<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=1243382019128025&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1"> Blog | Menu Catering (5)


Carnival Themed Birthday Party!

Posted by John Lawrence on Thu, Sep 19, 2013

By Liz O’Neil ~ Senior Event Designer

At Pepper’s Fine Catering, we have the pleasure of continually developing custom, creative menus for our clients, as each and every event is unique.  Some of our parties have themes, and as true culinary artists, our Chefs have put together some terrific catering menus for such special events.

Keep in mind, just because a party has a theme, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to wear a costume (but that didn’t stop us, clown noses anyone?) Success can be achieved easily with some simple and tasteful themed décor, creative menu planning and some of our favorite catering recipes.

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Recently, we had a client who was throwing a Carnival Themed Birthday Party for her daughter’s 6th Birthday.

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Together with our Chefs and Style & Design department, we put together a fabulous event with fun décor that didn’t break the bank. The menu was simple and delicious, incorporating Carnival Themed Food with some heartier options to appease all palettes.

~Sweet Potato Fries and Seasoned Potato Fries in a Specialty Cone

~Pop Corn in Carnival Themed Boxes

~New England Clam Chowder

~Hot Dogs

~ Mac & Cheese

~Pulled Pork Sandwiches

~Murrays’ BBQ Chicken

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Remember, themes can come from anything—movies, culture, television, eras and trends. Just about anything that interests you or the guest of honor can make a great theme. So have fun and let Pepper’s help you plan a terrific themed catering menu for a memorable event.



Brush Embroidery Wedding Cake Design

Posted by John Lawrence on Tue, Sep 17, 2013

Brush Embroidery Wedding Cake

I started cake decorating using the technique of brush embroidery when it was coming into style. As with many techniques, it was very popular for a few years and then faded away. Imagine my surprise when a bride came to my tasting with a picture of a lovely embroidered cake. Hooray!

The technique is somewhat time consuming, as you can see by the pictures, but the end result is very delicate and duplicates the look of needlework, a favorite hobby of mine.

Brush embroidery cake

The flower is etched onto the cake using a paper pattern. I use a pin to outline the pattern. Royal icing is piped along the outline and pulled into the center with a damp paintbrush. If you want additional depth you let the first layer dry and repeat.

Brush embroidery cake

This cake incorporates the brush technique with copious, fun miniature butterflies in a swag pattern. The lavender shades really compliment the stark white of the fondant. The final result is a lovely elegantly designed cake.

Brush embroidery cake

To see more unique and creative cake designs check out our CakeART gallery page. 


BBQ Catering Ideas

Posted by John Lawrence on Thu, Apr 25, 2013

kaWith summer approaching, we are all excited for some outdoor fun.  BBQs are among many people’s favorite warm weather activity. When it comes to having a BBQ, the options are endless for creating a unique and memorable event. 

Start by choosing a menu that provides crowd-pleasing items. Rather than serving the traditional BBQ food we have all grown up with, give it a fun twist to make it original and stand out to your guests.  At Pepper’s catering, we have created a dip bar with house made chips including flavors of classic, ranch, curry, and brown sugar.  This range of flavor provides guests with traditional options as well as the chance to try something new.  Also becoming popular, are chef-active slider stations. These stations offer a variety of mini burgers such as black bean, turkey, and sirloin which are prepared by the chef in front of guests guaranteeing freshness and great taste.  Guests are welcomed to get involved by customizing their sliders with their favorite toppings.

At Pepper’s, we can customize items to meet your needs.  If you are looking to serve classic favorites at your BBQ, our menu can provide you with everything from pasta salads and veggies, to hot dogs and burgers. This type of menu serves as a good starting point and is flexible for interchanging items as you like. 

When it comes to drinks, hiring a bartender will allow you to enjoy your party and focus attention on your guests. Here are Pepper’s, we have all of the necessary equipment to set up a well-displayed and fully functional bar. You have the option to purchase your own sodas, beer, wine and alcohol, or our sales team is also happy to do the bar stocking for you.  We also offer delicious house-made lemonade and ice tea as non-alcoholic alternatives for adults and refreshing, healthy options for kids.

You’ll also want to think about where guests will sit. Providing some seating is a good option. A few high and low cocktail tables will promote mingling while still giving your guests a place to eat. If hot, sunny weather is expected it might be beneficial to rent a tent to escape the heat. Our Pepper’s sales team has relationships with many venders and we’re happy to coordinate any rental needs for your event.

