15 Low-Touch, High-Taste Catering Ideas for Live and Virtual Events

Here’s how catering companies across North America have mastered the art of F&B in the new norm.

Deborah Miller Catering, Catering

Despite the event industry turning upside down—and touching almost anything becoming a health risk—catering companies around the U.S. and Canada have pushed their creative boundaries to reinvent the wheel in a sanitary, "COVID-friendly" way with low-touch, individually packaged fare. “The emphasis on safe food handling and presentation has now become a full-on topic with every client,” says Andrea Correale, founder and president of New York-based Elegant Affairs.

While all-encompassing buffet tables and build-your-own bites are being kicked to the curb for now, that doesn't mean your event, whether virtual or in-person, can't offer guests the same tasty treats—but in a safe manner. From imaginative packaging to fresh delivery options for at-home attendees, keep scrolling for 15 low-touch, steal-worthy catering ideas from companies across North America.

Elegant Affairs

"Elegant Affairs, Catering"
New York-based Elegant Affairs is offering individual Korean beef ramen bowls, made with beef, pork or chicken and playfully packaged in a takeout container (complete with chopsticks, of course). Elegant Affairs founder and president Andrea Correale says that, thanks to COVID-related challenges, “we had to become ‘party box’ specialists and rethink every food presentation so guests feel safe.” (Photo: Courtesy of Elegant Affairs)


Mary Giuliani Catering & Events

"Mary Giuliani Catering & Events, Catering"
For live events, Mary Giuliani Catering & Events in New York is serving up individually packaged mini sliders, bags of chips and cheese plates. Other menu options include personal popcorn and pizza boxes, mini hot dog kits with single-serve condiments and s’mores in a jar. (Photo: Courtesy of Mary Giuliani Catering & Events)


"Mary Giuliani Catering & Events, Catering"
For virtual guests, Mary Giuliani Catering & Events also debuted its first frozen food assortment, dubbed The Cocktail Party (Love, May) Classic Collection. The curated selection of 72 hors d’oeuvres is inspired by prepandemic food favorites including pastrami on rye tarts, lasagna bites, smoky mac and cheese cupcakes and more for up to 10 people. The Cocktail Party Box is $159.99 and is available for purchase via Mary Giuliani’s website and Macys.com. (Photo: Courtesy of Mary Giuliani Catering & Events)​


Susan Gage Caterers

"Susan Gage Caterers, Catering"
Because nothing welcomes spring quite like a fruity cocktail, Washington, D.C.-based Susan Gage Caterers (SGC) is offering bagged spring and summer-inspired drinks perfect for a socially distant outdoor soiree. Starting at $15 per pouch, the mocktail pouch boasts a blend of pineapple juice and strawberry puree. Alcoholic offerings include a mojito with drunken cranberries and lime, and a Cider Smash with bourbon and sparkling cider. (Photo: Courtesy of Susan Gage Caterers)


Deborah Miller Catering

"Deborah Miller Catering, Catering"
New York-based Deborah Miller Catering is using flutes for more than just Champagne with this deconstructed caesar salad. At $7.95 per flute, the team is swapping bubbly for bibb lettuce, Parmesan crisps and homemade dressing. (Photo: Courtesy of Deborah Miller Catering)


"Deborah Miller Catering, Catering"
And for dessert, planners can choose from a selection of strawberry shortcake, tiramisu or mud pie in a jar for a COVID-friendly dessert that will give guests 4 ounces of sweetness. Prices per dessert start at $5.75 per mason jar. (Photo: Courtesy of Deborah Miller Catering)


Pinch Food Design

"Pinch Food Design, Catering"
Pinch Food Design in New York has put a COVID-friendly spin on an interactive food installation with a pool-party offering that’s inspired by 80’s tile and David Hockney’s artwork. Floating “shake n’ eat” mason jars are kept warm by the pool’s heaters and contain a choice of zucchini bolognese, codfish brandade, mushroom risotto, mac and cheese and more. (Photo: Courtesy of Pinch Food Design)


Constellation Culinary Group

"Constellation Culinary Group, Catering"
Constellation Culinary Group in Philadelphia has launched Prepped, a virtual event-friendly catering service available for local takeout and delivery. Prepped’s newest catering offerings include an Easter menu featuring deviled eggs, honey citrus-glazed ham and lemon pound cake, and a Passover menu featuring a Seder Plate, matzo ball soup and braised beef brisket, to name a few. A minimum of four servings is required per order, and meal packages start at $65 per adult and $25 per child. (Photo: Courtesy of Constellation Culinary Group)


Abigail Kirsch

"Abigail Kirsch, Catering"
New York-based Abigail Kirsch is offering individually packaged meatless sliders for live events, with gruyere, caramelized onions and truffle aioli that doesn't compromise an ounce of style or flavor for safety. (Photo: Courtesy of Abigail Kirsch)


"Abigail Kirsch, Catering"
Abigail Kirsch has also given meatball parm a low-touch, tasty twist atop ricotta polenta and tomato basil ragout in individually portioned vessels. Bonus: The catering biz offers off-premise catering options available for nationwide delivery. (Photo: Courtesy of Abigail Kirsch)


Encore Catering

"Encore Catering, Catering"
Toronto-based Encore Catering is now offering a virtual catering menu available for curbside pickup or delivery throughout the Greater Toronto area (and beyond with a minimum order size). A three-course meal starts at $42 per person and allows guests to choose from butternut squash soup or salad to start; a meat-, fish-, or vegetable-based main dish; and a lemon meringue tart, red velvet cake parfait or chocolate raspberry cheesecake for dessert. To accommodate any type of event, other menu options include a cocktail menu, plus breakfast and lunch offerings. (Photo: Courtesy of Encore Catering)


Peter Callahan Catering

"Peter Callahan Catering, Catering"
Peter Callahan Catering in New York is elevating the personal pizza with bite-size pizza squares. (Photo: Courtesy of Peter Callahan Catering)


Royal Fig Catering

"Royal Fig Catering, Catering"
Austin-based Royal Fig Catering has a “Grab and Go” menu for an at-home catering option available for delivery within the Greater Austin area. Choose the individual crudites box featuring seasonal veggies, hummus, antipasto salad and vanilla cheesecake at $5 per person, or the $9 box featuring chicken salad, smoked salmon and mini biscuits, complete with jams and meats and cheeses, and designed with a socially distant Southern brunch in mind. (Photo: Courtesy of Royal Fig Catering)


Creative Edge Parties

"Creative Edge Parties, Catering"
In response to the “new normal,” New York and South Florida-based Creative Edge Parties is offering a variety of bespoke F&B boxes available for nationwide delivery or local delivery. To accompany personal and corporate events, the full-service event company is creating sustainable menus. For a recent interactive culinary demonstration with Audi and chef Edward Lee, the team curated a three-course menu (pictured here) and delivered ingredients to attendees for a cucumber tomato salad, coconut miso-braised chicken with edamame, and cinnamon s’mores. Pricing varies per order. (Photo: Courtesy of Creative Edge Parties)


Bold Catering & Design

"Bold Catering & Design, Catering"
Bold Catering & Design in Atlanta debuted a custom VIP gifting experience tailored to give corporate customers the same selection of cocktail-hour favorites but from home. The box is filled with a personalized selection of local, small-batch culinary treats and wines and is available for nationwide delivery. (Photo: Courtesy of Bold Catering & Design)


This story was originally published on Connect's sister site, BizBash.com, here.