Catering for vegetarians and vegans – it’s more than risotto!

According to recent statistics there is a dramatic increase for vegetarian and vegan food, with on-line orders increasing over 900% and over 40% of consumers including vegan foods in their shopping.

Vegetables in shopping basket - vegetarian and vegan

Apparently there are over twice as many women who are vegetarian than men and vegans and as well lifestyle products and services, vegans will often refer to themselves following a plant-based diet and I should know…. as I do exactly that!

In our experience, if you’re going to be catering for around 100 people at your wedding or event then there’s a very good chance you will have guests that are vegetarian or vegan. It’s certainly a dietary choice that is growing very quickly, especially when you consider ‘#MeatfreeMondays’ and ‘Veganuary’ as two good examples of social media frenzies!

Looking after your guests with dietary requirements

Many people we speak to about their catering and who aren’t vegetarian or vegan have concerns that their guests with dietary requirements will be well looked after and be offered something a little bit more inspiring than mushroom stroganoff or risotto followed by a bowl of fruit. If you want to see how uninspiring this can be at times, search for #fruitisnotapudding.

Furthermore, the level of service that guests with dietary requirements receive can waiver at the best of times. A key approach for us at Caviar & Chips is that every guest should feel as if they are being individually cared for as if they were in an excellent restaurant – personal service with nothing being too much trouble.

Table service catering

Who’s the veggie then?!

I’ve had so many experiences where I’ve been the guest and our table server has shouted “who’s the veggie then?!” I’ve also had more than one occasion (and on the same meal) where I’ve had plates of meat put in front of me having to explain that I don’t eat meat.

The food and drink scene is undoubtedly getting better and we’re really pleased to see a lot more variety out there for people, and here in the catering industry we’re keen to encourage even more progression.

A vegetarian wedding

We’ve had two really interesting discussions with clients recently that prompted this short article. We’re really excited to be catering for a full vegetarian wedding menu in Devon in a few weeks’ time and it was great fun working with the couple to create their menu. We discussed how their guests who aren’t vegetarian might feel and we agreed guests would be able to cope for one meal eating vegetarian, and who knows, even enjoy it! The wedding breakfast is also a reflection of their characters and relationship and how they enjoy their food together and so this was really important to them.

The main course for this wedding menu is a great example of bringing to life some really flavoursome food, beautifully presented and with substance to ensure guests also enjoy a filling meal. They had the tricky decision of choosing between these three main course dishes:

Baked Aubergine, Tomato & Mozzarella Pithivier

With roasted red pepper coulis & toasted pine nuts

Wild Mushroom, Roast Garlic & Spinach Pie

Topped with cheddar and sage mash

Individual Spanakopita – Spinach, Feta & Shallot Filo Tart

Spinach & mushroom pie vegetarian

Ideas for vegan ingredients and desserts

We’ve also been speaking to another couple who are vegan and follow a plant-based diet and we discussed some great ideas around their menu to show off the potential dishes that people can enjoy. We also talked about some of the ingredients that we’d replace – particularly in desserts, rather than using traditional dairy ingredients. It’s still possible to create deliciously moist sponge cakes and sticky pudding. We’re big fans of Oatly Barista and using cashew nuts for creamy, smooth vegan cheesecakes.

Vegan chocolate hazlenut cheesecake

There are so many things that you can serve your guests keeping to vegetarian or vegan diets. There are many other blogs, websites and Instagram pages with great ideas out there, so don’t let any guest be an afterthought and ensure that everyone can enjoy great food on your wedding day with plenty of flavour and substance!

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