Whether you call them Chef Attended Action Stations, Performance Stations or Chef Bars (our favorite), this service style is HOT! Today’s feature is the last installment in our Service Series and is a specialty at Puff ‘n Stuff Catering.
Action stations are the most interactive ways to serve your guests and bring an added level excitement, entertainment and…action to your special event. Guests watch with excitement as their food is prepared to order by lively chefs! The concept is simple and can be adapted to most event styles:
- Cocktail Reception: server pass specialty cocktails, set-up full bars and sprinkle hors d’oeuvre portion action stations through out the space to encourage mingling, conversation and movement around the room.
- Chef Bar Party: arrange mixed size and height tables through out the event space, select your favorite mini plate portion action stations and enjoy! Guests explore Chef Bars at their leisure, select their preferred seats and experience a tapas-style dinner they won’t soon forget.
- Family Style Meal: couple a salad and side dish buffet with 2-3 entree portion action stations arranged evenly through out the room for a relaxed atmosphere with a twist.
- Formal Dinner: select upscale action stations with 2-3 complementary dishes at each station such as a mini steakhouse wedge salad, grilled and sliced filets and smashed potatoes. Provide assigned, formal seating to give guests the option to eat while mingling or comfortably in their seats.
Action stations can be set-up in formal event spaces, outdoors or in a private residence. The flexibility, interaction and creativity offered by this service style continues to increase its popularity for all event types including weddings, corporate events, and social events such as birthdays, anniversaries and bar/bat mitzvahs.
The Puff ‘n Stuff Catering team continues to “passionately perfect” the art of action stations and we love creating unique and personal stations for our clients. Stations can be developed from family recipes, favorite dishes and our vast menu of action stations. Some of our most popular action stations include Lobster Mac ‘n Cheese in which our rich, creamy lobster mac is freshly prepared and served from a hollowed 80 pound wheel of Grana Padano cheese, and the Vertical Bento Box – a rotating, Asian-inspired display filled with multiple dishes such as our Asian Trio Plate and King Crab with Pink Grapefruit served on peeled grapefruit slices finished with a tangerine gastrique and lemon foam.
Why not try this growing trend at your next special event? For more inspiration, keep scrolling to see highlights from the Puff ‘n Stuff Catering kitchen and check out this Perfect Wedding Guide post by our friend Jody Wimer, board member of the International Caterers Association and President of JPC Event Group in Pennsylvania!
Real Events | Madison's Black & White Birthday Bash | Heaven Events Center
Today’s featured event is not just a birthday party, it’s Madison’s one-of-kind Black & White Birthday Bash at Heaven Events Center! This club inspired shindig was decked to the nines with black, white, hot pink and zebra print…everthing! From the lux pink carpet and bouncer greeting her guests, exciting uplighting bouncing off the walls, and VIP lounge furniture, each element showed off the party’s theme. Even the specialty mocktail of the night — The Hot Pink Mar’teen’i — sported the birthday girl’s favorite colors!
Choreographed dancers filled the dance floor, while a t-shirt artist passed out custom t-shirts and kids feasted on ice cream from Coldstone Creamery. Puff ‘n Stuff Catering provided delicious food that everyone could enjoy including the kids! Featuring “s’mores indoors” and even a create-your-own-nacho bar, this celebration truly had everything a birthday girl could ask for!
Wild Dinner Buffet
Create Your Own Nacho Bar
Vegetable Quesadillas piped with Rose Sour Cream
Cheeseburger Sliders & Fries
Out of Control Desserts
“S’mores Indoors” Marshmallows on bamboo skewers, flamed,
rolled in Micro Chocolate Chips and crushed graham crackers
Destination Wedding Venues in Your Own Backyard
Have you dreaming about planning a romantic wedding in Tuscany or a glamorous affair in New York, but woken up to a local wedding reality? Well, we’re happy to share that you can have a fabulous wedding in your hometown that feels like it’s in a land far-far-away…without breaking the bank!
Central Florida and the Tampa-St. Pete areas are home to numerous venues that lend a destination vibe without the destination price tag. Local venues not only reduce travel expenses for you and your guests, they can reduced your stress level and be perfectly transformed to resemble the exact destination that you wished for. Today we would like to share some of our favorite local “destination” venues in hopes they can make your wedding vision come true!
The Big City
With Broadway lights and stunning glamour, New York has a place in everyone’s heart. The Mezz, a Downtown Orlando venue, has the bright lights, chic design and city-scaped floor-to-ceiling windows to bring a New York themed event come to life!
