Vegan catering: niche and expensive or easy to source?

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It’s one thing to be able to whip up a few vegan dishes at home, but when you need to lay on a more formal spread, how do you go about securing quality vegan catering?

There’s no point in trying to tiptoe around the issue of formal food preparation when you’re catering for a vegan crowd. A timid approach can lead to cross-contamination and a DIY attempt, regardless of how valiant, could easily fall flat.

There are plenty of events that will require you to entrust an impressive spread — made up of vegan food only — to a catering company, but you can have a reasonable amount of input to ensure smooth sailing and a fair price.

Keep your event firmly in mind

plant-based cateringCreating vegan menus isn’t an insurmountable difficulty, but keeping the wider event in mind is critical. After all, nobody wants to try and eat a vol-au-vent delicately during a professional meeting, and likewise, a safe sandwich spread is hardly festive enough for a wedding reception.

Any catering service worth hiring will not only be able to cater for vegetarian and vegan diets, it should also be competent in creating sample menus for you to choose from and with a variety of settings in mind. Always ask for references from previous jobs similar to yours, as a corporate event and a vegan wedding rarely have enough in common to give you a good overview.

Better the devil you know

vegan caterers ukIf you’d rather steer clear of hiring a catering company that you’ve never used before, why not ask your favourite vegan restaurant if it is able to cater for events? You know the plant-based menu is to die for already, and most also manage to offer plenty of gluten-free options too, which is great if you have any extra dietary restrictions to account for.

By hiring a restaurant that you have eaten at before, you know you’ll be getting a range of delicious vegan food, plenty of choice and for something like a wedding party, you can bet the chefs will be able to whip up a cake for your special day too.

If you need any extra convincing that this is a good option, remember that it is an opportunity to support a local independent company. That adds a whole new level of ethical planning to an event.

Leave nothing to chance

plant-based catering ukBeing able to offer a wealth of vegan choices is no longer a niche that catering companies can claim. Just take a look in any supermarket and the huge array of plant-based foods will show you how accessible the ingredients are, but make sure you know everything that is going to be included in your spread.

As well as allergens, you should keep an eye out for any additions that you know you haven’t enjoyed in the past. Things like coconut and cashew cream find their way into a lot of vegan cooking, but if you’re not a fan, ask for them to be omitted. Likewise, you can ask to avoid palm oil or anything else you’re not enthusiastic about. It’s also a good idea to request allergen flags to be added to any dishes that could cause a reaction. You know how much you appreciate a ‘vegan’ signpost, so be a sport and extend the same courtesy.

Vegan catering? It’s a piece of plant-based cake these days. Any company that tells you it’s not or tries to upcharge for omitting dairy and meat probably isn’t the best choice for your event.

Amy Buxton
Amy Buxton
Amy is a committed ethical vegan, raising a next generation compassionate human with her husband and their beloved dog, Boo. A freelance writer with a background in PR, she decided to use the COVID lockdown period to refocus her client base and has come to The Vegan Review as a senior writer and editor, before moving into her external content director role. "What we should be doing is working at the job of life itself" is Amy's mantra, courtesy of Tom from The Good Life.