How to Create an Event Menu That WOWS

- An Interview With Executive Chef, Kevin Marsland -


At Capers, we are dedicated to creating menus that WOW—from taste and texture to vibrant colors and artful presentation to the complete food experience. Our secret? Hitting that WOW factor is a collaborative effort with you. We asked our incredible Executive Chef, Kevin Marsland, to explain—below, he offers his top three tips to help you kickstart your menu’s WOW factor and create a dining event your guests will never forget.


1. MAKE IT PERSONAL

The most important advice I give clients: the food at your celebration should be about you. This doesn’t just mean choose dishes you like, it means, think back to food rituals or special dining moments you (or your family or your company) have had at any point—even if they seem small.

One bride and groom had a weekly tradition of making each other spaghetti and meatballs, so we created a spaghetti-and-meatball hors d’oeuvre—which was such a big hit, it’s now on our permanent menu. Maybe your family always went out for ice cream together—you might choose one of our popular ice cream and gelato desserts or we can customize one to further reflect your personality and traditions. Let’s say a company treats its employees to weekly Fiesta Friday lunches—for them, I might suggest an elevated Mexican food experience, starting with dishes they regularly enjoy as a team, adding a unique twist, and taking them up a notch. These moments in your life may not seem so significant until you look back and realize how pivotal each food experience is to your memories. Once you can tell us the foods that have been special to you, we’re on the road to creating a personalized menu your entire party will remember.



2. FUSE CULTURAL FOODS

One great way to personalize your event: reflect your family heritage in the dishes you choose. Whether you want to represent one ethnicity or fuse multiple cultures (always a fun choice for couples getting married), I love helping clients customize a menu showcasing their nationalities. At Capers, we’ve developed a menu that’s truly global, and take pride in the fact that our ethnic foods taste authentic and will remind any native of home. (That said, I’m always aware of the flavors a party might be accustomed to eating, and will tone down—for example—extreme spice for a particular crowd as needed.)


Some regions have dishes whose flavors complement each other beautifully and could potentially be fused into a new dish. For ethnic fare that doesn’t pair quite as well, separate food stations offering each different region of dishes works perfectly. When selecting hors d’oeuvres, I might also encourage you to pick two or three options from each country, and then add in a local favorite like a lobster roll. It’s all about striking just the right balance between a blend of cultural foods to perfectly represent you.




3. CONSIDER THE COMPLETE EXPERIENCE

When you make your menu selections and ask for recommendations to round out or supplement the menu, I’m not only thinking about flavor. I’m thinking about texture, taste experience, color, and the overall presentation of foods. Do your choices offer guests a spectrum of textures and taste experiences—crunchy, soft, chewy, airy? If you’ve selected all round, flat, brownish hors d’oeuvres, I’ll recommend changing a few for a more dynamic look. I want to see colors that pop and complement your event palette as well as who you are. Overall—the more information you can provide to us about the food experiences that have shaped your life, your personality, and your specific likes and dislikes, the faster my team and I can create the custom menu that will knock your socks off—and leave your guests talking about your event’s food for years to come.

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