Coming from a catering background as a chef, owner and catering manager….
Building reception menus with clients can be extremely frustrating…. Not because of the clients, but often because of some catering sales managers
Sometimes it’s their inexperience and others because they are stuck in the ‘that’s the way we always do it’ rut…
The present the client with a catering package and begin the process of picking items for the reception – top to bottom… butlered hors d’oeuvres, stations, 1st course, entrée, dessert/ wedding cake….
My suggestion – work BACKWARD….
Selecting two strong, balanced entrees – complimentary side dishes, and possibly a vegetarian option is always the hardest part!
Not because they aren’t interesting, well presented or tasty – but because you have to find two things that EVERYONE (ok, nearly everyone will like)
Starting there will allow you to pick two successful – middle of the road- generally likeable selection…. And not find out later that you replicated the items time and time again in your other selection.
Like you picked stuffed mushrooms and a hors d’oeuvre, mushroom risotto as a station, a salad with mushrooms and a mushroom demi – OH DID WE?
Working backward from those well thought entrees keeps you from reusing those items over and over and offers you more variety in your first course and cocktail reception foods