Puff 'n Stuff Catering Blog
A Great Start to the Holiday Season!
November 25, 2009 by Puff 'n Stuff | comments

As I thought about what I would write for this blog I reflected back on my last posting in October as a reference that would serve as a “common thread” or theme for this months posting. Last time I wrote we were in the process of getting ready for the holiday season and with a blink on an eye we find ourselves “in season”!

It is an exciting time of the year to be catering. All the holiday preparations that have been made over the last several months to “Passionately Perfect Life’s Celebrations” are in full swing. The Ballroom at Church Street will be decorated for the holiday season this coming Monday and we are busy getting ready to add that special touch to all of our clients events for their holiday parties.

Along with getting ready for the season we have been busy all over greater Central Florida helping clients host events while also creating new market and venue opportunities. In October we had the pleasure of working with Shands Gainesville on their gala that designated the opening of the newest facility on their campus. We also traveled to the TPepin’s Centre a couple of weeks ago to help host Brides.com Vendor Party. We are now a preferred cater at the TPepin’s Centre serving the greater Tampa area so if anyone in the Tampa area needs a great caterer….we travel!

I wish everyone a happy, healthy and joyous holiday season!

At your service,

Kevin Kulikowski
Director of Business Operations

A Trip Down Memory Lane
November 23, 2009 by Puff 'n Stuff | comments

On September 30th, Kristine F. called The Ballroom at Church Street with a request like none other. She wanted to surprise her husband for their anniversary with an intimate dinner for two at they place they had originally celebrated marital bliss 14 years prior…and we had 1 week to make her dream into a reality!

With very little time to plan, Kristine and I discreetly exchanged phone calls (a shared email account created a slight obstacle) and a secret rendezvous at our offices to quickly come up with a plan of action: a table for two in an otherwise empty 11,000 square foot ballroom.

Of course it didn’t stop there. Kristine selected her husband’s favorite salad, Classic Caprese, and Marinated Tomato and Artichoke for her. They were to dine on Pepper & Rosemary Crusted Beef Tenderloin with Seared Scallop Brochette Surf ‘n Turf, while sipping Champagne from their original inscribed champagne flutes circa 1995. To complete this meal, our pastry chef, Greg Smitka, created his infamous Passion Fruit Mousse Cake.

To make this day even more special, we created a play list of love songs from the ‘90s to include their first dance song by Bryan Adams, Everything I Do, I Do it for You!

In catering, it’s not the size that a matter….it is the emotion that is evoked from making a dream into a reality!

Happy 14th Anniversary, Kristine and Patrick!

Darby Poole, Special Event Planner

407.398.6309 | darby@puffnstuff.com

The Ultimate DIY Bride
November 18, 2009 by Puff 'n Stuff | comments

Wedding styles are forever changing, and many of us love nothing better than watching trends change season after season. The DIY Bride is still around and I continue to be impressed by the things they can do!

I had the pleasure working with Jennifer Case on her wedding in October. Many times my clients share that they are making their own centerpieces, arranging their own favors, and printing menu cards themselves as an effort to save money. Jennifer’s ideas and finished product were grander than the average DIY Bride, and I name her my Ultimate DIY Bride of the year!

Monograms are a great item for DIY brides to work with, and to incorporate patterns along with them adds extra creativity and style. Escort cards were printed with an individual scroll, then calligraphed on white card stock. These cards were then posted on a board of fabric matching the scroll pattern. Runners were sewn in the scroll fabric, for each guest table. Decorative trees were even wrapped with corresponding fabric. Menu cards were prepared with the pattern and monogram. Table names were created around different places the bride and groom had visited. Donation cards at each placesetting were produced to tie to a lemon candy. The floral centerpieces were designed and arranged by the bride as well, which incorporated yellow roses and orchids.

So to all of the DIY Brides in Orlando, I task you to ultimate creativity, to make your Wedding Celebration a snapshot of your style just as this one!

Heidi Brice, Senior Special Event Planner

407.398.6301 | heidi@puffnstuff.com

"Beyond Pasta" – Creative Vegetarianism
November 10, 2009 by Puff 'n Stuff | comments

Poor vegetarians. Always left by the wayside, picking and poking their plate of pasta, wanting for more. They rsvp’d vegetarian, they made themselves known, and they hoped beyond hopes that their plate would consist of more than an elaborate version of the side dishes or a slab of vegetarian lasagna. Is it too much to ask for a little creativity, a little pizzaz?

Your wait is over vegetarians! For those of you selecting the menu for your cornicopia of guests and their varied dietary needs, we’ve made things a little easier for you. Puff ‘n Stuff Catering offers an array of vegetarian stations, plated, buffet and butler passed options to not only satisfy all of your guests but make you forget you’re eating vegetarian in the first place.

