Top 5 Tips

Tips From the Professional: Should you be concerned about special dietary needs at your event?

By | Ask Mary, Culinary Crafts Events, Event Tips and Planning, Every Day Life at Culinary Crafts, Tips, Top 10 Tips, Top 5 Tips

Today on the blog, we thought it would be fun to ask one of our Culinary Crafts Event Pros some of the top questions our clients always ask!  One of the questions we are seeing more and more of is the question of ‘special diets’ and guests: should you ask about special diets or restrictions?  And, if so, how should I handle that?  Well, we are in luck!  One of our senior corporate event experts, Ashley Veenendaal, is giving us AAAALLL the answers!

So, should you be concerned about special dietary needs at your event  The answer is a resounding yes! When you host an event, making your guests feel welcome is part of
the deal. Ensuring that each person attending has something they can eat will be a central part of achieving that. However, navigating allergies and dietary restrictions doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Here are a some ways to accommodate your guests to the best of your ability.

~Ask your guests to inform you of any dietary needs as early on as possible. These days people will often let you know right away if they need specialized food. Especially if they have a severe allergy. But not always…:) It is much easier to plan ahead for this than to be scrambling at the time of the event to provide food for them.

~A lot of food preferences can be combined. For example, there are limitless delicious recipes that are gluten free, vegan, paleo, and keto friendly across the board. Adding side dishes to a menu that meet those requirements will help keep labor, cost and stress levels to a minimum!

~If your guest has a religious restriction be sure to ask them more about the extent to which they practice. Guests that follow strict Kosher or Halal guidelines may require you to bring in special food from a certified kitchen. Or they it may be as simple as not serving certain menu items. A quick look online will help you educate yourself as you get ready to design a menu.

~ Be very upfront with ingredients. Labeling foods on the menu will make your guests feel at ease about what they are eating.

~If a guest neglects to tell you about a dietary restriction or allergy until the event is happening, it’s okay! Graciously explain why you are not prepared for that and then find a means of making a special plate for them. It could be as simple as providing them with extra salad and a lemon. The gesture will be appreciated.

~If you are going through a catering company, be sure and let your event planner know about any food needs that need to be met, While they will often have some foods available to cover everyone the amount sent will be more accurate if they know what to plan for.

Thank you, Ashley!  I hope that helps all you feel more at ease (and even excited) to offer special dietary items to your guests!  It’s definitely a great way to be creative with the menu, but also show your guests that you are keeping them in mind, and they will appreciate it so very much!  Happy planning, everyone!

Check out more Salt Lake City, Park City, and Utah County catering at!

How Much Alcohol Should You Plan For Your Event?

By | Culinary Crafts Events, Event Tips and Planning, Parties, Tips, Top 5 Tips

By Ashley Veenendaal

One of the most common questions we get in the event planning industry is “How much alcohol should I plan for my event?” Running out of alcohol before guests have had a reasonable and fun number of drinks is definitely a joy kill at the party. If you are not using a bar service who specialize in estimating the amount of alcohol needed, then there are a few rules of thumb that will keep the party going.

How long will your party be going on?

Most often guests will imbibe 2 drinks in the first hour and one per hour thereafter. So if you are planning on a 4-hour party you will want to be prepared for guests to drink 4-5 drinks during that time. Of course there will be guests who drink more and those who drink less. This more often than not will even things out.

That being said you will also want to consider who your guests are. This may be a generous amount for a group of light drinkers (always better to have some left over for next time). Or it may be lacking for a group of hard drinkers (consider how drunk you want to see your guests and what the transportation plan is afterward before upping the amount of alcohol.)

How much do you get from a bottle?

There are hundreds of alcohol math calculators online but some standard measurements, (depending on how heavy handed you are with the pour), look like this:

Wine: 5-6 glasses per bottle

Champagne:6-7 glasses per bottle

Beer: You will have to decide if your guests love their beer or prefer something else. This will determine whether you plan on 2 bottles/cans or 5. Keep in mind local & craft breweries also have a higher alcohol content. Here in Utah we don’t have kegs, so for those of you who are having an event were they are legal, ask the purveyor.

Spirits: Vodka, Rum, Whiskey, Gin & Tequila. These are the basics that guests will ask for. 15-20 pours per bottle depending on the cocktail. You will want to look at the amount of each liquor & mixers going into a drink to determine more accurately how many bottles you will need.

What are you serving?

If you are only serving beer and wine generally guests will drink more red wine (unless it’s summer & it’s hot) then consider adding some rose to the mix. Otherwise plan on buying more red than white. This is where you have to gauge whether your guests are bigger wine or beer drinkers.

