SOMEONE'S IN THE KITCHEN
TARZANA, CALIF. www.sitk.com

MULTICULTURAL MENUS

“Capturing what the bride and groom really love and creating food that reflects their ethnicity is very big right now,” says owner Joann Roth-Oseary. At a recent wedding between an English bride and a Chinese groom, Someone's in the Kitchen paired fish and chips and mini Yorkshire puddings with one family's famed dim sum. “Sometimes we get a recipe from the grandmothers that we'll use,” Roth-Oseary says, “Or even let them come to our kitchen to cook an old family favorite.”

KID FOOD GROWS UP

Brides and grooms still clamor for their childhood favorites. Grownup takes from Someone's in the Kitchen's include house-made potato chips with poached bay scallops and buttermilk chervil sauce, pommes frites with garlic aioli served in mini-bamboo cones, lobster corn dogs, and macaroni and cheese spiked with lobster or prosciutto.

THE SWEETEST THING

Who says candy is just for kids? For Roth-Oseary's “3-dimensional candy stations,” drawstring bags take the place of plates at a candy-covered buffet featuring platters of house-made confections and containers of goodies for guests to scoop out candy shop-style. “We'll include just about any candy you can dream of,” she says. “The possibilities are endless.”

FINESSE CUISINE
CHICAGO www.finessecuisine.com

FOOD +

“We're seeing a deliberate selection of ingredients based on their nutritional value,” says owner Jon Wool. “Clients are asking for foods that have added benefits, such as those rich in omega-3s or antioxidants.”

RETRO ACTIVE

“With the popularity of shows such as ‘Mad Men,’ there's a definite sense of nostalgia, so we're seeing more retro-themed weddings,” Wool says. “From a presentation and service perspective, this means more research to ensure that each element is historically accurate — from the service staff's attire to the art deco champagne glasses, if that's what the time period calls for.”

EVERY PLATE TELLS A STORY

“People are eager to learn the story behind the food they're eating,” Wool says. To that end, Finesse is creating story cards for menu items that tell where the food is from, its cultural implications, how the dish is traditionally served, etc.

MELONS CATERING & EVENTS
SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO www.melonscatering.com

SPICE IS NICE

Unusual specialty spices such as Korean black garlic are making their way onto the menus at Melons Catering. “It provides an intense, sweet-savory dimension to foods,” says partner Sheldon Sloan. “We've even used it paired with chocolate in a dessert.” Another new favorite: Vadouvan, a French-inspired mix of curry powder, shallots and caramelized onion. “We use this spice to flavor oils for cooking meat and seafood,” he says.

FEASTIVITIES CATERING & EVENTS
PHILADELPHIA www.feastivitiescatering.com

LAZY SUSAN REVISITED

Feastivities has given this mid-century dining table staple a makeover for family-style dinners. Platters of food are placed on bountifully garnished, rotating platforms in the center of each table. Less service staff is required, and the Lazy Susan works double-duty as a centerpiece.

THE POWER OF SMELL

“Purposefully involving the sense of smell by enhancing the scent of the entree or even the room can heighten the pleasure of the diner's whole sensory experience,” says event producer Dan Hoch. Some aromatherapeutic suggestions: a smoldering sprig of rosemary in the entree or a pot of chocolate simmering in a hidden corner of the dessert table.

THE GREAT FOODSCAPE

“Buffets are traditionally a less expensive service option,” Hoch says. “Our ‘foodscapes’ — double-sided buffets that combine organic floral decor and natural elements such as slate and river rocks with a variety of the fresh cuisine — provide dramatic culinary and visual presentation. And we can deliver more bang for the buck.”