All posts in catering tips

Top Fall New Jersey Wedding Reception Menu Trends

Posted in: Catering, catering tips, nj wedding caterer

By Christopher F. Ives, Founder & Executive Chef

Right now you may be sitting at the pool or the Jersey Shore basking in the sun, but soon, the weather will turn chilly and the fall wedding season here in NJ will be in full swing.

Clientsfall soup rely on our Sir Ives wedding planning team to offer education and recommendations on up-to-the-minute catered wedding trends.

Everyone wants their wedding reception celebration to be unique and memorable.  To do this, you need to be creative and surprise your guests with some original and unexpected flourishes.

There is no better way to accomplish this that with your wedding meal.

Worry no more—we’ve got you covered with these fresh and inventive ideas for your fall wedding menu, corporate event or special occasion:

Specialty Cocktail with Your Personal Stamp

The Hot Toddy.

Embrace a festive and warming hot toddy presented to your guests with sugared rims and a cinnamon stick for some swizzle. Still can’t part with champagne? Spice it up with super-slim cinnamon sticks and continue the crystalized sugar rim theme.

Reinventing the Salad Starter

Couples continue to forego the same-old salad course for more interesting options. For fall weddings, a popular alternative is soup. To carry it off, it’s all about presentation and flavor–consider squash bisque served in little hollowed-out pumpkins or butternut squash soup ladled over crumbled blue cheese.

Seafood-based starters are also very popular, but you can bypass the standard crab cakes in favor of flavorful smoked salmon or fish mousse.

If you do opt for a salad appetizer, add a seasonal element–aged cheddar, pumpkin seeds, grapes, or figs.

Entertaining Entrees

You can’t go wrong with the classics – filet mignon, roasted chicken, and salmon will always be crowd-pleasers. Also consider rack of lamb or thick, delicious pork chops. I like Cornish hens instead of chicken for a more stylish alternative.

Trending down:  Dessert bars

It’s over. People are weary of the over-the-top dessert bars with more sweet selections than most stomachs can handle.

Wedding desserts are moving in a more simple and elegant direction. Yes, there is “the cake,” of course (which is a topic worthy of its own blog post).

But other feature desserts we are suggesting to clients for fall 2015 NJ weddings include:

  • caramel-coated lady apples on cinnamon sticks
  • an apple cider donut suspended on a demitasse spoon over a shot glass of milk
  • small-scale warmed apple pie a la mode served in martini glasses

When you find the right wedding caterer to work with (and we hope it’s us!) impress upon them your desire to serve a few special items during your meal that are inventive and unexpected.

By doing so, you express to your guests how much you care about them and that you made a special effort to show your appreciation by serving a very special wedding menu.


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Sir Ives’ Most Popular Salad Recipe for Summer Weddings

Posted in: Catering, catering tips

By Christopher F. Ives, Executive Chef, Sir Ives Caterers, Monroe Township

A beautiful salad course is key to a wonderful wedding reception meal, particularly in the summer months when vegetables are at their freshest.

In thgreens-pistachios-avocado_salade past year, we’ve updated and enhanced our special occasion salad course selections.

The Sir Ives executive chef team here in our Monroe offices sampled hundreds of salad combinations and dressings. We concluded that simple, flavorful ingredients work best, especially when you add a little crunch with a sweet and salty punch.

Our goal was to offer a fresh, beautiful salad presentation that surprises guests and subtly lets them know that a special and memorable meal is forthcoming!

We’d like to share our most popular salad  course ordered by Sir Ives clients for their summer 2015 menus here in NJ.

I hope you will enjoy it as much as our guests do!

Sir Ives’ Artisan Lettuces With Avocado Dressing and Pistachios

Serves 8 Guests

1 diced avocado

1 cup buttermilk

4 teaspoons sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar

kosher salt and black pepper

12 cups mixed color spring lettuces (such as red leaf, watercress, and baby bok choy) lightly chopped if necessary

1 cup shelled roasted pistachios

In a food processor, process the avocado, buttermilk, vinegar and spices until smooth.
Immediately before serving, drizzle the lettuces with the dressing and sprinkle with pistachios.

Present on beautiful plates with a thin slice of sweet Artisan bread.


Photo courtesy of Anna Williams at
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Relax, Let Sir Ives Cater Your NJ Party in Style

Posted in: Catering, catering tips, Corporate event
Relax, Let Sir Ives Cater Your NJ Party in Style

chef-at-workWhether you are planning a corporate event, breakfast meeting, wedding or any other event in New Jersey or New York, consider hiring a professional caterer to oversee your important occasion (or even a more casual celebration at your home).

Of course, there’s a cost, but the benefits are significant:

* You have a great time at your own party

* You do not have the hassle of planning, shopping, prep, clean-up

* We can manage décor, seating, tableware, linens, flowers, entertainment.

* Your guests are impressed and have a wonderful time!

But, wait, there are even more benefits:

Sir Ives Professional Servers Make Your Event Polished and Upscale

Our attractive and professionally-dressed servers will:

* Pass and present food and drinks

* Continually pick up empty plates, bottles, glasses

* Keep an eye on your guests to ensure that everyone’s needs are met

* Provide you with time to mingle with your guests

We Save Your Valuable Time

Parties and events that bring together lots of people, serving them all without the help of a professional caterer can be an arduous and time-consuming task. We know exactly how to create the menu to make the food, the desserts and the drinks complimentary. The only thing you need to do is to furnish us with dietary specifications, cuisine preferences and the number of people attending your event.

