Puff 'n Stuff Catering Blog
The Best Menu Planning Tips for Hosted Events
June 16, 2017 by Puff 'n Stuff | comments

Whether you’re coordinating a corporate lunch for 15 or hosting a bridal shower for 30, when it comes to menu planning, a little food for-thought, goes a long way. Of course, if you have the extra time you can prepare the food from scratch, or if you’re like most hosts, you’re reading this post because your fridge is empty and you don’t have time, and you need help.

Deciding to hire a professional caterer to provide all, or supplemental food and beverage items is a great way to save time during the planning process, but it’s also an insurance policy that on the day of the event, everything will go according plan.

Purposeful Event Planning

Start by considering the purpose of your event. Thinking about the why, who, when and where will provide a blueprint throughout the planning process and help you stay on budget. During this preliminary stage determine:

  • What type of event are you hosting?
  • How many guests are expected?
  • If the event formal or casual?
  • What will guests be doing?
  • What location will provide an ideal setting to create the appropriate atmosphere?
  • What time food service is most appropriate?
  • Do you want to use china and glassware, or disposable serving pieces?
  • What is your total event budget?
  • What portion of your budget will be spent on décor, food and beverage, and entertainment?
Premium Patter for Every Occassion

Photo Credit: Rosena Usmani

Menu Planning

Professional caterers offer a variety of service levels that can range from convenient delivery and pick up menus to full-service. Typically, for smaller events such as birthdays, social parties, graduations, funerals and office or business luncheons, delivery and pick up options will provide a wide range of food choices at a less expensive price point than that of a full-service event.

During the menu creation step, take the time to learn about your guests and any specific theme or dietary restrictions they might have. Tailoring the menu to your guest’s expectations and your intended event purpose will achieve a unique menu mix that ensures everyone is happy and full.

Look to your caterer to assist with quantifying food amounts, creating the food service timeline and offering creative suggestions for menu and presentation enhancements. Brainstorm the following questions with your caterer:

  • How much food do you want provide? Is the expectation lunch, light bites or a full meal?
  • Guest dietary restrictions?
  • Food safety guidelines including time food will be displayed or served.
  • Are there onsite facilities (oven, refrigerator, freezer, etc.) to maintain correct food temperature?
  • Based on the overall event agenda, what will the flow be for food service; will guests arrive all at once, or trickle in?
  • Are you providing supplemental food and beverage, or will your caterer provide everything?
  • What is your food and beverage budget?

How To Set Up A Buffet Table

If you have opted for delivery, pick up or to make your own food then you will need to consider where and how to set up your buffet display. The size, shape and direction of your buffet line will depend on the room, numbers of guests and food items.

Start by considering the relationship between the food table, bar/beverage table, and guest seating within the room. Ideally, food and bar/beverage will be presented on separate tables, so that guests may easily replenish with minimal waiting. This preliminary step will help define the overall flow for how guests will serve themselves and ensure no bottleneck areas.

Place plates and rolled silverware at the beginning of the buffet line. Then arrange food items in the expected order that a person typically eats. This is simply, hors ‘d oeuvres/appetizers, bread, salad, sides and then entrees. If you are planning to place deserts on the same buffet, than naturally go at the end. Voila!

Grazing Station

Photo Credit: Rosena Usmani

Buffet Planning Tips:

  • It goes without saying, but start with a sturdy table.
  • Strategically place receptacles for trash around the room and close to the food and bar/beverage tables.
  • Write a list of appropriate serving utensils needed for each item and purchase a few extras, or have your caterer provide.
  • Consider a small plate for holding serving utensils next to food items in a chaffing dish or container with a lid.
  • Leave enough space between food items for menu cards and minimal décor.

Your guests have arrived; your buffet is set, the only thing left to do is enjoy. And just remember, the success of any event is in the planning.



Real Events | Fresh from Florida | NACE III
February 5, 2014 by Puff 'n Stuff | comments

For the last installment of our Fresh from Florida blog series, we’re revealing all the sweet confections from this unconventional NACE meeting. We invited chapter members to explore our entire Orlando commissary, from conferences rooms, and into the heart of our kitchen. With an 80-pound tuna being carved fresh in the walk-in cooler and White Rose providing dance tunes in our dry storage room, it was only fitting that all the decadent desserts were made fresh in our bakery. The name dessert actually comes from the French word “desservir” which means, “to clear away,” and that’s exactly what happened as these five delectable treats were presented.

Divine Desserts

Citrus Trio

Florida is notorious for the many fruits that are grown locally. We highlighted these distinct flavors in our Citrus Trio, which featured a silky, smooth blood orange curd encrusted with crunchy almonds and caramelized sugar, a tangy lemon macaron and a rich dark chocolate, key lime truffle.

