Green Wedding Guide: Catering
How to Feed Your Guests Sustainably:
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!
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'
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.
BDP's Cedar Plank Grilled Ivory Char
Ivory Char (4 Servings)
- 4 ea char fillets (6 to 8oz)
- 2 ea cedar planks (soaked for at least 1 hour in water)
- 1 bunch rainbow chard (rough chopped)
- 1 tsp. canola oil
Place char fillets skin side down on cedar planks. Season with salt and place the planks fish side up on the grill. Allow fish to cook through without flipping. Heat medium sauce pan on medium high. Add canola oil to the plan to regain some heat. Add swiss chard and sauté for 5 minutes seasoning to taste.
- 2 tbsp. chopped parsley
- 2 tbsp. chopped cilantro
- 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup evo
- 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
- salt to taste
In a medium bowl combine all ingredients. Season to taste and serve at room temperature over fish.