For a full bar we would suggest 50% wine, 30% beer & 20% spirits, again it’s going to really help if you know your crowd. Another fun suggestion is to serve beer, wine & one or two signature cocktails. It makes the bar memorable if guests are offered a delicious new cocktail as well as minimizing the variety of alcohol you will need to purchase. Often signature cocktails can also be designed to work without alcohol for your non-drinking guests and it’s important not to neglect them. Have fun, be safe & DON’T RUN OUT OF BOOZE.

Setting the Perfect Table

By | Event Tips and Planning, How To, Parties, Top 5 Tips

By Kaleb Crafts

Whether you are planning a corporate function, your big wedding day or just entertaining your closest friends for an intimate dinner party, the table setting sets the tone for the event more than almost anything else. Here are a few tips to help you think through this important piece to your event.

The Linen

The right tablecloth or linen is the first thing down on the table. A clean, crisp, white, linen that hangs just to the floor can be a great fit for any event, but get creative. Bring some colors in, use some unique patterns or fabrics. Don’t hesitate to get out the sewing machine and quickly hem or surge an edge on your favorite fabric. Add a pop of color with a runner or additional cloth overlay. Be mindful of textures and how they go together.

The Centerpiece

Get creative with your arrangements. Fresh florals can be used in almost any situation and tailored to fit the feel of the party. However, don’t be tied down to florals alone, add in votive candles, tiles, mirrors, beads, etc. For themed parties, use anything from sports caps to wood boxes to tiki torches. One thing to keep in mind is that while a tall and wide centerpiece will certainly be breathtaking at first glance, it can detract from table conversation once guests are seated. If it blocks the view of guests who are opposite one another, it can be bothersome.  

The Serviceware

Pick a china pattern that fits the event. If you have space and budget, add a charger or service plate to the place setting. The flatware should look cohesive with the china and be set according to common etiquette. An entire book could be written about place setting etiquette, so I won’t go into too much detail. But keep the flatware half an inch from the edge of the table and work outside in, meaning that the flatware should be placed in the order it will be used throughout dinner service working from the outside towards the plate. I love this picture from that shows a traditional formal setting. In most circumstances, you won’t have all of these pieces set and you won’t set more than 3 pieces of flatware to left and right of the plate at a time, but this shows where the appropriate location for pretty much anything you could think of would go.  

The Accouterments

It is always helpful to think through the evening and plan the additional needs on the table accordingly. Salt and pepper shakers, water pitchers, place cards, table numbers, etc. Keep in mind that the additional items placed on the table may clutter the clutter and detract from the rest of the table.  

I hope these quick tips help you at your next big event and remember, life is too short to eat bad food.  

Delectable Food Photography Tips for Mouth-Watering Images

By | Culinary Crafts Events, Food, Top 5 Tips, Wedding Trends

It doesn’t matter whether you’re trying to gain more followers on Instagram or another social platform, upgrade your cooking website by refreshing it with new images, or perhaps publish a cookbook – whatever your reasons are, photos sell your product!

You need to learn how to take photos visitors on your website or your followers and friends online will cry over. It’s not as difficult as it sounds and you’ll need to stick to a couple of rules.


Use Natural Lighting

If you want to get the right color and make it clear to everyone looking at the photo that you were in the presence of a culinary master-piece, my suggestion is to use natural lighting and take your photos in daylight. The flash of your camera, along with other forms of artificial lights will change the natural shade of the meal in front of you, and you want everything to look natural and tasty.

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Choose Your Pieces with Care

Before you take a photo, it’s important that you select only the most representable pieces of food you want to capture on camera. So, you need to spend some time making that selection in order to end up with a photo that’s absolutely perfect.

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Find Just the Right Angle

This one will take time and you must endure in your persistence – probably the most difficult thing about catching the yumminess of a certain meal and transferring it into a photo is finding the right angle. You’ll need to move around and experiment.

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Have a Tripod with You

Photo shoots require precision and you don’t want something like your hands shaking due to tiredness to stand in the way of you making the perfect photo. You can easily solve this problem if you carry your tripod with you, so make it an essential piece of your equipment.

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Experiment with Your Composition

Photographing food is a time-sensitive process – either it will get cold or it will melt before your eyes. So, if you don’t see things working out in the very beginning, change the table right away and move that composition in front of you around until you make it look as delicious as it tastes. Naturally, you’ll need a good photo editing job done afterwards so you can accent those crumbling layers and emphasize colors.

If you plan on doing this in the future, my suggestion is to learn about setting the table and decorating it with the use of various ornaments. This can come in handy when you’re on the set and trying to get the perfect photo, because you will be able to spot if anything is wrong with the composition in front of you, so you can fix it right away and prevent the food from getting ruined right before your eyes. There’s a lot to be learned here and you can only become better with practice, so make sure to get lots of it.

