Most popular menu items: prudence and dietary restrictions
Party PlanningFood trends

Most popular menu items: prudence and dietary restrictions

Events are rolling, but that doesn't signal freewheeling spending

Photo by CasparGirl via Flickr at
Photo by CasparGirl via Flickr at

Imagine a carving station, but substitute beef, lamb or chicken for personalized chaga mushroom pizza. Better yet, consider a party with pop-up tables where guests watch chefs convert semolina into noodles, add cheese and locally-sourced veggies, then gift the culinary creation to salivating onlookers.

Weddings, b’nei mitzvahs and other events are often a place to showcase new food trends but, according to local caterers, the biggest rage is economics.

Aryeh Markovic, co-owner of Murray Avenue Kosher, said these days “people are a little more price conscious.”

Such hesitation aligns with the consumer price index.

Though shy of June’s 9.1% inflation rate, September’s figure — the most recent from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics — was still 8.2%.

Markovic said that apart from concerns about cost, his customers’ requests have followed the “status quo.”

“People want turkeys for Thanksgiving,” he said.

Judah Cowen, the owner of Elegant Edge Catering, said that, like Markovic, he hasn’t received many unusual requests for orders recently.

Cowen said that he tries to keep his menus “fresh and exciting,” but the thing he’s noticing most right now is an attitude.

“I think people are just happy to be out partying again,” he said. “Everyone seems to be happy to get back to what we knew as normal.”

But “normal” also seems to mean making up for lost time.

According to a survey of photographers, event planners, entertainers, florists and other vendors conducted by the Wedding Report, 2022 will boast the most weddings since 1984.

Though the bulk of 2022 celebrations are rescheduled events from the past two years, many weddings will involve couples who became engaged during the pandemic, The New York Times reported.

Photo by saiva via iStock

Even with the plethora of people seeking to say “I do,” not all are discovering it’s terribly difficult to reach the chuppah.

Eighty-seven percent of couples report “no issues finding what they need or want,” while only 10% report that costs have climbed since the start of the pandemic, according to The Wedding Report.

Rachel Cicero, general manager of Pittsburgh’s Hotel Indigo, said that the trend she’s seeing is prudence: “People are looking at what’s the best price.”

Michael Cope of Tallulah's Catering said the most common dietary request his clients have is gluten-free options.

A bevy of products, including gluten-free flours, have made it easier to meet this demand, he said. Along these lines, Cope remembers when people first started asking for menus based on dietary restrictions.

When it came to making things vegan, it was a bit “tougher,” he told the Chronicle. “You can’t use butter, milk, cream, all the things chefs use that make things unctuous and nice.”

Still, Cope adapted to meet the orders.

He said it’s no different from when a client asks him about kosher cooking: “It’s a little tougher, but you just have to be aware of people’s dietary concerns.” PJC

Adam Reinherz can be reached at

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