Maker's Mark Chocolate Cake

The Maker’s Mark featured a bourbon soaked genoise. The drenched sponge cake was then coated in a rich, decadent chocolate and encrusted with walnuts and brown sugar. The dessert was finished with a drizzle of silky caramel crème anglaise and a dusting of crushed pistachio enriched with the smooth oak flavor of the bourbon.

Cx7

Our mini Cx7 is exactly what the name indicates; chocolate prepared seven different ways, eloquently layered and composed. The layers included chocolate crémeux, chocolate almond sable, hazelnut chocolate gianduja, and a sea salt chocolate macadamia caramel.

Flan

Traditional flan prepared with a fruity, Floridian twist. This smooth coconut flavored dessert was drizzled in a citrus infused caramel sauce and complemented by chopped strawberries, juicy melon and a sprinkle of shaved, white chocolate.

Sea Salt Caramel Tartlets

These sea salt caramel tartlets will make you go bananas! The miniature treats were filled with a light chocolate mousse, topped in a fluffy chocolate ganache and finished off with a crisp banana chip.

 

We appreciate our partner vendors for contributing to the huge success of this event:

Guest chef: Sysco and Rational; Furniture: AFR Event Furnishings; Liquor: ABC Fine Wine and Spirits; Entertainment: White Rose Entertainment; Lighting: American Audio Visual; Team Building Program: Play with a Purpose; Floral and Decor: Raining Rose; Drape: Swag Décor; Rentals: Chair Affair; Photography: Christie’s Photographic Solutions and Sunshine Photographics; Cinematography: VH Video; Coffee: Barnie’s Coffee Kitchen; Cocktails: Monin



Average Wedding Size
December 22, 2010 by Puff 'n Stuff | comments

The average wedding is probably 100 people. I am finding that the trend for 2010-2011 is a smaller guest list, so they have a little more money to spend on the food which is kind of nice. But we do as large as 500 people and as small as 25 people.



Mary Brumley | Wedding Catering Planner | Puff ’n Stuff Catering | Orlando | Tampa
October 21, 2010 by Puff 'n Stuff | comments
“My name is Mary Brumley and I’m a special event planner for Puff ‘n Stuff.  Well basically my main focus is weddings, so I do event planning for weddings, and then I do social as well, and a little bit of corporate.  As an event planner for Puff ‘n Stuff, I think I pride myself on trying to make sure the bride has the best experience on her wedding day.  It should be stress free for her, she should not be worried about her vendors, or her caterer, or people being on time.  You have to talk with them and see, what their vision is.  So all of that really has to be discussed in the consultation.”


Corporate Lunches In Orlando | Corporate Catering For Multi Day Events | Puff ‘n Stuff Catering
October 20, 2010 by Puff 'n Stuff | comments

“With a lot of the clients if they have corporate business meeting coming in and they need lunch everyday from a Friday, Saturday, Sunday we can do that.  We can do breakfast, lunch, and afternoon snacks.  A lot of times they don’t have time for their clients to go out and have a lunch break. It’s just easier for us to go in there, it keeps them there, you don’t have to worry about them getting back. So that makes it that much easier for the client, you can keep them all in one space.  We can do anything that’s small.  I’m doing something this week, they wanted something nice and are doing VIPs for six people.  So nothing is too small for us, whatever your needs are, we will try to accommodate you for any kind of event.”



Choosing a Central Florida Wedding Planner & Wedding Caterer
October 8, 2010 by Puff 'n Stuff | comments
“My name is Arlene Cornelia Blake and I am the owner of Designs by Cornelia Weddings & Events. I specialize in weddings but I also do corporate events and parties, especially ladies nights. When someones looking for a wedding planner they should definitely look for someone they have a good vibe with and can develop a good relationship with. This is someone they are going to be working with for at least twelve or so months, so they wanna make sure that the relationship will be there and the person is just as excited about their wedding as they are. Puff ‘n Stuff has been the one caterer I’ve always gone to from the beginning of starting out my company. They are the one caterer whom I find always can work with my clients budgets, they have always proved a excellent level of service, the presentation has always been wonderful. Oh my goodness, my favorite dish from Puff ‘n Stuff? I love their stuffed mushrooms, those are yummy, their crab cake towers are really good and their cheesecake lollipops are one of my favorite things that they make. They actually take a cheesecake ball, dip it in white chocolate, and then drizzle it with another color chocolate or sometimes put pistachios on it. Guests always leave the wedding talking about the food and how great everything looks. They always do a wonderful job, and their crew on the day of a wedding are absolutely amazing. They always come through and help out.”


Why Is Puff ‘n Stuff Catering Different from other Florida Caterers?
October 6, 2010 by Puff 'n Stuff | comments

“The thing that makes Puff ‘n Stuff unique from the other caterers, even though it sounds kind of cliche, really is our people. I know a lot of folks say that, but I truly believe in that here, within our culture. The Puff ‘n Stuff culture supports our team and it supports them in a way that it gives them the ability to excel at what they are doing. We have a unique process here that allows us to execute with precision and consistency even with the large variety and quantity of event we may do.”