Ready to get friends and family together for some fun this summer? Let us create a spectacular BBQ event that you and your family will remember! Contact Pepper’s.


Incorporating Food Stations at your Wedding!

Posted by John Lawrence on Thu, Apr 04, 2013

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When planning an event for soon-to-be-married couples, questions of unique wedding catering ideas arise.  A general concern is often “Should we have a sit down dinner, buffet, or food stations?” This is usually decided based upon each couple’s personalities, budget, and overall expectations of the event.  Food stations are a new and quickly-growing trend and they offer a fun, non- traditional approach.

Definite Pros

  • Love comfort food? How about trying a Mac N’ Cheese bar or grilling up some Mini Slider Burgers with Fries? Would prefer a more healthy approach? Try a Sushi Bar or Seasonal Kabobs with Grilled Vegetables and a Quinoa Salad. The options are ENDLESS!
  • It’s difficult to choose a meal that EVERYONE likes (or can eat due to allergies and intolerances), but by choosing food stations with multiple choices, no one will leave hungry.
  • Food stations can accommodate both the largest and smallest appetites at you wedding- allowing for some to take just a bit and some to come back for seconds or thirds without a problem.
  • Stations allow your guests to get up out of their seats and mingle with each other, even if they’ve never met!
  • Stations will “WOW” your guests with the opportunity to watch their meal being prepared and served right before their eyes. This ensures freshness & quality and will fill the room with wonderful aromas.

Possible Cons (and how to fix them!)

  • Depending on where you decide to put your stations, it can cause a bottle-neck which may minimize the time your guests have to eat and mingle. Focus on spreading out the stations and consider calling up one table at a time to ensure shorter and even no lines.                    
  • You have to ensure that each station has enough food to feed all of your guests and vendors (including those who will come back up for more) which makes portion control a bit tricky and can be a little more costly. Your catering sales representative will help you choose the correct portions and ensure that you won’t end up with too much or too little food.
  • Elderly guests may prefer to be seated during the wedding and not have to stand in lines and get their food. This problem can be resolved by asking a member of the wait staff to assist them.
  • You need to make sure that your venue of choice allows cooking indoors/in the room where your guests will be seated. This can be the deciding factor for some couples.

In the end, whatever option you choose to go with will be welcomed and appreciated by your guests. Just remember to enjoy your day and focus on what really matters- your significant other, family & friends celebrating a wonderful milestone in your life!

Graduation Party Planning

Posted by John Lawrence on Mon, Apr 01, 2013

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Graduation parties are a great way to celebrate a recent graduate’s achievements with friends and family, but planning the celebration on your own can prove difficult.  Depending on the size of your child’s graduating class, it’s likely that more than one person will be having their graduation party on the same day, causing lots of traffic to and from your home, which can dictate the type of party you’ll want to have to keep guests comfortable and entertained. Follow these tips for graduation planning and you’ll be sure to give your son or daughter another memorable senior year memory:

Aim for a casual get-together—Consider getting together with other parents and organizing a joint graduation party. This will save people the trouble of traveling to more than one party and also save you money!  By splitting the cost three or four ways, you might actually end up reducing expenses, and can often go bigger when it comes to food and/or entertainment choice.

If the party is being held outdoors, consider renting a tent.   The weather isn’t always going to cooperate, and large party tents are perfect for keeping your guests dry rather than going through the hassle of rescheduling.  Even if you end up with a beautiful day, a tent is the perfect supplier of shade to help you cool off and relax with friends.

When it comes to serving food, a buffet setup is usually the best way to feed a large group of people.  Work with your catering service to make sure you have a wide variety of foods suitable to your guests. Appetizer foods, such as salad and finger sandwiches are easy to eat on the run and not too filling so guests can keep coming back for more, or fill up on their way to another party.  Browse through some of Pepper’s graduation day menu ideas to get an idea of what Pepper’s can provide, or to gather inspiration for  a do-it-yourself party.

Be sure you’re fully stocked up on supplies like utensils, cups and plates.  An open-house party creates the kind of atmosphere where guests may put down a plate or cup they were using and forget to pick it up when they want a refill. Make sure your caterer has plenty of extra cups, plates, napkins etc. for all of your guests and then some.   

Add a little character to the festivities. Displaying school colors or incorporating the school mascot into the event design is a popular graduation party trend. If your graduate is heading off to college, why not tailor the catering menu to their school of choice?  For example if they are going to the University of New England in Maine, perhaps a New England clambake will help set the mood for celebration. Maryland? Crab cakes! With a little imagination, your graduation party can be unique and memorable.