Las Vegas, NV
Adventurous and modern, Heaven Events Center is the perfect venue for a Las Vegas style event. Filled with glitz and state of the art technology like LED lighting and HD TVs, this locale close to Central Florida’s attractions is sure to keep guests thrilled just like the fast city of Vegas!
Travel Back in Time
The Ballroom at Church Street offers elegant Victorian style in the heart of Downtown Orlando with large detailed stain glass windows, double grand staircases, and spacious ballrooms. If you yearn to celebrate in classic style, this space can be decked to fit any fairytale wedding!
Couples longing to venture into Italian wine country for their big day need only to travel to Sarasota’s Powel Crosley Estate. This large stone mansion is surrounded by beautiful gardens setting the scene for a breathtakingly charming and romantic wedding.
Paradise Cove offers a lush, tropical backdrop for a scenic waterfront wedding. Nestled near Disney’s Lake Buena Vista area, Paradise Cove’s thatched-roof and open-air patio, beach front bars and sandy shores will make you feel like you’re miles away from the city!
If you seek venue rich in cultural history with a latin flare, The Cuban Club in Ybor City is a must-see. With its large ballrooms, theaters and open-air space, this space can transform a party into an exciting, fun-filled fiesta!
The Service Series: Focus on Plated Meals
Welcome to the Part 2 of The Service Series! Today we’re exploring at the elements of plated meals. As wedding and event trends come and go, plated service is elegant and timeless.
Each meal is meticulously prepared and plated in the kitchen, and personally presented by servers who make a direct connection with each and every guest. In addition to the extra level of attention given to guests, seated meals create an intimate ambiance and the perfect environment for conversation. And for hosts with creative culinary ambitions, the plate can easily become the canvas for a beautifully designed entrée.
From a practical standpoint, plated meals significantly reduce food waste as portions are planned precisely to the final guest count. Guests with special dietary requirements can be discretely served a meal that suits their needs without offering this selection to the full guest list. This style is also extremely beneficial during structured events with a program or when the host wants to control the flow of event. Service of the various courses can be timed around a speaker or special event to ensure the proper level of attention to the event’s focus or to signal times of free conversation.
Although plated service delivers a high level of guest interaction, it’s also the most labor intensive and commonly the most expensive service style. For plated meals where guests pre-select between multiple entrées, assigned seating is required to guarantee the plates are delivered correctly.
When choosing between service styles for your next event, weigh the benefits of plated service alongside the style of your event, the mood you hope to create and of course your budget! And remember — the pros at Puff ‘n Stuff Catering are here to help answer your questions. To get inspired, take a peek at some of our delectable plated entrées!
A Mad Men Styled Wedding Inspiration Shoot | Postcard Inn
Here is a little ’60s infused inspiration for your Tuesday! We had fabulous opportunity to partner with Divine Light Photography and several other Tampa/St. Pete wedding pros to create this retro Mad Men inspired wedding at the Postcard Inn on St. Pete Beach.
Already featured on Style Me Pretty, this fanciful day will hopefully get your creative juices going and take you back to a cooler era. Check out the gorgeous images and video from the shoot, and read on for the details on our throwback comfort foods and clever treats.
Starting Off Right
grape tomatos, fresh mozzarella balls, Kalamata olives, and artichoke hearts skewered ’60s style and served with aioli dip
Mini Monte Cristos “On the Rocks”
a classic indulgence served in a small rocks glass with layers of organic berry preserves and white powdered sugar
The Chicken & The Egg
even more sinful than mom’s deviled eggs and filled with spicy southern fried chicken
Smokin’ Dessert Cigars
classic crêpes rolled tightly, filled with chocolate mousse, dipped in chocolate and decorated to look like smoldering cigars
Mom’s Classics with a Twist
Classic Shrimp Cocktail
Chilled Small Shrimp served with cocktail sauce in a mini martini
Porthole Caesar Salad
fresh lettuce tossed with shaved parmesan cheese, an Asiago tuile and a classic Caesar dressing and tucked into a large crouton
Personal Beef Wellingtons
a retro entertaining staple stuffed with mushroom duxelles, wrapped in a puff pastry and served with Madeira wine sauce
garlic smashed potatoes swirled and lightly browned
Green Bean Casserole
the original recipe served in a mini casserole dish
Thank you to the amazing vendors who made this inspiration shoot possible!