Guest post: written by Isabella Foreman

How To Make A Simple Chantilly Cream (Only 3 Ingredients!)

By | Event Tips and Planning, Food, How To, Tips, Top 10 Tips, Top 5 Tips

Homemade Chantilly cream is the perfect way for you to impress your guests at your next BBQ and can be used on top of any dessert. We used petite key lime pies for this recipe, but you can use whichever dessert your heart desires!

Last week we did a post on why making homemade whipped cream is so worth your time. Give it a read, find it here.

Ingredients needed for Chantilly Cream on Key Lime Pies.

Things you’ll need for the Chantilly cream

  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

For garnishing

  • Strawberries
  • Ground pistachios
  • Black berries
  • Mint

Other items

  • Petite key lime pies
  • Spatula
  • Piping bag
  • Stand mixer with whip attachment

The first thing you’ll want to do if you have the time is chill the mixing bowl and whisk in the freezer for 10 minutes. It will whip better if you do this.

The cream will double in size, so if you want 2 cups of whipped cream then you use 1 cup of whipping cream. Make sure the whipping cream is cold before you use it.

Put the whipping cream in the bowl and whisk on medium until it gets foamy (about 1 minute.)

Note: Do NOT whip on high! It will over beat, get grainy, and will deflate faster. 

Whip cream pic stitch

Then gradually add the vanilla and sugar. Then it’ll take only about 2 minutes until it gets to soft peak. Some people like to use powdered sugar instead of granulated sugar, but we think granulated sugar tastes better.

Whip cream pic stitch 2

After the soft peak, it can only take a few seconds to get perfect. Watch it carefully! If you do over beat it, you can add in a little bit more whipping cream and fold it into your already whipped cream. Make sure you fold it over, do not mash it and get rid of the air. You can also do this after your whipped cream has been sitting in the fridge for a few days.

Whip cream pic stitch 3

When your whipping cream is done, put it in a piping bag and pipe onto your dessert!

Whip cream pic stitch 4

Prepare your toppings. Quarter the strawberries since the pies are small, rinse your berries and ground the pistachios. Put onto of your dessert.

Whip cream pic stitch 5

Now you’re done!! You have perfect little key lime pies with Chantilly cream.

Whip Cream Recipe

Whip Cream Pinterest

How to make a potato rose wrapped in bacon

By | Event Tips and Planning, Food, How To, Tips, Top 10 Tips, Top 5 Tips

We’re showing you how to make a potato in the shape of a rose! We call it, a potato rose.


Things you’ll need:

  • Potato
  • Apple smoked bacon
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Chefs knife
  • Mandaline slicer
  • Cutting board

First, cut off the ends of the potato and peel off all the skin. After all the skin is off, take the mandolin slicer and slice the potato into thinslices.

Potato 1

Potato 3

Take the slices and line them up in a straight line. Start from the bottom of the line and roll the slices up together.

Potato 2

Once it’s in a roll, wrap the bacon around the bottom edge.

Potato 3

Spray the cupcake tin and place the rose in it. Add a little salt and pepper on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes, or until brown. It’s done! Enjoy your delicious potato rose.



Potato recipe picture

Here’s the link to our Pinterest Page!

Potato Pin

Wednesday Wisdom: Top 5 Tips on Planning A Stellar Birthday Party!

By | Top 5 Tips, Wednesday Wisdom

We at Culinary Crafts love all types of events, from weddings to corporate events and everything in between.  But we will always have a special place in our hearts for Birthday Parties!!!  Today, I’d like to give our top 5 tips to take any birthday party you are planning over the top!  Check it out!

1.  Know Your Crowd.  For any birthday party, it is always a good idea to know your crowd.  If you are just going to be having a party for a 16 year old and all the guests are about that age as well, you can easily gear the party and entertainment for the teenager set.  If you are having a birthday party for a 50 year old, however, and families and friends are invited, it becomes a bit more tricky.  You’ll want some of the food and entertainment to gear towards the adults, but also, to make sure the kids aren’t bored by the ‘grown-up’ fun, provide kid friendly activities and food selections too!  Everyone will leave totally happy and talking about the party of the year!

2.  Details make the party.  If you’ve read this blog for any period of time, you know I’m a sucker for details.  I love, love, love the way details can make a party go from regular to EXTRAORDINARY!  Birthday parties are an excellent time to have fun with details and themes.  A whimsical cake, an over the top theme, a candy table to die for – all excellent details to consider.  And since its a birthday party, you can really go all out and have fun with it.

3.  Use the venue to your advantage.  As with any event, make sure you take the venue into consideration.  Good use of space can make sure that your guests have plenty to see, plenty to do, and tons of yummy food to eat!