Our new “Faux Pear” makes an excellent plated vegetarian option as well as a unique side dish for those meat-eaters. Delicious mashed potatoes are hand formed around spinach and sundried tomatoes into a pear shape and then fried to a golden brown. Fun and scrumptious.

Butler pass some of your favorite veggie items in a unique way with our cornets. We fill these fun little cones with baba ghanouj, tomato mozzarella caprese, roasted red pepper hummus, kalamata olive tapenade, and more.

If you’re looking for something a bit more interactive, try out one of our unique Vegetarian Chef Attended Stations. A personal favorite is the Risotto station. Creamy risotto is flavored with different fresh purees, including cauliflower and corn, pesto, and truffle oil, then finished off with guests’ choice of vegetables to include mushrooms, fresh asparagus tips, and more.

Our Shabu-Shabu Station is a fun option for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. Your guests will fill a soup bowl with their choice of asian vegetables and hand it to the chef. The chef simmers the ingredients in a soy-sarachi miso broth and finishes the bowl with noodles, guest-selected sauce and garnish. This is one of many Asian-inspired stations that are offered with your choice of beef, chicken, pork or shrimp but still a fantastic option for those who prefer the meatless way of life.

Our Create Your Own Pita Station can be offered as a self-serve option or chef attended. Hand-formed falafel patties are served with a variety of mediterranean delights including hummus, tabouleh, tzatziki, greek olives, and more. Guests choose their ingredients for a fantastic vegetarian pita.

The list of creative vegetarian options goes on and on. No more will a vegetarian guest be subjected to a plain plate of pasta. Be sure to ask your special event planner to suggest one of these fantastic and unique vegetarian delights for your next event.

Shira Smith, Special Event Planner
407.478.5820 | shira@puffnstuff.com

10 Tips for Choosing Your Reception Menu
November 5, 2009 by Puff 'n Stuff | comments

Planning your reception menu doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With a little bit of research and planning, you can make sure to have a menu that pleases everyone. Because everyone needs a little direction, here are the top 10 things to consider when planning your reception menu.

10. Kids Menus
Have something special for the kids – chicken nuggets, corn, Mac and cheese. And for a special touch, create a separate dining area with buffets at a child’s height. It’ll end up being about ½ the cost of an adult menu!

9. Matching Your Menu to the Time of Day
If you are having your event during a normal mealtime – lunch, brunch or dinner – your guests will expect a full meal. If you’re only providing hors d’oeuvres, note it in your invitation so your guests can grab a bite before the reception and you don’t run out of food.

8. Timelines Clearly
define your timeline and do your best to adhere to it. If you run too far behind, the food quality inevitably decreases. While we do plan for adjustments, food only holds up for so long.

7. Cultural or Religious Requirements & Allergies
Your guests may have certain dietary restrictions that must be considered when ordering your reception meal. Have your guests not on the RSVP card if they have allergies or if they need a vegetarian or Kosher meal.

6. Style of Food Service
The style of food service you choose will set the stage for the entire reception. A formal reception can still be fun if you create interactivity for the guests. Our stations are always a hit!

5. Beverages
We can provide everything from a premium full bar setup, to beer and wine, or a basic self-serve beverage station. You can even choose to bring the drinks, and we’ll provide the mixers and garnish.

4. Tie Your Food into the Theme
Brides are getting more and more creative. An outdoor summer wedding could be great for a BBQ. We also have a wide variety of ethnic menus for Indian, Latin, Italian weddings and more.

3. Menu Choices
Pleasing the greater group versus a few You might love sushi or Thai food, but your guests may not. When you are planning, think about the types of restaurants your friends and family go to. It’s okay to stretch their tastes a little, but try and do that with the hors d’oeuvres.

2. Using Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables
Not only is this usually less expensive, you will also be getting the freshest for the time of year. And you’re helping out the local economy while you’re at it! Check with your caterer to see what may be available locally.

1. And finally … Have a budget!
Make sure before you start contacting vendors that you have a clearly defined budget (with a little wiggle room, of course). If you opt to not use a Wedding Planner, buy a bridal planning book and use the checklist. A lot. Prioritize those things that are most important to you. It may be the food, or the dress,
or the flowers, but it can’t be “everything.”

You can realistically have a budget-friendly wedding, but make sure to give your budget upfront and see what your planner can, or can’t, do. Take the time to plan, communicate clearly and frequently with your event planner and create your dream wedding.

Carol Hull, Director of Sales