Chefs and caterers constantly update their menus as special food requests and the number of cases and allergy types increases.
Understanding the dietary needs of your attendees is paramount to creating safe and inclusive food and beverage for events. Consider this your go-to guide.
Under 5 percent is what Carmen Callo, executive chef at Centerplate, estimates is the percentage of special dietary requests he received about five years ago. Today, as he oversees catering at Colorado Convention Center in Denver, he and his team are cooking for groups where 15 to 20 percent of attendees have special dietary requirements.
BONE UP. Get familiar with common food allergens, religious observations, the different types of diets and how these foods must be prepared. This will help you plan menus and knowledgeably discuss food issues with attendees, caterers and kitchen staff.
Vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free, kosher, halal, pescetarian, fruitarian, lacto vegetarian, ovo-lacto-vegetarian: Planning food and beverage is more complex than ever, given the growing number of dietary restrictions. And for guests with food allergies, a meal even may have life or death consequences.
“Anaphylaxis is an ugly thing,” says Lori Shepard, executive chef and owner of Simply Scrumptious Catering in Dexter. “You never want to have to call an ambulance in the middle of your event.”