4.  Provide entertainment.  Whether you want to make your party a carnival theme or a laid-back, elegant, “hoe-down”, you should make sure to entertain your guests.  I’m not saying everyone needs to hire the Oakridge Boys (like the birthday party above) but having something to entertain your guests will make it the party they won’t soon forget!

5.  Make it all about the Birthday Girl or Boy.  At the end of the day, it’s YOUR birthday and your birthday party.  Make sure you choose to do things you like and serve food that you love.  You can still make sure that all your guests have a blast and also make sure that you have the party you want!

Happy planning everyone!

Check out our website at!

Photo credits: ZumaPhoto and Keith Westerberg

Monday Musings: Top 5 Halloween DIY Decor

By | Holiday Parties, Monday Musings, Top 5 Tips

Hello all!  This week, we are super excited for the upcoming Halloween weekend!  To celebrate, every day on the blog, we’ll have a Halloween spin on our daily themes – starting with today’s Top 5 Halloween DIY Decor!  Check it out – and if you’d like to try your hand at any of  these projects – just click the link below the image!

Spooky Luminarias

Creepy Bird Window Silhouettes

Head Waiter Serving Tray

Bloody Candles

Dubious Drink Labels

I hope this adds a little ‘spooky’ to your home! Enjoy!

Check out our website at!

All images from Martha Stewart

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas!

By | Top 5 Tips, Uncategorized

Today I’d like to give some Mother’s Day gift ideas from some of the outstanding local companies we have right here in Utah!  We are so lucky to have so many excellent local resources at our disposal and wouldn’t your Mother (or you) love something made here in our community?

For the Gourmet Foodie Mom:

Here in Utah, we have so many yummy local food stops that you could find any mom with a passion for food something that will really knock her socks off!  Above, Beehive Cheese Company‘s Barely Buzzed Cheddar, Chocolat‘s 24 piece truffle sampler and RubySnap‘s Vivianna cookies.  Other places to check out are Liberty Heights Fresh, The Sweet Tooth Fairy, High West Distillery, Amano Chocolates, and Nutty Kernal.

For the Spa Lovin’ Mom:

Let’s face it.  Being a mom is a lot of work sometimes.  To relieve that stress, how about giving your mom a salon or spa service? Pictured above the Enizio Salon, The Kura Door, and a spa gift set from Bubble & Bee.  Also check out Richelle’s Salon & Spa.

For the Green Thumb Mom:

Is your mom a plant guru?  Does her garden beautify the entire block?  Or does she just love cultivating the nature around her?  Well then you should definitely check out getting her a gift of growing things!  Above, flowers and plants from Millcreek Gardens and Cactus & Tropicals and arrangements from Tri|Fec|Ta Floral Design.  Also check out Grow Wild Nursery.

For the Arty Crafty Mom:

Does your mom love music?  Or art?  Or doesn’t she just love to create?  Well, maybe you should get her something that shows you love her creative side!  Shown above, limited edition prints and frames from Signed & Numbered, card from The Write Image, handkerchief from Stitched, and music from Slowtrain Music.  Also check out SproutPhoto, Frosty Darling, Sereph, Print in Cursive and Sycamore Street Press.

Happy Mother’s Day everyone!!!

Check out our website for more eye candy at!

Top 5 Tips – Selecting A Color Palette

By | Modern Wedding Style, Hot Tips for Cool Brides, Top 5 Tips

I know that many of you are planning your weddings right now, so I thought it would be a good idea to give Culinary Craft’s Top 5 Tips on selecting a color palette, directly from our Executive Director, Rachel Heimer!  Take it away!

Here are my Top 5 Tips for creating a color palette:

  1. Limit your color palette to no more than 3 colors, however, it is definitely okay to use shades of the colors you’ve selected to create variety and visual interest!
  2. When using a 3 color palette, it is a good idea to use one color as an accent and the other 2 as more main colors  so that it doesn’t get too busy and there will be pops of color throughout the space.
  3. Make sure to take your style and the style of your wedding into consideration.  If you are having a shabby chic wedding, you want to use more muted, neutral colors or muted pastels.  If you are having a retro, contemporary wedding use vivid, primary colors. 
  4. Use your venue to your advantage.  If you have a large space with white walls, consider it a blank canvas.  Lighting can really create drama and bring in your color palette.  If it is outdoors or an indoor garden area, green becomes your neutral.  Whites and bright colors pop and add visual impact.
  5. Most importantly, however, you have to remember to make it your own!  It’s your wedding day and should reflect you and your partner’s personality and style.  Don’t be afraid of color or breaking the rules!  Happy planning!

Remember to enter the contest and giveaway from our partners at Diamond Rental!  A linen overlay will really add a beautiful visual effect to your color palette!!!

Remember to check out our website for more tips, ideas, and inspiration!