Photography: Divine Light Photography
Bar Service: Bella Bridesmaid
Cuisine: Puff ‘n Stuff Catering
Floral Design: Holly Nazario of Collective Creations
Linens: Jess Waldrop
Models: Raph Schwyter + Lili Rey + Kriss Pugh + Brianna Strum + Christina Kolosvary + Chris Dube
Venue: The Postcard Inn
Cake: Cakes By Nomeda
Wedding Gown: Anglo Couture
Groom's Cakes Fit for a King!
The Groom’s Cake – one of the few distinctly masculine wedding features – is a Southern tradition making a popular modern-day comeback. A surprise or gift from the bride, the groom’s cake is customarily served at the rehearsal dinner or as an alternative to the wedding cake at the reception. Traditional groom’s cakes feature masculine colors and rich flavors like chocolate, red velvet or the groom’s favorite flavor.
However, contemporary groom’s cakes themed for his favorite sports team, hobby or profession are making quite a stir at receptions across the country, not just in the south. And following wedding cake trends set by shows like Cake Boss and Ace of Cakes, intricate and ornate groom’s cakes are becoming quite popular. But no matter whether you’re interested in sweet and simple or styled and stunning, any groom is sure to appreciate the thoughtful gesture of presenting him with his own special treat.
For more inspiration, read on to see a few custom groom’s cakes from the bakery at Puff ‘n Stuff Catering, and some ideas from around the web that are fit for a king (and your groom)!
Created by: Sugar Suite
Created by: Puff ‘n Stuff Catering
Original Post by: Wedding Wire
Photographed and Original Post by: Pohlman’s Cakes
Photographed and Original Post by: Theme Cakes by Traci
Original Post By: Sweet Retreats Blog
Photographed and Original post by: Pink Cake Box
Photographed and Original Post by: Cake Central
Photographed and Original post by: Sugar Coated Bakery
Photographed and Original Post by: Ace of Cakes
Name Card Trends | Greeting Guests with Style
When an large influx of wedding guests enter the reception space and attempt to locate their seats all at once, name cards are incredibly helpful in directing guests to their assigned tables. However, the use of traditional black and white paper name cards is dwindling and personally designed place cards are on the rise. Many couples have taken it upon themselves to go one step further and customize their guest name cards in a way that reflects their wedding theme, favorite hobby, and even making them an edible treat for guests to enjoy before their main course!
And what better way to show immediate appreciation to your guests than to greet them with personalized name cards designed just for them? Whether you use sweet treats, trinkets that coordinate with your wedding theme or personalized mementos, have fun and be creative! Anything from wine corks to feathers to chocolate can be used to create something special that defies tradition. Take a look at some inspirational pieces and enjoy!
Photographed and Original Post by: Do It Yourself Weddings
Real Weddings | Nikki + Chris | Tampa Bay Watch
Happy Monday! Today we’re bringing you the beautiful spring wedding of Nikki and Chris at Tampa Bay Watch. Situated on the scenic shoreline of Cunningham Key, their ceremony was held on the venue’s spacious waterfront lawn set with palm trees, mangroves and crisp white chairs. The picture-perfect setting on the Gulf of Mexico created a gorgeous sunset backdrop as the couple said their “I do’s.”
Following the ceremony, guests enjoyed wine and classic hors d’oeuvres on the wrap-around terrace and a delicious family-style dinner inside the window-lined main hall. And to make the evening even more exciting – they were also celebrating the bride’s grandfather’s 90th birthday! To honor him, the couple requested a special cake table filled with hand-crafted decorative cakes just for the occasion. Read on to see pictures of their special day and beautiful menu!
Waterfront Hors d’Oeuvres
Coconut Chicken Brochettes skewered chicken breast coasted in coconut served with tropical salsa
Warm Phyllo Cups with Brie and Chef Jimmy’s house-made citrus honey
Smoked Chicken Cranberry with Caramelized Onion Bruschetta
Spinach Bouchée puff pastry filled with a creamy Boursin spinach dip
A Breezy Dinner
Freshly Baked Artisan Breads
Citrus Greens Salad frisée, arugula and baby spinach
with sliced Florida oranges, fennel, toasted almonds and a citrus vinaigrette
Glazed & Grilled Mahi Mahi Margarita
Jerk Marinated Chicken Breast
Catering/Linen/ Bar: Puff ‘n Stuff Catering
Flowers: Botanica Design Studio
Entertainment: Brace Entertainment
Photographer: Jerry McGaghey Photography
Venue: Tampa Bay Watch
Video: Chad Whelan Videographer
Meet Puff 'n Stuff Catering This Sunday!
Puff ‘n Stuff Catering Special Event Planners will be available to answer your wedding questions this Sunday at the Perfect Wedding Guide Bridal Show at the Hilton Orlando Hotel from noon until 4 p.m. Stop by our booth for inspiration, special offers and to taste our cuisine.
