Customizing your holiday catering for gluten-free, paleo and more | ParkRecord.com

Customizing your holiday catering for gluten-free, paleo and more

Specialty cheeses mix well with olives, fruit and meats, which caterers do their best to source locally. (Photo courtesy of Cathy Slusher)

It's personal. Your holiday party reflects not only you, but also how you care about your guests. So, why not make your party a uniquely festive affair with a caterer who can transform your vision into a memorable celebration sure to have guests going for seconds?

This year's culinary trends call for healthy alternatives without compromising flavor. Those gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo-loving guests need not worry about holiday parties with the abundance of tasty, protein-rich bites showing up on holiday menus. Modern caterers are simply adapting to the growing desire for light, healthy and, yet, flavorful meals.

Utah vegetable crudite adds color and freshness to any party. (Photo courtesy of Robert Wood)

Caterers like Eileen Dunn, owner of Done To Your Taste, source premier produce, meats and fish from local growers, as well as sustainable farms and ranches, so the cuisine is fresh, with flavor worth celebrating.

"We also take advantage of Utah's abundant harvest by pick- ling, preserving and dehydrating, adding more delectable options to your event," Dunn says.

Caterers like Done To Your Taste feature menus with bright alternatives to standard holiday fare. For example, grilled peach Utah goat cheese bruschetta, buffalo run ranch bison tenderloin, mesquite plank Rocky Mountain trout and Utah harvest vegetables provide regional delicacies that out-flavor conventional fare.

Local caterers, like Dunn, are passionate about making every vision a reality, and they accommodate clients' wildest wishes, while adhering to specific budgets.

"We can do anything," Dunn says, as she points out her famous Capresé bar replete with gourmet pestos, fresh herbs, oils and mozzarella balls for guest to skewer for themselves.

So, whether you're throwing a hearty holiday brunch, a trendy luncheone e, or a more formal dinner party, this year's menus call for high-quality cuisine, which o er an abundance of flavor. Here are just a few suggestions to positively impact your catered event this holiday season.

Share your dream and let your caterer create it. (Photo courtesy of Robert Wood)

Plan an initial conversation with your caterer and take note

Make sure your caterer gets to know who you are, what you like, and what you envision. If you're not exactly sure what that is, share your goal and guest list and allow caterers to cre- ate an event your guests will love. Today's great caterers and event planners emphasize sustainability, so let them know how important that is to your party. This is the first opportunity caterers have to express their talents, and they'll make every effort to show off their style.

You might also consider talking about hiring a private chef for smaller gatherings, whether it involves gourmet meal drop-o or an elegant sit-down dinner.

Create a realistic budget

Culinary expertise, great service and event organization all cost money, so while your caterer wants to impress you at every turn, it may not be possible to achieve all your dreams. Create your budget before beginning your conversation. Caterers like Done To Your Taste will help determine what's doable and what's beyond the realm of possibility. It's be er for a caterer to say no to a request, rather than promising the world, only to disappoint you the day of your party — or worse yet, when the bill arrives.

Let your caterer know of any special dietary needs or restrictions

Butternut squash soup with beet creme friache offers a healthy holiday treat. (Photo courtesy of Adam Finkle)

A quality caterer will ask in advance about any special requests, so be sure to talk about alternative menu items. Tell your caterer about that soy allergy or disdain for cilantro you or your guests may have right away. The sooner the caterer knows, the be er his or her team can gracefully work around special diets. Also be sure to let your caterer know your favorite dishes so you can enjoy the party menu, too. A well-planned menu provides a wide variety of quality foods and drinks to please everyone at your party.

Take advantage of the uniquely sourced foods only your caterer can offer

The great thing about hiring a caterer is that you can enjoy delicious foods you wouldn't create yourself. Take advantage of the outsourced ingredients from specialty purveyors, including organic meats and seafood, local cheeses and produce, and even chocolates. Your guests will be delighted by the superb quality and mouth-watering flavors of specialty dishes prepared with outsourced, local ingredients.

Tune into food stations

Eileen Dunn, owner of Done To Your Taste, stands next to one of her artisan specialities. (Photo courtesy of Cathy Slusher)

Food stations combine the best parts of buffets with the most elegant aspects of a sit-down dinner. Plus, they're fun. From a raw bar to classic cheeses, each station can feature a fabulous presentation of chicly plated dishes that pay tribute to ingredients. You can also create fabulously fun stations, featuring French fries, popcorn and ice cream sundaes for both kids and adults.

Some caterers, like Done To Your Taste, even provide baggies to go home with, so you can munch on their Superfoods Granola bags for a quick and nutritious energy boost the next day.

Don't overlook the bevs

Ask your caterer to concoct a festive holiday drink made with fresh, seasonal fruit to "punch" up the party. Rum's sugarcane spirit is experiencing a resurgence, and Park City's High West Distillery offers a variety of celebratory spirits that will keep the party going.

Remember the kids

Warm, non-alcohol drinks make a holiday party bright, whether sipped around the bonfire or part of a merry assortment of milks and ciders. Add a cookie decorating station or s'mores melting area, and kids will have a blast.

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Custom catering can brighten your holidays and free you up to have fun and relax with family and friends. Hiring a caterer is like giving a gi to yourself. And, with so much fresh, local cuisine available, there's definitely reason for celebration this year.

Done To Your Taste Catering & Events, Eileen Dunn
268 Main St., Park City
435.649.7503 or 435.783.3909
Eileen's Commissary:
70 East Center St., Kamas