## Tuesday, July 26, 2011

### Coverage - too much, too little - just right!

It's a great way to use the math you learned in Middle School - figuring out the correct size linen for a dining, cocktail or buffet table! Calculate the table width, height - total and voila you have the correct size.

For example...
A 60" standard dining table (seats 10) is 30" high - so 60" plus 30" + 30" (two sides of the table!) = 120".
How about a "highboy" cocktail table? Easy - 30" wide plus 42" on each side = 114"!

But, just when you think you have it all figured out, then there's the option of do you want a straight fall to the floor or a bit of a "puddle" on the floor - in which case you would go with a 120" for the highboy cocktail table too!

We suggest you leave the measurements to the caterer or rental company and instead focus on the more exciting aspects of coverage - namely color and material! Love that champagne organza!

## Monday, July 18, 2011

### CATERING DEMYSTIFIED!

Accommodating a client and personalizing a menu is one of the most important services we can offer. That being said, our role as a caterer is to ensure that a client’s request can be well executed and if not, recommend an alternative.

Some examples of client requests and how we’ve suggested a more effective option -

A request for a grilled steak entrée on Shabbat – sounds delicious – but since we’re not actually grilling the steak on Shabbat – we offered a different preparation of the steak entrée.

Instead of 8-10 passed hors d’oeuvres a client requested only 4 in order to save money. We explained that the reduction does not offer much of a cost savings (since we still have to prepare a certain quantity of food) AND that guests will be disappointed when the same items keep returning – half the fun of the passed hors d’oeuvres is to see what comes next!

How about a Cocktail Hour for 300 guests with only passed beverages. We recommended that waiters pass the Signature Cocktail (since passed cocktails offers a certain “je ne sais quoi!”) AND supplement with two bar stations. Thirsty guests aren’t happy guests and we don’t want your guests to miss out on the passed hors d’oeuvres because they’re trying to flag down a glass of wine!

If you have a catering quandary – let us know – we’re happy to make recommendations!

## Monday, June 6, 2011

### Juicy Fruit-ure

Yom Shavuot!

Summer is just around the corner and we couldn't be more excited! Mouthwatering watermelon, luscious mangoes, rich ripe cherries...All winter long we've been craving fresh, sweet fruit and Shavuot is the time to celebrate these deliciously juicy treats.

Historically, Shavuot commemorates the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai. Agriculturally, the holiday celebrates the time when the first fruit were harvested and brought to the Temple and is known as Hag ha-Bikkurim (The Festival of First Fruits). In celebration of Shavuot, Esprit is rolling out three new dairy items that make fruity and light summer fair. Chef Guy has crafted these beautiful (and fresh!) dishes to choose from for your upcoming summer event.

a. Fresh apple cups filled with soft goat cheese and walnuts with a drizzle of white truffle oil

b. Pate au choux filled with balsamic marinated basil, tomato and mozzarella

c. Sweet watermelon rectangle drizzled with a balsamic reduction and topped with a feta cheese floret

Which one are you anxious to try? Happy Holiday and be sure to wear some sunscreen!

## Tuesday, May 31, 2011

### What VIP means to Esprit

The past two weeks we've been getting last minute orders from VIPs all over the place (which we are just thrilled about!) One day we even received two orders for the same VIP from two different clients. We feel honored to be considered a top caterer in NYC to be chosen for these high-profile events. When a regular client calls with a last minute event or needs to increase the guest count two days before a VIP event the only answer is “Absolutely, no problem!”
Believe us – it’s not what the client has in mind either – but when VIP guests calls them and want to attend the event, they too have to be ready at the drop of a hat to accommodate (key word!)

So, what’s involved with last minute additions? Obviously more food, but also… place setting & serving pieces, room reconfigurations, additional staffing, linens, tables, chairs… It’s like doing the planning all over again!

In the service industry, service with a smile and a "can-do" attitude is key.

These requests are a challenge and urge us to flex our fabulous muscles and push us out of our catering comfort-zone – we like it – it keeps the adrenalin pumping!

## Tuesday, May 24, 2011

### New Frontiers...and Venues!

Catering at a regular venue is comfortable – our staff knows every aspect of the space and just how to setup rooms, handle the kitchen and the loading docks!

A new venue is exhilarating – a new look – a new opportunity to ourselves – but requires a very different approach. Multiple site visits, onsite team meetings...the whole caboodle!

This past week we worked with Olivier Cheng to provide kosher catering for one of their clients at The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) and the next day we catered for UJA Federation at 583 Park. Two new venues that couldn’t be more different in appearance but both creating an ambiance appropriate for each event. Thank you to all for asking us in – we look forward to working with you again!

## Thursday, May 12, 2011

Come this time next week, I will be dressed all in white and walking down the aisle, Mom and Dad crying and kvelling in the chapel as they watch their little girl all grown up. And, no, I am not getting married (although my parents won't stop asking me when they're going to have grandchildren). We usually are all about weddings but this month, we are celebrating another kind of occasion.

We're getting a little verklempt ourselves watching our students whom we've catered to all year move on to start their new life as college and law school graduates. We cater to many schools and universities in NYC throughout the school year and now it is time to celebrate the graduates with our fun party platters and celebratory treats.

June is also a big month for reunions. So whether you're remembering fond school days of the past year or decade, we wish each and everyone the best of luck in future endeavors.

Hats off to the Class of 2011!

