At Artisan by Santa Barbara Catering, we love nothing more than creating fun and unique food stations! For a special nonprofit gala approaching, we set out to create modern stations featuring a fresh take on classic American food favorites. The Tempe Center for the Arts, a contemporary venue, provided the perfect backdrop to display these creative concepts.
Soup & Salad Bar
A sleek, modern white bookcase was the perfect structure for this de-constructed soup and salad station. Instead of standard greens, guests had a choice of beautiful cucumber-wrapped romaine or lolla rosa. Guests selected from more traditional toppings such as cucumber, shaved carrots, and chopped tomato, or they could be a little more adventurous with kalamata olives, feta cheese, shaved apples, toasted pecans, and chickpeas. The selections were displayed in martinis, cosmos and other modern glass vessels. The custom gourmet salads looked more like mini works of art than a meal! This station was eye-catching and a fun twist on healthy favorites.
Next stop- Clam Chowder! In only a few steps guests created their very own soup.
Step 1 – start with creamy New England or Zesty Tomato Manhattan broth.
Step 2 – add diced potatoes, diced carrots, and corn kernels sprinkled with herbs
Step 3 – top it off with fried clams, buttery sautéed onions and housemade oyster crackers
Step 4 – Enjoy!
After four easy steps guests were left with a personalized bowl of soup – now who can resist that?!
Food Bar- Not Your Ordinary Buffet
We decided to revamp the traditional buffet and instead created a large, interactive station. Chefs sautéed, grilled, seared, and designed a variety of beautiful small plates. Needless to say the Food Bar was a hit!
The dramatic infinity pool, striking fire features, and the brilliant blue lights of the Tempe Town Lake Bridge made for a breathtaking view from the TCA patio, but it was the gourmet plates at the food bar that kept the guests coming back all night! The stars of the night included pork belly sizzling on Himalayan salt blocks and finished with fig and honey gastric, chicken fried steak served with buttery mashed potatoes, open-faced Philly sandwiches prepared to order on large griddles, and grilled shrimp atop avocado-cucumber salad. The open-format of this station allowed guests to see all the action without having to wait in long lines.
There is nothing more all-American than a BBQ. Our final savory station was a combination of delicious fresh-from-the-grill favorites with a fabulous presentation. Flavorful mojito grilled chicken, sweet grilled pineapple, and colorful grilled peppers, purple onions and other veggies were displayed on skewer stands. Guests customized their plate by choosing their favorites among the fresh-from-the-grill meats, veggies, and fruits on the stands. The originality of the presentation and the flavor of the food made for a stand out skewer station!
All American Pies + Flaming Doughnuts
Favorite Pie Flavors + Cute And Easy-To-Eat Presentation + A Modern Tiered Display = The Perfect Dessert Station.
Popular pie flavors were paired with fun new presentations. Blueberry, Cherry and Apple Pie “Pops” were a bite sized versions of classic favorites. Red Velvet and Chocolate-Caramel Whoopie Pies were fun and delicious! Banana Cream, Chocolate Cream, Pecan, and Pumpkin Mini Pies kept guests coming back for more! These mini versions were easier to eat for guests mixing-and-mingling at the event, and allowed guests to sample more than just one flavor!
And for the grand finale there was Flaming Doughnuts! Yes you read right, FLAMING doughnuts! Oohs and aahs were heard in the crowd as Chefs flambéed housemade doughnuts. The flames lept off the pan and soared into the air! The doughnuts were then paired with vanilla gelato and a salted caramel sauce- a perfect flavor combination! It was the perfect end to a perfect event!