How to ‘Vet’ a Good Caterer | Identifying a Good Caterer in Central Florida
September 21, 2010 by Puff 'n Stuff | comments

A good caterer is essential to a memorable event.  Food is always discussed, don’t let it be a disappointment.  Good help can make a successful wedding, special event, business meeting or corporate event great.  When trying to vet a good caterer, here are some tips to help you out.

  • There are many quality caterers but you want one that is appropriate for your specific event.  Don’t hire a caterer that has mainly done wedding work for a corporate event, unless you want a disaster.  Each event has it’s own problems and situations, a wedding with a few hundred guests is not the same as a business meeting of thirty powerful CEOs that need to be impressed, or just your mom’s 60th birthday party.   All caterers are not created equal.
  • How do you want the food served?  This is big, because things like a buffet, if not organized, can cause a monster headache.  Food can be served in many different ways, sit down service, buffet, and food stations, so talk with your caterer.  Find out what they have had success with before, and what they recommend.  A good caterer may have serving suggestions.  Also, discuss guest to server ratios.  Some caterers severely under staff which leads to problems.
  • If this is your first time working with this caterer, set up a tasting event.  You are looking to evaluate their culinary style, as well as presentation.  Great food that looks dull doesn’t go well for an extravagant event.  Dinnerware should be provided, which gives you a chance to evaluate that as well.
  • Check a caterer’s references.  It’s a simple way to find out how they really are by speaking with past customers.  Check reviews online too.
  • When working with the caterer, include entertainers and other event staff in the headcount.  Where will the event staff be served? Separate or with guests?  These are things that need to be discussed.


Central Florida Catering | Puff ‘n Stuff Catering | Video
September 13, 2010 by Puff 'n Stuff | comments

“The economy being what it is today we work with our clients to maximize their budgets and create incredible events with great creativity. We are a 30 year old catering company and we service all of Orlando and many other counties all around us. We pride ourselves on great cuisine, incredible service, and we have an amazing group of folks working with us to help us execute tremendous events everyday. The experience that our customers can expect to have when working with us really is one of true professionalism and a real attention to detail. We have a seasoned group of event planners, who work with you, to really execute your vision of the event. One of the unique features of working with us really is that you have the ability to have us as involved as you’d like us to be in your event. We can help you with your decor, or the entertainment, or we can certainly leave those to other folks if you’d like to bring them in. We can also help you find the right venue, we have over 100 venues in town here from casual to elaborate. Our company’s mission statement is passionately perfecting life’s celebrations and we look forward to doing that for you.”

Wedding, Renaissance party, convention, class reunion. Whatever the reason for the celebration, Puff ‘n Stuff Catering in Orlando will work with you to meet your needs, match your ideas and maximize your budget while delivering great food dishes such as sushi, steak kabobs, creative salads, fresh fruit platters, pastries and more. They’ll even help you with venue arrangement, decor, entertainment and anything else need to make your function memorable.



The Importance of Corporate Lunches | Central Florida Catering
September 7, 2010 by Puff 'n Stuff | comments

A well done corporate lunch can help build relationships, and overall bring your company together.  The employees appreciate the good will of a free solid lunch.  Many studies have shown that eating together causes good feelings and releases endorphins.  Also the lunch can be seen as a big Thank You for all your hard work.

Sure there is a little bit of awkwardness at first, whether the lunch is already paid for, and what to say and what not to say.  Stay away from politics and religion as always.  Guys be courteous to women even if it’s a male majority.  Bigger companies that entail multiple floors, might find themselves seeing people they haven’t seen in years.  Which is another reason that company lunches are so needed, because on the day to day basis everyone will probably talk to the same people over and over again without reaching out.

Consider planning a Corporate Lunch today with the help of Puff n Stuff Catering.



Connect with Wedding Planners and Vendors Online | Central Florida Catering
August 27, 2010 by Puff 'n Stuff | comments

In the latest in Wedding planning comes Web 2.0 site www.BridalTweet.com.  It is an online community to help give business professionals free advice and the opportunity to market to the brides.  Seems like a good idea and there is definitely a market for it.

On first impression the home page is quite busy. They claim to have over 23,000 visitors monthly already.  The forums have quite an active community.

While the focus is on the bride, hey it is HER big day, don’t forget it takes a whole group of people to make sure everything comes together.. caterers, dress makers, DJs, cake makers, decorators, wedding planners, engravers and photographers make sure everything moves.

If your planning your wedding in Central Florida, feel free to give us a call.  We are an Orlando Catering company that has been in business for 30 years.