Interested in hearing more of our graduation party ideas?  Contact Pepper’s to discuss with our staff. We would love to help you celebrate this significant stepping stone in your child’s life.



Warm Weather Menus: The Casual (or Elegant) Ease of BBQ Wedding Catering

Posted by John Lawrence on Thu, Feb 28, 2013

Casual Warm Weather Menus

wedding BBQHere in New England we don't have the longest summers, so we have to enjoy it while we can! Nothing says summer food quite like a barbecue - especially if your planning an outdoor wedding or special event. 

I know some of you may be thinking, “barbecue and my white dress?” But trust us. Barbecue wedding catering is making a big splash on the wedding scene. Whether couples are aiming for low-key, small celebrations or a big affair with all of your family and friends, our barbecue wedding menu is specially designed to please every palate and mark a very special occasion in scrumptious style.

When we say barbecue at Peppers,  we’re talking real barbecue—cooked low and slow to produce meats that are tender, succulent and bursting with flavor. And don’t forget the options for grilled seafood—all cooked using local and fresh ingredients. Do you envision the traditional New England clambake for over 200 of your closest friends? We can make it happen! Whether it’s buffet or sit-down, we ensure that each plate is carefully thought out and constructed to please the eye as much as the palate

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Our Pepper’s Event Designers are as much a part of the menu as the food itself, looking for ways to tie your wedding day inspirations into the presentation, with special touches like the addition of bales of hay around the buffet table at your barn wedding, or beautiful plaster starfish dispersed amongst the dishes at your seaside wedding.

The options for barbecue catering stretch as long as our imaginations (which at Pepper’s is pretty long!). If you’re planning an outdoor wedding, we encourage you to take contact us to see how we can help turn your special day into something truly extraordinary.

Reach out to Pepper’s to schedule a consultation with our Senior Event Designers. We would love to sit with you and discuss your special day. 

Contact Us

Fun Alternatives to a Traditional Wedding Cake

Posted by John Lawrence on Thu, Jul 19, 2012

By: Tori N

"Let them eat cake” is no longer something all brides must say! Although traditionalists may insist on a classic white, 3 tiered cake, many modern brides and grooms are turning to more unique catering ideas for their big day, including what they serve for dessert. 

When deciding what is right for your wedding reception, there are many factors you will want to consider, such as the formality of the event, your guest count, even the season, or the time of year.

Cupcakes arranged on tiers are a wonderful and fun option, especially for guests who may be too busy dancing to stop for a piece of cake. 

One of our favorite ideas was a fall wedding where the bride and groom cut a small ceremonial cake and had us serve the guests warm apple pie with homemade cinnamon scented ice-cream, using her grandmother’s blue ribbon recipe.  We also love tables of mini sweets and candy as an alternative to a traditional served wedding cake. 

No matter what you decide, just remember that dessert is everyone’s favorite part of the meal! 

Baking Love: What goes into a Pepper’s Wedding Cake

Posted by Susan Lawrence on Thu, Jan 26, 2012

According to our baker, Linda LaBarge, great wedding cakes are more than delicious flavors. It’s about injecting the style and personality of each couple into the cake design. Wedding cakes may be elegant and classic or whimsical, with personal touches or motifs—anyway you slice it, a wedding cake should convey something special.  

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Sometimes the design relates to the wedding party theme or décor, sometimes it speaks more about the personality of the couple and sometimes brides have other ideas which we incorporate into the design. For a recent cake creation, the bride requested that the cake (chocolate fudge layered with dark chocolate shavings and Graham cookie bites with marshmallow buttercream!) be a reflection of her wedding dress. Linda designed a cake full of cascading ruffles, bringing a softness and expression of tactile elegance.

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Baking and designing cakes has changed dramatically over the years Pepper’s has been in business. The level of design, complexity and materials available are staggering.  Today, cake is an artistic event and bridal couples have increasingly challenging requests and interests. 

“Each year as I look at the web, cake magazines, TV shows and wedding and dress style information, I find a new technique to explore or teach myself,” says Linda. “One year it was the use of color and color application, the next molding figures with rice krispie treats, and this year the use of fondant in a textural direction.  I have many interests and I try to extract from those applications for cake design.”

Linda recommends that brides come in with some designs of interest to jump-start the conversation. “Each couple has a different approach to their cake and I try to listen to discover and work with that interest.”  Together, they sketch out the final look which incorporates both the creative energy of the bride and groom and Linda herself, resulting in a breathtaking creation that tastes as stunning as it looks!


