Event Catering Tips: Canapés, Sharing Platters and Bowl Food catering for any event

Event catering tips: Canapes, Bowl food, Sharing platters

Socialising or networking is the main reason for holding an event and food is a major part of bringing people together.

Making an event a success is derived from the experience your guests have at an event.

Little forms of artistic talent applied to the presentation of dishes is the main attraction. It gets people to try various foods that they would not normally order at a restaurant. A lot of catering companies’ expertise is portrayed in this form. It’s a way of integrating different tastes through culinary delights.

With the ongoing exposure to different cultural foods, catering companies are implementing these into their meals on special occasions whether it be bar mitzvahs, interracial marriages or a business cocktail party. People love trying something out of the norm.

The contacts that you make, people that inspire you are usually met at gatherings which creates less time being confined to a table for a meal. More and more events find selections of small bites such as canapés, sharing platters and bowl food to be a success when entertaining their friends or clients. It can create an atmosphere of relaxation and integration when a venue is slightly small to hold tables and chairs. Usually you get a choice of fresh produce, healthy fruits and various cuts of meat and seafood all in one evening.


Canapé’s and sharing platters also know as finger foods, are a wonderful way of expressing talents and cultural tastes as there is usually a varied selection on offer as opposed to a main meal. They can be substituted for a sit down three course meal or consumed as an appetizer with drinks before a formal, sit down dinner.

Canapés are more stylised and offer a classy touch to any event. Canapés are generally served at cocktail parties, where waiters circulate amongst the guests with trays of bite sized delicacies. Canapés are also becoming increasingly popular at Wedding Receptions, to be served on the lawn or terrace with Champagne, for an hour or so, prior to the Wedding breakfast. For a 2 hour cocktail party allow 10 canapé per guest, whereas canapés on the lawn before you go in to dinner, 5 would suffice.

Sharing Platters

Sharing Platters, especially as a starter to a 3 course banquet is a great way to break the ice and generate the conversation around the table. You can have it as a selection of Spanish Tapas, or Italian Anti Pasto, or even a selection of Greek Meze.

Bowl Food

Bowl Food, is going to be one of the culinary successes in the 21st Century. You could view the occasion as a substantial “cocktail” party, or even a standing five or six course meal!  There is no limit to what can be served in miniature bowls. You could start with a fish course, followed by 2 meat courses, then a Vegetarian course and finish with two desserts. All served in small miniature Chinese rice bowls, glass coupes, cups or ramekins.


Desserts are normally plentiful too when prepared as finger foods and so, you can have a full array of food through mouth size bites. Desserts can be served as canapés or bowl food.

The advantage is, there will be less cutlery and plates to clear away at the end of this style of catering and enjoyable in taste and flavour in every way possible.

Event catering tips: Canapes, Bowl food, Sharing platters

If you plan to have canapés, sharing platters and bowl food at your next event, here are a few pointers depending on the type of event and time of day:

1. For a mid-day event or a luncheon, you may want to calculate each person having 5 canapés or a group sharing a platter as appetisers before the main meal. If you are not having a main meal, then increase the choice on offer and note that guests will try at least one from each dish.

2. For an afternoon or late afternoon event usually known as a cocktail party or a drop in event, canapés are a wonderful ‘in-between meal’ snack. These events usually have a window of a few hours whereby people arrive and leave within that time frame and don’t necessarily stay till the end. Here, it’s more of a networking type of party with drinks flowing and trays of food being passed around amongst the guests by waiters. You will notice that guests will eat more during these events as some always come back for more food after a few drinks. Make sure that there is a selection that caters for all tastes and special diets if required. Vegetarian options should be aplenty and not just confined to one or two dishes.

Canapés are very popular for wedding receptions too. Depending on the time allocated before the next stage of the day, the amount of canapés should reflect.

3. For a dinner event that does not have a main meal but just small bites, you should calculate to around 10-15 pieces per person, located in easy to reach areas of the venue, or bowl food served to guests as they socialise. Again, note that guests will come back for more food later on in the evening after a few drinks as they are sure to get hungry again. A main meal does fill you up but with small bites, it’s a ‘process of time’ and so you don’t want to run out of food two hours before the end of the event. Canapés and bowl food should be offered throughout or at intervals if necessary.

Have a wonderful time planning your event and remember you are spoilt for choice when it comes to mouth size meals. Be creative and inspire yourself in the cultures around you and that of the guests you are inviting. Let there be something for everyone and give yourself time to present the dishes in an eye opening way through colour and simplicity.

If food preparation is not your ‘cup of tea’ and would want someone else to take away the hassle when it comes to the food and drink side of things then Heriot Caterers is your best choice. Heriot cater in London and surrounding counties and are known to be one of the best in the industry when it comes to catering for canapés, sharing platters and bowl food for private parties, wedding receptions and corporate events.

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16 thoughts on “Event Catering Tips: Canapés, Sharing Platters and Bowl Food catering for any event

  1. These are good tips, especially the one on the number of Canapes to order, as I never really had an idea before – thanks for the suggestion!

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  3. Great event catering tips you have shared here, nice to know that Canapés are more stylised and offer a classy touch to any event, this post is really great thanks for the tips.

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