While you’re there, register to win your choice of a free champagne toast or butler-passed hors d’oeuvre at your wedding catered by Puff ‘n Stuff Catering!
You can even use this coupon to purchase buy one get one free tickets for you and a guest!
The Service Series: Focus on Buffets
When planning a catered event, future hosts have many questions for our team of catering pros including one of the most frequently asked questions – how should the meal be served?
There are three primary service styles: plated, buffet and action stations – and we love to educate our clients about the benefits of each and create a personalized service blend that best suits their individual event goals. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be giving you an inside look at the strengths and challenges of each service style to help you make the best choice for your next event!
Today’s featured style is the simplest and one of the most popular service options — the buffet. Many brides and event hosts warm up to this crowd-pleasing setup for its variety, flexibility, and efficiency. When faced with large groups or those with diverse tastes, buffets offer stress-free planning by allowing multiple entrée and accompaniment selections and give guests the freedom to fill their plates with only their favorite dishes. Buffets can also be arranged strategically to manage the flow of guests around a room, and divided into themed tables to organize multiple cuisine styles. Requiring less service staff than a traditional plated dinner, a buffet is a very cost effective way to serve any size group. In addition to decorating guest seating tables, buffet tables can also be lavishly decorated, decked out for a theme party or simply elegant. The choice is yours!
A buffet style meal may not be the best choice if your goal is to create an intimate or sophisticated atmosphere at your event. And although caterers are typically able to guarantee the minimum amount of food needed to satisfy guests, buffets are the most likely to end with leftover food. As with any service style chosen, buffets can include perceived challenges or cons – the key is to evaluate all of the options and decide what’s most important to you.
Real Weddings | Angie + Chris | Well-Designed Dinner
Today’s featured event is the elegant wedding of Angie and Chris! The apple and ivory themed nuptials took place at a beautiful private residence in Bushnell, FL. The bride, a graphic designer by day, had a keen sense of style and a special vision for the look and feel of her wedding and the reception menu. The couple requested that all of the food would be small yet intricate, and each course was custom designed and displayed to match their vision.
The delicious designer meal began with a lively hors d’oeuvre reception followed by an elegant three course plated dinner. Let your eyes feast on the beautiful pictures, and read on to see the menu from their special day!
Designer Hors d’Oeuvres
Butternut Squash & Cranberry Tartlets with melted brie cheese
Baked Stuffed Mushroom Caps filled with artichokes & sun-dried tomatoes
Miniature Chicken Wellington (puff pastries filled with grilled chicken, Boursin cheese and cognac sauce)
Brie en Phyllo garnished with fresh fruit and filled with Raspberry Chambord
Elegance is Served
Asian Trio Plate with a California roll, avocado chicken tower and spring roll
Creamy Lobster Bisque
Chicken Champagne with smoked Gouda and caramelized onions drizzled in a champagne cream sauce
Petite Roasted Red Bliss Potatoes
Crisp Green Bean Bundles with lemon butter
Band: Don Juceum (Full band)
Caterer: Puff ‘n Stuff Catering, Special Event Planner: Aymee Brace
Floral & Decor: Beyond Floral
Lighting & Rentals: uDream Events
Photographer: Andy Martin Photography
Planner: Nini Massey
More than Just a "Pretty Cake"!
Gone are the days of plain-Jane-cookie-cutter cakes! The wedding cake has evolved from a standard reception photo op to a much-anticipated wedding day experience. From unique and gourmet flavors to elaborate and fanciful decorations, wedding cakes have become a creative outlet for couples to reflect their personal style, clever wedding themes, and favorite interests. And just like A-List celebs, these fashionable cakes are now appearing with an entourage!
Dessert bars are incredibly popular and are the perfect way to set your cake as the star surrounded by yummy treats and themed candy jars. This sweet trend is both decorative and delicious with endless personalization possibilities. Beautifully colored treats, gourmet candies, coordinating papers and linens, sentimental decorations, antique jars, and designed menu cards are all divine ways to incorporate tasty touches to your dessert bar. And with so many couples giving their cakes sweet attention, they create the perfect backdrop for beautiful pictures, and delighted guests look forward to a treat that will be a feast for their eyes — and their taste buds!
Keep scrolling and we hope you’ll be inspired by these fabulous finds from around the blogosphere!
Inside Look at Puff 'n Stuff!
Have you been to PuffnStuff.com lately? We have rolled out a whole NEW WEBSITE!