Finding a lunch caterer in Orlando | Central Florida Catering
August 26, 2010 by Puff 'n Stuff | comments

Finding a lunch caterer in Orlando can be a difficult process.  In a city so big and diverse, just finding the perfect caterer for your wedding or corporate lunch will be hard.  One thing that typically seems to work well is to look at customer reviews.
“We knew the food was going to be amazing, because it always is with Puff N’ Stuff…” Roy + Tina = Married
“Wow, So cool Didn’t Know you were on Facebook. 5 years ago I had you guys Catering My Wedding at the Oak Tub Inn. I loved everything was great ♥”
Thanks… Sarah L.
“Nice mention today in The Florida Bride’s Blog “Orlando Wedding ~ Jess & Blake”. Always a pleasure to work with vendor partners like Puff ‘n Stuff Catering.”
“Nicolle Avery and John put together this amazing wedding. They had a “Lovefest” where everyone just poured out their joy of why these two are amazing friends, and I was so happy to be apart of it. It all took place at the Maitland Art Center.

They also had a dream team of vendors that Kristen McDonald withBlush by Brandee Gaar helped put together including Puff ‘n Stuff Catering.”
Also check out a Caterer’s Yelp page and see if they have positive reviews .
While finding a lunch caterer in Orlando can be hard, hopefully we made it a little bit easier for you.



Tasty Indian Food Choices | Livening Your Catered Events | Central Florida Catering
August 25, 2010 by Puff 'n Stuff | comments

Why not spice up your event with a traditional and festive Indian Food spread that will delight and intrigue your guests pallets?   Indian Food is fun and interesting and there is a wide variety to choose from including Indian Curry recipes & Indian Dessert recipes.

Pickle recipes, chaat, koftas, dosas, and Jain and Punjabi preparations like aloo mutter and malai paneer are great traditional vegetarian recipes that can be found in Indian Cuisine.  For our non-vegetarians, there are numerous options that will tantalize your taste buds as well. Seafood recipes like Bengali, Malabar, and Goan, are sure to excite your guests.

India and Indian food are diverse and exciting with many varieties and styles from Mughlai, South Indian, Guajarati, even coastal food.



Importance of Corporate Lunches | Company Lunches Do's and Don'ts | Central Florida Catering
by Puff 'n Stuff | comments
  1. Don’t place an order for the full group in a way that is not interpreted by the full group. One time a CEO determined we’d consume ‘family style’, entailing we would acquire a bundle of food, and we would all share.Trouble followed, he ordered in Chinese, and did not actually assure us non-Chinese speakers what he ordered. All the food was surprising. I detest surprises once it concerns my food. Do not articulate “Try it, you’ll like it”.I am not seven. Assure me what it is I’m about to eat, and do not be funny around it. I will be, to a lesser extent, mad if it is calamari and you assure me it is calamari, than whenever you assure me it is special shrimp and Iamb chomp into a suction cup. Not cool.
  2. Don’t try to talk about religious belief at a table full of people with wide-ranging backgrounds.
  3. Don’t try to talk over politics the least bit. Particularly when the discussion commences with the words “Your government”. Hey, last time I ascertained, you lived here as well, unless you’re commuting from Canada everyday.
  4. Do not make loud jokes about how attractive the women are. Seems sensible, considering as how there were women in attendance. And yet, it came about. I just put my head down and ate.
  5. Do not invite people to lunch, as a group, under the pretense of a company-sponsored excursion, then narrate it after wards they have eaten that “It adds up to $9 apiece” whilst you hold your hand out. Once they aforementioned “corporate lunch”, I naturally (and mentally) slipped the word “-sponsored” betwixt”corporate” and “lunch”, and was geared up to get my eat on free of charge. Nevertheless, acknowledging what I recognize about where I work, I also mentally prepared myself for the likeliness that I’d be amounting out of pocket. So I was prepared for it. And let down that I was once again proven right by these guys.

Do a corporate lunch right with Central Florida Catering Puff N Stuff.





Puff 'n Stuff Catering is a full service wedding, corporate & holiday event caterer and planner serving the greater Orlando Area and all of Central Florida including Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Volusia and Lake counties. Puff 'n Stuff Catering has catered simple meals to buffets to gourmet dinners for private & public functions in areas such as Downtown Orlando, Winter Park, Maitland, Windermere, Lake Mary, Bay Hill, Belle Isle, Oviedo, Clermont, Heathrow, Thornton Park, Lake Nona, Isleworth, Delaney Park and Lake Buena Vista. Our experienced catering staff has worked in office buildings, private homes, convention centers, conference rooms, meeting halls, churches and almost every other place more then two people gather. Puff 'n Stuff Catering offers Vegan, Vegetarian and Eco Friendly Catering. If you are looking for the best caterer in Orlando that can fit your event budget, contact Orlando Caterer, Puff 'n Stuff Catering today.