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Gino Spano

 Tags: Catering Trends

Smoke is the flavour trend of 2018, as chefs and caterers alike have embraced the endless cooking possibilities and renewed sophistication a grilled menu can deliver to guests. For a menu that’s truly delicious, incorporate any of these seven catering BBQ trends into your event this spring.

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1. Slow-Cooked Meat

Slow cooking over the barbeque and charcoal flames infuses the dish with flavour, and this delicious, savoury techniqueis being introduced to the masses. Choose between classics, such as lamb and beef, or serve both options. Guests will love how the dish melts in their mouths. If you’re feeling inspired, ask caterers to season a lamb shoulder with lemon zest and harissa, or see what other ideas they have.


2. Mexican-Style Corn

You’ve no doubt sampled this flavourful dish, known as elote, at your favourite taco joint. Forget plain corn on the cob: This dish grills sweet corn, possibly covered in smoky chipotle, until it’s charred and bursting with flavour. Once the corn is done on the grill, it’s topped with cotija cheese, cayenne, lime, and a few other ingredients. Just be sure to provide plenty of napkins.


3. Hasselback Potatoes

This Swedish dish is nothing new, but its cooking process is getting revamped. These accordion cut, roasted, buttery, and cheesy potatoes are now being grilled on hardwood chips for added fire and smoky flavour. This smoky taste is precisely what brings a new bite to the dish. Use a razor-thin cutter to really open up the potato and allow the smoky scent to inflame throughout.


4. Thin Steaks & Chops

Barbequing a fat rib-eye steak is becoming a thing of the past. Thinner, Asian-inspired cuts are all the rage for the grill this season. The idea behind this reduced portion is that thin meat marinates and cooks faster, allowing a higher ratio of spice and smoke to meat. The higher percentage of meat exposed to the grill intensifies the flavour, so the diner experiences a savoury exterior. Try thin-cut pork chops, paired with a spicy mustard.


5. Veal

Veal seems to be that dish most people have forgotten about. But it’s back in a big way: on the barbeque. The great thing about barbequing veal is that it doesn’t require a lengthy smoking time because it soaks up smoke like a sponge. This mild meat is spectacular when grilled and, if the thought of calves makes you squeamish, it can be eaten today with a clean conscience. Ask if your caterer opts for “group-raised” or “pasture” labels when shopping for veal.


6. Grilled Veggies and Cheese

It’s no secret that we’re preferring healthier food choices, becoming increasingly conscious about what we eat. Everyone is looking for tips to keep their menus healthy and delicious. Serve grilled vegetable skewers, loaded with onions, peppers, mushrooms, and tomatoes, drizzled with oil or marinated with spices. Additional toppings could include halloumi cheese, which intensifies the juicy sweetness of the vegetables.


7. A Global BBQ

If there’s one trend eminent from the menu choices above, it’s that diverse world flavours are taking over the grill. This versatile cooking style is getting noticed, and chefs are beginning to incorporate and experiment with global cuisines in new ways. Western barbeque meets ethnic cuisine as the grill becomes a melting pot of flavour.

World dishes are being recreated on home turf, as seen in Asian-influenced dishes and Spanish sides. From grilled cod fillets to king prawns with crunchy wok veggies, there’s no limit to grilling choices. Barbequing isn’t just for a backyard party, it’s being embraced by chefs everywhere.

Looking for more inspiration? Savour this delicious list of reads for food lovers and caterers in 2018.



Gino Spano

Starting with roots in a kitchen at 14 years old, he worked his way up the ranks and by the young age of 17 was responsible for daily events of 50 to 600 people. Gino continued to use his talents to work in catering, banquet and restaurant kitchens across the GTA. His love for Italian, French and Asian cuisine paired with his wide variety of knowledge brought him success in his new venture at Seventh Heaven in 2001. Over the past 12 years, he has cooked many meals for social events, corporate events and government officials. His love for new challenges brought him into corporate sales where he and the Seventh Heaven team won Best Catered Event for Canadian Linen’s “The Great White North” – Facility Grand Opening in 2009.
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