Catering Outdoors: Chafers Don’t Have to Be a Challenge

Catering jobs are not for the faint of heart.

Catering jobs outdoors are survived only for the most fearless.

The risks and variables at play in a brick and mortar restaurant are 10 times greater at a catering event. Put that event outside and they’re multiplied even more. From the unpredictable number of guests to the weather, there are few things a caterer can expect to control during an event.

SternoCandleLamp WindGuard Fold Away Frames

Chafers are required equipment for caterers. So, any caterer who’s been at it for a while knows how awkward they are to travel with and how stressful it can be to deal with chafing fuel. It just never fails that at the worst possible time half the chafing fuels won’t light or the wind keeps blowing them out, and then it’s discovered that the extra box was left at the kitchen. Is it possible to prepare for any of that?

Yes! SternoCandleLamp (makers of the original Sterno brand canned heat) developed a solution: the WindGuard™ Fold-Away Chafing Dish Frame. It folds down for easy packing and, once it’s set up, protects Sterno flames from the wind. The protected flame consumes less chafing fuel than an unprotected flame and that extends burn time by 10%! Think of it as getting 2 free 4-hour Sternos with every case of 24 (plus the prevention of some major stress).

Dinnerware from Fallen Leaves?

As much as we talk about sustainability and decreasing the amount of waste we create – especially in the U.S. – we still throw away an estimated 1 trillion disposable plates and utensils every year IN THE U.S. Old habits die hard. Conveniences do, too.

But, a little company from New York has a solution. They’ve created a new line of disposables made from fallen leaves. Well, fallen leaves and steam, actually. VerTerra plates and bowls

Meet VerTerra™ Dinnerware, environmentally-friendly plates, bowls, and serving dishes made in South Asia from 100% renewable and compostable fallen palm leaves, steam, heat and pressure. The manufacturing process for the beautiful and unique pieces requires no chemicals, no waxes, no dyes, no harmful toxins (like lacquers, glues, etc.), and no additives. They are safe to eat from and safe to return to the earth. In fact, they bio-degrade in just 2 months.

The VerTerra™ line of dinnerware includes bowls and plates in a variety of sizes. They’re sturdy enough for soups but light-weight like any other disposable. The pieces currently offered from range from 35 cents for a 6”x6” square soup bowl to 58 cents for a 3.5” round dipping bowl.


Sour Beers for Summertime Refreshment

As pickled and preserved homegrown-foods continue to grow in popularity, it’s only natural that beverages with similar flavor profiles and origins would become more popular, too.

We recently highlighted shrub cocktails, the pre-colonial era, vinegar-based mixers and mixed drinks that are bubbling under the trend radar, but they’re not the only sour offering available at the bar. Sour beer recipes originating from 18th century Europe (and earlier) have a growing fan base among trend-driving craft beer aficionados all across America.

Sour beer served in snifters

“Sour” beers aren’t necessarily sour in flavor. They’re tart, fruity, and crisp, made so by bacteria added after the fermenting process. Before modern, sterile food processing became the norm, wild yeast and bacteria were just part of the beer brewing process. Today, most brewers who create sour beer add select souring agents in a fairly controlled fashion, but there are some who stick with tradition, allowing natural bacteria and yeast to work their unpredictable magic.

The dog days of summer are near, get to know what sour beers are available from your local craft brewers and lock in a selection for your own beer menu. Their crisp flavors, effervescence, and traditionally low alcohol by volume are ideal for craft beer aficionados who like to while away hot summer days at their favorite watering hole. Pilsner glasses suffice for serving sour beers, but flutes can highlight their coolness and carbonation, and snifters can intensify their aromas.