Creative Catering Ideas to Wow Your Event Guests

By Lauren Morison /Australian Venue Expert

Sat 22nd Apr 2023 Corporate Venues · Social Venues · Wedding Venues ·

dumpling bar


Dumpling Bar at Zest Waterfront Boathouse at The Spit in Sydney


How many parties have you been to this year? A few? Dozens? Too many to count? Chances are, you’ve been to enough gatherings that they all start to run together in your mind. And yet, when you’re tasked with planning your own event, the last thing you want is for your guests to walk away without remembering a special moment, an interesting idea, or even a tasty morsel of food they tried.

To help you create a more memorable event, we’ve rounded up some of the most creative catering ideas we’ve seen across Instagram, followed by industry-wide trends that have become popular in recent years. If the culinary experience of your event is important to you, start with choosing the right venue.

Many event venues pride themselves on their creative ideas and ways of presenting everything from tray-passed small bites to beautifully crafted desserts. Some catering companies exclusively deliver unique experiences like outdoor roasts and foraged food displays. In short, you can develop something memorable or lean into the experts to guide you to the most exciting approach.


A tiny forest presentation for foraged-style hors d’eouvres

Mini tacos and margarita sippers

A multi-level architectural feat of cheese by Zest in Sydney

Ringmaster presents carnival-style snacks

Tableside carved roast on a glitzy rolling bar cart at The Lanesborough in London

Burrata-stuffed tomato look-a-likes


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A post shared by Pinch Food Design (@pinchfooddesign)

A smash-open pillow filled with your first course


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A post shared by Pinch Food Design (@pinchfooddesign)


Old Western-style cookouts for outdoor events


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A post shared by Heirloom Fire (@heirloomfire)


Dessert floated in on balloons


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A post shared by Pinch Food Design (@pinchfooddesign)


Sorbet-stuffed lemons


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A post shared by La Mercerie (@lamercerieny)


Oscars-approved individually plated wheels of chocolate


Slow-roasted whole fruits for dessert


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A post shared by Heirloom Fire (@heirloomfire)


Still looking for more tried-and-true catering ideas? Here are some more options you can pull off at just about any venue. Speak with your venue manager for inspiration and ask if they have any of their own interactive station ideas or signature dish presentations.


Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream

Is it science? Is it food? Well, it’s both actually! A treat for both the eyes and the stomach, this ‘lab experiment meets dessert’ will wow your guests with its instant freezing and unique texture. A next level ice cream experience.


Gourmet Popcorn Bar

Who says popcorn is purely a cinema snack? Elevate your dessert table by including a gourmet popcorn bar with different flavors and toppings. As well as the traditional sweet and salted flavours – guests can tuck into inventive taste sensations like truffle oil, parmesan cheese, and caramel. 


Liquid Desserts

With cocktails being an evergreen trend, why not offer liquid desserts at your event? Hire a cocktail specialist to create a delicious concoction that tastes just like your guest’s favourite pudding. For those you may prefer an alcohol-free option, we hear the creamy chocolate brownie tipple is to die for!


DIY Tacos

For fans of Mexican-inspired cuisine, a DIY taco bar is a no-brainer. From soft shell fish tacos, to a delicious traditional option, this hands-on option – complete with a range of salsas and cheeses – is guaranteed to please guests who enjoy their food with a kick to it!


Multi-level Charcuterie Board

A classic of the catering world, why not add a twist to your charcuterie boards by making them a multi-level masterpiece. 

Present your cured meats, imported cheeses and other international delicacies across several levels to impress your foodie guests. You could even get creative by adding tasty additions like fresh fruit, nuts, and dipping sauces.


Interactive Food Stations and Demos

For a more hands on catering option, try adding interactive food stations to your event. From custom made pizzas to crepes loaded with yummy fillings, guests will jump at the chance to craft their own dishes.

To add an extra wrinkle, how about including a live cooking demonstration. Engage and entertain your guests, as they watch their favourite dish being created right in front of them.


Miniature Food

Does the saying ‘Your eyes are bigger than your belly’ ring a bell? Buffets and large sit-down meals can leave attendees feeling tired, meaning they’re often less engaged in the rest of your day. 

Adding miniature food is a great way to offer a variety of dishes without overwhelming your guests. If you’re looking for a crowd-pleasing selection of goodies – burger sliders, mini pizzas, fresh sushi and bite size desserts are popular plate fillers at large gatherings.


Still looking for a venue that delivers an innovative catering experience in your area? Speak with our venue experts today, and we’ll guide you to some of the very best.


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