Enough Food, the Right Food, the Freshest Food

Food shortages can embarrass you and ruin your celebration. You need the services of an experienced caterer who will make proper estimates based on the number of attendees. This ensures the right amount of food and drinks are abundant until your last guest leaves your event.

si-slider_0001Customized Services

Different events have different needs and this also applies to the food and drinks. Sir Ives Caterers will work with you to ensure that the kind of food that is prepared is in line with the number of guests, their dietary preferences and any special needs. In addition, our professional catering staff will help you to create the kind of party that is appropriate for you which will make your event memorable and unique.

Every Detail Will Be Managed by a Professional Sir Ives Event Planner

We have the experience and the skill set required to make your party a success. Apart from the food and drinks, we look at the big picture and factor in every detail. For instance, we know the kind of utensils and serving dishes to use. Buffet set-ups with linens and skirting. Great eye appeal will make the dining experience more enjoyable.

Lady BossChat with Sir Ives Caterers

Call our professional event planning team at (732) 521-1108 to chat about your special event coming up.

We’d love to share our ideas and hear yours as well!

Prefer to email us? Contact us at and we’ll respond within 24 hours.

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Make Your NJ Fourth of July Party Memorable with Brownie Fruit Kabobs!

Posted in: Catering, catering tips, Company Picnic, Corporate event

At every corporate or private event we cater, a Sir Ives specialty touch is to feature something simple, delicious and unusual.

Here’s a perfect example you may wish to use for your weekend entertaining:

Whenever we present these simple and summer-fresh kabobs, our clients and guests always remark how pretty and tasty they look and taste.

If you are finalizing your Fourth of July menu, this may be just the dessert to WOW your guests!Brownie-Kebab with chocolate

Brownie-Kebab1-jpgSir Ives Caterers Brownie and Fruit Kabobs

Start with homemade or purchased brownies that are not too soft. Chill them before threading onto the skewers to harden them up a bit. (Chill your strawberries and blueberries also.)

Grab a bag of grocery store marshmallows (yes you may be able to find patriotic versions!) and thread away.

Finally, it’s drizzle time!  In a quick back-and-forth motion, drizzle the kabobs with chocolate right out of the bottle!

Chill them for a few minutes or serve immediately.

Enjoy and Happy Fourth!

(photos courtesy of


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Tips for hosting the best New Jersey graduation party

Posted in: Catering, catering tips, Graduation

graduation party catering tipsChef Christopher offers tips for hosting the best New Jersey graduation party

School’s out, summer’s in, and friends, neighbors, family are happy to gather together to celebrate the new graduate.

Here in NJ, we’re about a month away from many graduation parties that will be held from Bergen County to Burlington County.

Every family wants to honor their child–but not have to use college tuition money to pay for it.

Sir Ives Caterers, specializing in off-premise catering in all parts of New Jersey, has catered countless graduation parties in its 30+-year history. Christopher F. Ives, our CEO and Executive Chef, offered some of his best kept secrets for hosting a successful and fun graduation party:

The Food – When and How

“I always recommend throwing a party in mid-afternoon so your guests do not arrive starving,” Chef Christopher says. “A second key tip is to serve food and beverages at different locations (stations) to avoid the food table being swarmed with guests waiting in line.”


Chef Christopher says the best (and most affordable) option is to forgo a full bar and set up a table with punch-style drinks. “Regardless of what you serve, keep in mind you can never have too much ice,” he advises.

According to Chef, you can expect that within the first hour each guest will have about 1½ drinks, and then one drink after that per hour. It’s safe to assume that each guest will end up using up to three drinking glasses, so buy or rent glassware accordingly. Be sure to designate a few people to monitor the beverage stations so there are at least three different non-alcoholic options for guests at all times.

How much food do you need?

Expect that each guest will eat between 6 and 10 hors d’oeuvres. Serve larger quantities of less pricey and more filling apps. For example, seasoned meatballs are a tasty dish that can be made ahead, and they are incredibly easy to prep. Make turkey, pork, beef, or even vegetarian varieties and serve them with a trio of sauces.

Roasting a chicken or pork shoulder for pulled meat sliders is an easy and budget-friendly way to feed a large crowd: Meat sliders can be made ahead, or the meats can be served buffet-style so people build their own sliders and stuff them with a custom selection of condiments. DIY sliders are fun to make and will also keep guests busy rather than overeating.

Sweets Endings

No matter how formal your celebration may be, big platters of fresh cookies and brownies are always a winning bet. Both are speedy make-head options and they’re easy on the wallet.

Consider a caterer for your graduation party

Hosting a party is a lot of work—planning, shopping, storing, preparing, serving, clean-up—and we haven’t addressed decorations, music, timing of the food presentation, seating, table covering, tents…

Many of our newer clients are surprised how affordable a professional catered affair can be. Think about the last big party you hosted—by the time you added all the expenses you incurred (not to mention tired feet)–the cumulative cost may rival that of a professional off-premise caterer.

Sir Ives Caterers has a few key dates available in late May and June to cater your party!

Sir Ives has been New Jersey’s off-premise graduation, weddingcorporate event and special occasions caterer for decades.

We’d love to talk with you about your upcoming celebration. Call our graduation party event managers at 732-521-1108 or email us at

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