The fast-paced race to climb to the top of each social media news feed is an ever-evolving competition in today’s world. As a challenge for all sectors, the catering industry is not alone in its battle to make the next ‘Instabait moment’. This goal has naturally affected the way our clients work with caterers to create unforgettable atmospheres, talking points, social interactions and abolve all, images. Ultimately, this year, an element of surprise in your event catering is pivotal in keeping your guests interested, taking photos, sharing excitement and pushing your social media presence up. Following Quintessentially’s Event Trends 2018 post, we are delving further into current food trends and have spoken out to our catering friends to see just how they are keeping on top of being the most exciting foodies out there this year.

Fluidity and Mobility

Ditch the dining tables and encourage your guests to move between food stalls to keep the energy flowing throughout your event. Not only does this open you up to serving a wide variety of cuisines via street food vans, but it also encourages a more relaxed approach to dining. Often events are expected to whip out the dining tables for 3 course meals, but your guests are guaranteed to appreciate this change in style.

In Rocket’s experience, these stalls also present the opportunity to be creative and innovative. This year, they are concentrating on constructing fun stations such as jamonistas, salmon carving and churros bars. Most excitingly (we think), 2018 is going to see Rocket building Taco and Tequila stalls…what more could you want?

12Image Source: Quintessentially event 2017

Backdrop to Make Your Jaw Drop

In our image-led society it is crucial that there is an element of ‘share-ability’ within your event production. ‘Instagrammable moments’ can be created in multiple ways, for example Rocket believe that giving your food an extra oomph can be obtained through aesthetic genius and dramatic backdrops.

They have noticed that the creation of flower walls, textured murals, coppered seating and colour velvets as backdrops for the food display are on the rise this year. As previously predicted by the Quintessentially Events team, top caterers such as Jimmy Garcia have told us about the influx in doughnut wall requests. Instagram popular, interactive and aesthetically pleasing, these provide the perfect image to complete your catering display this year.

3Image Source: Quintessentially event 2017

Interaction Fascination

Doughnut murals aren’t the only talking points that Jimmy Garcia and his team are creating this year. When chatting to him about 2018 catering trends, Jimmy told us some of the ways that he utilises interaction to instil excitement and surprise. With everything from DIY cooking, interactive menus and central fire pits, Jimmy focusses on the social aspect of catering;

“[We] have a 6-course interactive BBQ menu where guests sit around custom made tables with a big green egg BBQ in the centre so that each bench has a live grill. We have just brought this back from Davos, and are even taking to the Cannes for MIPIM next month…it’s that memorable experience that involves guests in the food element of their event that offers a new angle for clients to engage with us, their guests and their surroundings!”

Interaction is certainly a great way to surprise your guests and maintain the momentum in your event. Whether it be having your guests cook, sculpt their own plates out of ice or mixing bespoke cocktails to suit their mood, encouraging socialising will ultimately lead to ‘talk-ability’, easier networking, newly formed relationships and therefore a memorable event.

4Image source: Jimmy Garcia, Southbank Grill

Everything is Not What It Seems

As well as the displays and the act of dining, let’s not forget that the food itself must contain that ‘wow-factor’. During our interview with Urban Caprice, we asked Tori how she and her team incorporate the element of surprise in their offering. Drawing on the tricks of Heston Blumenthal, Urban Caprice like to shock their guests by presenting dishes in which the ingredients are not as they seem. One of our favourite creations is their Burrata ‘Tomato’ with a tomato glaze, heritage tomatoes, lovage and basil dressing which is creatively designed to look like a tomato, disguising the rich and creamy burrata beneath – delicious!

5Image Source: Urban Caprice 2018

If you would like more information on how to incorporate these catering ideas into your events, please contact Toby Davis at toby@quintessentially.com.

With a huge thank you to our friends at Rocket, Jimmy Garcia and Urban Caprice for their insight into catering trends and ‘elements of surprise’ for 2018 that are featured in this article! A further big thank you to The Recipe and The Food Show LTD for sharing their thoughts and ideas with us which have not featured here, and for all of your continued support on our events.