6 Event Catering Trends Planners Need to Know

In the ever-evolving world of event catering, trends come and go. One week it's all about plant-based cuisine, the next it's sustainable seafood or Instagram-worthy mocktails. To get a grasp of what's hot and what's not, read on for a culinary lesson on the latest catering trends from Twickenham Stadium's renowned Executive Head Chef Thomas Rhodes, whose training includes stints with Gordon Ramsay Restaurants and Heston Blumenthal's The Fat Duck.

Zero-waste cooking:

In an industry notorious for wasteful practices, chefs and event planners are increasingly seeking ways to minimise food waste and maximise ingredient use. For the last six years Twickenham has operated a circular waste strategy, which aims to get the most out of every single ingredient - even the waste. Thomas explains: "Whether it's turning vegetable peels into seasoning or fermenting leftover produce to create new flavour profiles, or utilising whole carcasses, we're committed to reducing waste and making the most of what we have."

Embracing Seasonality and Sustainability

In an era where environmental consciousness is at an all-time high, event planners are increasingly seeking out event venues that prioritise seasonality and sustainability, opting for locally sourced and in-season produce to ensure freshness and minimise environmental impact.

"People don't want strawberries and cream in January," Thomas notes. "But equally, people don't want turkey and Brussels sprouts in the summer." From seasonal menu adaptations to incorporating plant-based desserts, Twickenham's culinary team is committed to reducing food waste and carbon emissions while prioritising taste and quality. This demand for sustainable, seasonal fare isn't just a passing fad - it's a reflection of a larger cultural shift towards more eco-conscious dining habits.

Commitment to Ethical Sourcing

The surge in demand for sustainable products dovetails with the trend of ethical sourcing. At Twickenham, Rhodes champions sustainable alternatives, such as chalk stream trout over salmon, and ensures that suppliers adhere to regenerative farming principles. For instance, the stadium's menu showcases bread crafted from 100% wild-farmed flour and mackerel sourced from a Cornwall-based company supporting local fishermen.

Exploring Fermentation

A movement towards fermentation and preservation has also taken root. "I'd urge event planners to be creative with menu planning and embrace innovative techniques like fermentation and preservation to add depth and complexity to dishes while reducing waste. Above all, be mindful of the broader implications of your food choices - both for your guests and for the planet."

Navigating Through Adaptability

Awareness surrounding supply chains surged during Covid as everyone was affected, notes Rhodes. While those obstacles have disappeared, others remain. For example, fluctuating weather conditions affect ingredient availability. "When faced with challenges, chefs need to be innovative and meeting planners need to be flexible with menu planning to ensure high standards are maintained."

Prioritising Flavour and Quality

For Rhodes, an unwavering trend is the pursuit of flavour and quality. "My tenure at establishments like The Fat Duck and Gordon Ramsay's Restaurants underscored the significance of flavour profiles, premium ingredients, and meticulous cooking techniques," he reflects. "These experiences have instilled in me a profound reverence for culinary excellence and an unwavering commitment to delivering the very best dishes."

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