Jan 22, 2019
Menus For All


photo by Corbin Gurkin

Gluten Free, Dairy Free, food allergies, vegetarian- there are so many dietary restrictions that our clients are facing and trying to accommodate while planning their wedding menus… For today’s Tip Tuesday post, we decided to ask some of our tried and true vendors to weigh in on some requests they have had to work with and give us some ideas and solutions.

We tend to encourage our clients hosting a seated dinner to have a few courses or tasting menu where everyone gets a variety but is served the same dish for each course, and not have guests choose from entree selection weeks in advance on their RSVP’s. That being said, our caterers are always happy to please everyone. It is standard that we have several vegetarian options available at guests’ request, and the hosts are often aware of food allergies in advance so those are accommodated as well.

veggies-and-dipphoto by Corbin Gurkin

We spoke with Cru Catering (one of our most favorite caterers) and they offered many tips for us. “We are seeing more allergies than ever these days. Many chefs, including our owner John Zucker, prefer cooking and frying with peanut oil due to its high quality and ability to handle high temperatures without burning. But, years ago we quit using peanut oil due to the high number of nut allergies, as it was important to us to adapt to whats happening with our guests. The other most common allergies we see are shellfish, and then of course gluten and dairy free requests. There seems to be a growing number of people eating plant based diets, so we get a lot of pescatarian and vegetarian requests- YES they are different. A pescatarian will eat seafood, but not land based animal proteins. Lastly, there are many vegan requests, a vegan diet does not incorporate any animal products at all. For instance we use Agave syrup (from a cactus) instead of Honey from Bee’s for vegan accommodated diets.”


photo by Adrienne Page

Try goat or sheep’s milks, yogurts and cheese out, many people find their dairy intollerances do not apply to milk from sheep or goats. They are so good!

Smoke your vegetables to add depth and substitute for meat. We serve an outstanding “chicken” fried cauliflower, it is the best, we smoke the cauliflower for added flavor. Serve some oven roasted for a healthier or gluten free option. 

Make a dairy free shrimp and grits with coconut milk! for a shellfish allergy serve them a vegetarian ‘gravy’ or sauce with lots of veggies like tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms and onions.


photo by Corbin Gurkin

If you love tuna tartare on a crispy flatbread or wonton, serve some on cucumber slices too! Cucumber, endive, are great alternatives to bread along with the numerous gluten free brands of crackers now readily available.  

Looking for added crunch in a salad but need to avoid nuts? Crispy Chickpeas are a wonderful option, and so are beet chips. 

2014_annie_davis_1326photo by Corbin Gurkin

For desserts, we use a variety of substitutions for dairy free cooking. Almond milks and other nut milks are wonderful substitutions and dairy free butter substitutions aren’t as scary as they might sound.


photo by Liz Banfield

Jim Smeal, the ever amazing cake and dessert baker has fortunately not had to toussle with too many of these requests. He uses the highest quality ingredients and fresh fruits in his baking to avoid added processed sugars. For a recent wedding with several Kosher guests, he made a true buttercream cake as he normally would, but baked a couple of kosher “paves” that the caterer was able to cut and serve from the back for those needing it. He also suggests dessert bars or displays if you have guests with lots of different requests like nut free or gluten free and serving items like fruit tarts or pies, meringues, or macaroon cookies.


photo by Elizabeth Messina

Matthew Morgenstern of Spike Bar Service says one thing that seems obvious that people often over look is to create drink ideas that many/most of their guests will enjoy.  Brides often think of what they specifically like for specialty cocktails or passed drinks.  I find it more cost effective to have on hand what the bride and groom specifically like but to serve items that tend to be more crowd pleasers for the passed and specialty items. Luckily, most wines and liquors are all gluten free, and they are some gluten free beer options out there.

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