The Importance of a Wedding Tasting

Posted by Peppers Team on Fri, Apr 22, 2011


The Importance of a Wedding Tasting

Juggling all of the details involved with wedding planning can be difficult, to say the leaIMG_4635-2.jpgst, but one thing you should definitely make time for is a food tasting.  A wedding tasting is about the food, yes, but it’s also about building a comfortable relationship with your caterer.   

Wedding tastings are offered either in a group setting or private.  A formal “one-on-one” wedding tasting allows you to request specific foods versus tasting a choice of the most popular items offered which is typical for a group tastings. Group tastings can be more lively and provide the opportunities to meet other couples in a relaxed setting. Whether you go for the group tasting or private they both allow an opportunity to meet with the chef who can answer menu questions and/or provide recommendations to suit your needs.  Your event coordinator will also use this time to go over other important details with you, such as color schemes, linen and china choices, florals, and timeline execution to name a few.

Keep in mind that wedding tastings, whether formal or group, are usually scheduled after you’ve booked with a caterer/venue and your menu has already been established.   Tastings can be very labor intensive, not to mention the cost of food, so you will usually encounter a reasonable per person fee.  But don’t let that discourage you from scheduling a wedding tasting.  Food usually consumes the biggest percentage of your wedding budget.  Having peace of mind that you’re going to receive the freshest and most flavorful fare far outweighs the tasting fee.  Your wedding day is important, so you want to be confident that the food you are providing for your guests is top notch and memorable. 

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Helpful Tips for a Successful Tasting Event

  • Get the Details.  Not all tastings are free, so make sure to inquire about a cost when making an appointment.  Consider the needs of your guests – do any of them have special dietary needs or food allergies?    
  • Come prepared.  Bring a copy of your menu and other important details for discussion.  The more information you have available to you, the better you can make of your time.
  • Bring your fiancé along.  It’s your tastes that really matter so, if at all possible, you should both be part of the decision-making process.  It’s not uncommon to bring parents or future in-laws too, but be careful; sometimes too many opinions can make the decision-making process more difficult.
  • Take notes.  Taking notes will help refresh your memory when it comes time to make a final decision.  How does the food taste? How was it presented?  What did you like?  What didn’t work?   Note any suggestions/recommendations and maybe take some photos for reference.
  • Provide feedback.  Feedback is critical to the success of your menu so don’t be afraid to speak up.  Great chefs are ready and willing to challenge the taste buds if you’re looking for bolder flavors or creative combinations.  Food allergies, dietary needs, religious or ethnic requirements are also important when creating the right menu.
  • Be flexible.  Seasonal or specialty items may not always be available or fit into your budget.  Your event coordinator and/or chef can provide you with creative ideas and suggestions to design a menu that is both exciting and cost-effective.

    Photo Credit (Cupcake): Deborah Zoe Photography 

Food Allergies and Event Planning

Posted by Peppers Team on Wed, Feb 16, 2011

I came across an interesting article regarding dietary restrictions and if you should factor them into your event planning process, especially when the guest count is high.  It’s a tough question, no doubt, but with one in 25 people suffering from a food allergy, it’s certainly something to consider.

Food allergies occur when your body’s immune system reacts to a substance in food that it sees as harmful.  This sets off a chain reaction in the body and presents symptoms that can range from a runny nose and itchy eyes to sever or life-threatening reactions.   The most common foods to cause food allergies include milk, egg, peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, fish, soy and wheat. 

So, what can you do?
The most important thing you can do is COMMUNICATE – with your guests, your event coordinator, the chef or anyone else who will be making food choices for you.  Ask questions, gather information and make sensible choices. 

  • Start with your guests 
    Many brides add a place on their response card for guests to note food allergies, medically required dietary needs or restrictions.

  • Talk with your caterer
    Make them aware of your restrictions and ask them questions.

    Provide the details of any food allergies to your event coordinator so that he/she can forward the information to the rest of the team.  The more people who know about your needs, the better.  The coordinator can also help you convey your efforts to your guests, putting them at ease to enjoy the day along with you.

    Ask to speak with the chef directly.  A knowledgeable chef will be willing to work with you, providing options and menu ideas that will meet your dietary needs without sacrificing quality or limit choices.

    Chances are your caterer is not preparing food in a “nut free” facility, so how do they handle cross-contamination?

It’s important to remember this too – it’s not all up to you.  Although your efforts will surely be appreciated, no one is more responsible than the guest him/herself.