Chef Bette Fraser, proprietor of The Well Traveled Fork, in Bend, came to Central Oregon after a 20-year career in Los Angeles and culinary training in Italy and France. For The Source Weekly's wedding issue, Chef Bette discusses some of the latest trends in wedding catering and shares her personal insight for making the experience exceptional and memorable.
Source Weekly (SW): "What are two or three of the biggest trends in wedding catering right now in Central Oregon?"
Chef Bette (CB): "People are using heritage dishes from their backgrounds and in conjunction with regional foods. For example, many brides from the region like to incorporate Pacific Northwest cuisine. Another new trend is offering a specialty ingredient, such as specialty salts. We use Jacobsen Salt Company from Oregon, which has specialty salts such as pinot noir salt and vanilla bean salt. There are various fun ways to make a dish a signature dish. Another growing trend is creating a food experience with guests participating in an interactive experience, such as build-your-own tacos or a crostini bar. New young brides want things to be very different from what their parents had."
SW: "Could you describe your passion for fresh, local, organic, seasonal and sustainable?"
CB: "This is the whole basis of our business. We make it a point to buy from farms and ranches in the area. Some brides are requesting to use food from Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). We only cook seasonally. For example, we don't use tomatoes in winter, which would come from out of state."
SW: "What are the catering price ranges to anticipate when planning?"
CB: "The price stays consistent throughout the seasons and ranges from 20 to 30 dollars per person. This is separate from the bar, cake and rental costs. It's important to have a tasting and to make sure everything is in the contract, so the bride and groom understand what the expenses are. They can manage the catering budget by managing the headcount."
SW: "How important is presentation with wedding catering and what are brides interested in right now?"
CB: "Presentation is everything. People eat with their eyes first. There are some different ways that people may be seated, such as long-wide tables, U-shaped tables and S-shaped tables. Some brides choose for the food to be served family style, with dishes placed on the table."
SW: "Looking forward, are there any trends on the horizon that are just beginning?"
CB: "One of the newest trends is donuts and there are very creative ways to display them. Craft cocktails are sweeping the nation and moving into weddings, too. Also, naked cakes, which are cakes without frosting are becoming popular."
Chef Bette adds that a lot of brides are looking to brunches, which are increasingly popular, opting for delicious breakfast food served with champagne. It can be a cost-saver, but it depends on the menu and what the couple wants.