours ( think gochujang ), kicked up classic/ comfort food.  Fried chicken, escargot  and deviled eggs to name a few.
  5. Cooking and baking with cannabis, CBD infused beverages and cocktails.
  6. True and authentic hospitality.  Accountability to companies to insure that staff are working in a safe environment, are well treated and paid fairly.
  7. People’s love of minis will continue for both savoury and sweets.  We also see the continued interest in catering options that are not the traditional buffet dinner.

Calgary Wedding Catering – Questions to ask your caterer when planning your wedding reception menu

Calgary Wedding Catering

Calgary wedding catering is a big part of our business, at Rusty Spur Catering we want to ensure your guests are well cared for and that they rave about their meal and experience.

 DIETARY RESTRICTIONS:  As Calgary caterers today more than ever our job is to ensure that our meals are enjoyed by all guests.  We need to practice extreme safe food handling to avoid cross contamination for the safety of guests with special dietary restrictions.  We are hear to help you plan your reception menu, and focus on the needs of your guests.  We are happy to provide vegetarian, vegan, gluten /dairy free and Halal alternatives as required.  If your caterer is unable or unwilling to accommodate these concerns you may want to reach out to another company who can.

2.  WHERE / WHEN IS THE FOOD PREPARED:  Unlike most catering companies at Rusty SpurCatering all your food is prepared just prior to service onsite at your venue in one of our mobile commercial catering kitchens.  It is not prepared in advance at a commissary kitchen hours before service and held in a hot box.  If food is a priority to you, this is a very important question for you to ask as food rapidly loses quality as it sits.  We arrive at your venue and start food preparation, we are fully self contained.

3.  WHERE IS THE FOOD FROM:  Ask your local Calgary catering company where do they source their food?  Is the produce fresh, local and seasonal or is it frozen?  Are they using AAA Canadian meat?  Are their dressings, sauces and appetizers made in house or are they bought / frozen?  Ask if they use real butter and good quality olive oil, most use margarine and GMO oils.  At Rusty Spur Catering everything is made fresh in house including all of our pickles, BBQ sauce and even our ketchup.  These details are extremely important to the quality of the meal.  The quality of ingredients used factors into the price of the meal, cheapest is not the best if quality and source are important to you.

4.  CAN WE INCLUDE OUR FAVOURITE / SPECIAL FAMILY MENU ITEM:  Absolutely! We work closely with our clients to personalize their reception menu.  The significance of hosting your first meal as a married couple is important to us, we are honoured to have been chosen.  We are delighted to share this occasion with you by incorporating special foods and traditions to share with your family and friends.

5.  WHAT IS THE BEST SERVING STYLE FOR OUR RECEPTION:  There are pros and cons to all service styles and options.  By working closely with your caterer we can carefully work out the service style based on the type of food selected, the venue and catering budget that best suits your personal style.

Questions or concerns about these questions?  Please give us a call at 403.813.5025.  Our greatest pleasure is to help you through this exciting process.

 

Calgary Wedding and Event Catering – Rusty Spur Catering

Choosing your Calgary catering company  for your special day can be overwhelming .  At Rusty Spur Catering we understand how difficult this decision can be, we want to offer some helpful suggestions based on our experiences to help the decision be less stressful.  For service catering service in Calgary and the surrounding area please give us a call at 403.813.5025

  1.  Choose a menu that reflects your tastes, however always keep your guests in mind.  It’s your first time hosting as a married couple and you want your guests to enjoy their meal.
  2. Ask about a tasting.  Most caterers will do their best to accommodate one after a deposit has been made.  Some are no cost and others will deduct the cost from the final catering invoice.
  3. Ask your caterer for the recommended amount of hor’s doevures for the cocktail hour.  They have the experience and know how to plan accordingly.
  4. Try to offer options for your guests with dietary restrictions, for example vegetarian, vegan and gluten free.  Most caterers are happy to accommodate with proper advanced notice.
  5. Decide on a service style, buffet, plated or family style.
  6. Have an appointed person to liaison with the on site catering team, to ensure that the time line for serving, clearing are met.
  7. If choosing a plated dinner service, have guests indicate their menu selection on the RSVP.  By doing so you can provide accurate counts, eliminating unnecessary expense and food waste.
  8. Have a menu card at each table so that your guests can see the menu and alert the catering staff of any food allergies.