On the Table

Westport Weston Wilton SeptOct 2014

Roe was interviewed by Beth Cooney Fitzpatrick for Westport Weston & Wilton Magazine.

Pick up a copy in your local store pg. 44

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LIGHT AND HEARTY it may sound like a culinary contradiction of buffet-size proportions, but the menus for many home-based quinoa.  “It’s about variety and the experience,” says Roe Chlala of Festivities, an event planning service in Norwalk.  It’s on trend to serve that farm-raised pork with substantially lighter (and healthier) far.  Playing a big role in these rustic, heartier meals are roasted, earthy vegetables (Brussels Sprouts and kale) served family – style.  There’s an element of graciousness driving this mix-and-match dining trend, says Roe, as hosts strive to make sure all guests can find something they enjoy.

SENTIMENTAL FAVORITE “Often, we’re asked to bring in something regional, such as a smoked ham from a particular purveyor in another part of the country, or a certain kind of cake,” she says.  “Mom or Grandma might supply a signature dish and we’re asked to do the rest.” Roe says serving foods with nostalgic meaning to a family can make an event more personal .  Meanwhile, supplementing with delicious, catered sides takes the burden off the hosts.  This collaborative approach to menu planning is also an extension of the family style dining trend ofr big-ticket events including weddings.  Says Roe, It’s one of the biggest trends of 2014.”

THE MASH UP tired of the same old, same old? Mix it up, suggests Roe, who says inventive cooks are playing with traditional food combinations to give their menus a creative spin.  Take a staple such as mac and cheese and spice it up with flecks of sauteed salami, onions, sundreid tomatoes and peppers.  Or try a mini-Angus burger and serve it on a bed of grilled ramen noodles.  For dessert, try pizza dough grilled and topped with sliced fresh fruit.  “People want to have fun with their food, and experimenting with combinations is a great way to get them interested in the meal.”

FARM-TO-BUFFET The farm-to-table movement that transformed the restaurant industry has also influenced top caterers and talented home cooks, who are taking a greater interest in how their menus are sourced.  “There’s a strong desire forht e freshest indgredients,” says Roe, who noted the demand for the best has been influenced by everything from television food channels to cosial networking sites.  “Our clients are intereest, educatied and engaged with food,” she says.

TASTING MENUS smart party planners can cater to sophisticated palates and serve up a vively affair if the go with many small, sampling plats.  “This plays well to the idea that food should be a form of entertainment,” says Roe.  “Give your guests many options and the conversation will get going.”  Small plates also tap into a guest’s desire to indulge, but not to excess.  “Everyone gets to have a taste of this and that and not feel like they’re overdoing it,” This approach also works with favorties such as grilled cheeses, grilled beef and casseroles, which can be sliced and served in miniature portions.


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