The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog

Tips for Vegans at Catered Events

Posted on March 23, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor


By Julia Mathew, VRG intern

Having worked at a catering company for nearly seven months, I have had many first-hand experiences with accommodating vegetarians and vegans at various events. I would estimate that, typically, there are less than five vegetarians and vegans for every 100 guests at a given event. Although you may initially assume that there will be few, if any, veggie-friendly options at an event, always remember that communication with your event host and their coordinators is key and can make the biggest difference. I would suggest contacting the host of your event well in advance to ensure that there are sufficient options. This is not something to be ashamed of or looked down upon. Politely informing your host will only raise awareness and the demand for the catering company to offer more veggie-friendly options. Mainstream restaurants are now increasingly offering more vegetarian and vegan friendly items to their menu as a result of this same increase in demand and awareness!

Out of the passed hors d’oeuvres that my company offers, the edamame dumplings are the only option that is vegan-friendly. They do not contain eggs. The vegetarian appetizers almost always have some sort of cheese in them. Usually there is a spread of self-serve appetizers that includes artichoke hearts, sautéed mushrooms, roasted bell peppers, and avocados. None of these items contain butter or chicken broth and are cooked in oil as needed. In my opinion, these appetizers are more satisfying because they can be more readily eaten in abundance and without feeling lethargic after.

In terms of entrées, there is usually one vegetarian option offered at any given event, such as quinoa stuffed bell peppers (vegan) or sweet potato gnocchi. This option can often be made vegan, but other times dairy is infused in the meal. Some of the events I’ve worked at have had a specific vegan option, which was requested in advance. This is why being vocal about your dietary concerns is key! The vegetarian and vegan options often look very colorful, of variety, and aesthetically pleasing, making even the biggest meat-eaters curious. I’ve even had some people request a vegetarian or vegan meal, subsequent to seeing the healthy, hearty, and artful dishes of other guests at their table.

There have been a few events where guests were not able to voice their needs to the host or to a business for a more corporate event. Under these circumstances, talk to an event manager or coordinator present at the event. They will maintain constant communication with the kitchen to ensure that you will have a sufficient meal. Baked baby potatoes, grilled or sautéed vegetables, fruit, and salads are almost always offered by catering companies at any event. Even if the kitchen has not prepared a specific dish to satisfy your dietary needs in advance, they are often trained to be creative and to make ends meet in spontaneous situations. Ultimately, it is important to remember that it is a catering company’s utmost duty and priority to ensure that its guests and hosts are ecstatic about the food and service they received. They will go to great lengths to ensure that your needs and concerns are properly met, so do not be afraid to speak up!

For more information about catering, see:

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