## Friday, April 15, 2011

### Passover Food: From Yuck to Yum!

I always recall Passover being a time for close friends and family to sit down and share a leisurely evening of the retelling of Moses and the Jews' exodus from slavery in Egypt. The songs, the stories, the plagues (plastic frogs and red wine drops of "blood") laughter and of COURSE, the delicious food. Brisket slathered in gravy, sweet carrot tzimmes, Grandma's matzoh ball soup...these are all tasty memories I eagerly looked forward to each spring.

However, when the first and second night have "passed over" (heh) and it's time to go back to school/work for the remaining six days with no chametz (bread), I was always sadly disappointed by the everyday meals that followed: Breakfasts of Chocolate "Cripsy Oh's" (more like "cardboard oh's" as my dad used to joke), lunches of matzoh and cream cheese sandwiches with a hard boiled egg from the school cafeteria, dinners of leftover chicken and soup and desserts of coconut macaroons and jelly fruit slices.
Needless to say, this would get boring very, very quickly.

Lucky for me, I had an adventurous mother who stormed the kitchen with fresh exciting recipes. We both discovered that we were gluten-intolerant and finding Kosher for Passover recipes became more typical for every day use. Here's one of my favorites that you will fall head over heels for!

François Payard’s Flourless Chocolate Walnut Cookies
2 cups chopped walnuts (can use pecans or almonds too!)
2 cups of confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch cocoa powder (recommend Droste)
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large egg white at room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Illustrations by John Burgoyne
(Photo: Kang Kim)

1.) Preheat oven to 350 F
2.) Spread walnuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for about 9 minutes until they are golden and fragrant. Let cool slightly, then transfer to a work surface and coarsely chop them.
3.) Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper.
4.) In a large bowl, whisk (or combine in an electric mixer on low speed) the confectioner's sugar with the cocoa powder and salt followed by the chopped walnuts. While whisking (or once you change the speed to medium), add the egg whites and vanilla extract and beat just until the batter is moistened (do not overbeat or it will stiffen).
5.) Spoon the batter onto the baking sheets in evenly spaced mounds and bake for 14-16 minutes.
6.) Bake at 350 until the tops are glossy and lightly cracked; shift the pans from front to back and top to bottom halfway through to ensure even baking. (not necessary to move pans).
Slide the parchment paper with the cookies onto 2 wire racks.
7.) Let cool and enjoy!

Recipe from New York Magazine Online

## Friday, April 8, 2011

### Beyond Sushi at the First NYC Vegetarian Food Festival

This past Sunday, New Yorkers from all 5 boroughs, New Jersey and beyond flocked to the Altman Building in Chelsea to sample and snack on delectable vegetarian and vegan goodies from vendors in the local area to celebrate the first NYC Vegetarian Food Festival. Raw ice cream, gluten-free pasta dishes and vegan mozzarella sticks were just some of the treats available to taste and inquire about at the downtown food show.

Esprit Events was there in full-swing promoting our new line of boxed “Beyond Sushi” with our chefs Guy and Bogi busily rolling handmade vegetarian sushi rolls from 10 AM until the early evening. Our Rabbi Katz was also present to observe the preparation process and make sure that every roll passed the kosher law.

Just before noon, Chef Bogi and Esprit Vice President Ellen Vaknine took the main stage to give a live demonstration of how our sushi is prepared. Vaknine explained the process and ingredients (all vegetarian AND kosher!) that go into the unique maki rolls whilst Chef Bogi quickly turned a slew of fresh fruit, veggies, 6-grain rice and seaweed into a delicious work of edible art. Here's what some festival-goers (and new fans!) are saying about us:
"We bought sushi boxes from Beyond Sushi. We had to wait a little while to get our food, but it was well worth it. This is by far the best sushi I’ve ever had. Ever. And also the prettiest." – Veggie Girl
"All vegetarian, organic sushi rolls use black rice with fresh veggies, fruits and tofu based sauces like chilli & mango and tofu & miso...Look at how gorgeous these are; almost too pretty to eat. They’d be great for pregnant moms who can’t have shellfish, or those with shellfish allergies or of course, vegetarians/vegans!" - The Food Buff

Beyond Sushi was a smash hit with the beautifully crafted 10-piece “bento boxes” flying from the chefs' hands to the customer's shopping bags (or immediately to their mouths!). Beyond Sushi is not just beautiful to look at. All the rolls contain fresh fruits, vegetables and fiber-enriched rice with cute plastic tubes of topping sauces such as spicy mayo, wasabi, and miso. It also has a shelf life of 3 days when refrigerated.

If you were at the show and tried some of our sushi, tell us what you think! If you love it, tell your local supermarket and health food store you want to see Beyond Sushi on their shelves and in you fridge! We can also bring Beyond Sushi to your wedding, Bar/Bat Mitzvah and other special occasions.

Photos by Metro Mix NYC

## Wednesday, February 16, 2011

### BEFORE YOU LIFT YOUR GLASS: FACTS & FACTOIDS ABOUT KOSHER WINE

L’chaim! You're about to toast your favorite couple on their newfound marriage. You know that the wine in your glass is kosher, but what does that mean?

• To be considered kosher, a Sabbath-observant Jew must be involved in the entire wine-making process, from the time of harvest to the actual bottling. Then, there is kosher wine and kosher Mevushal wine…. Wine that is Mevushal (goes through a heating process) can be poured by a non-observant Jew and still remain kosher. That’s why most restaurants and caterers serve only wine that is Kosher Mevushal.

• Only certified Kosher products such as yeast and filtering agents can be used during the preparation of the wine

• Kosher law does not prohibit the use of specific wine styles, grape varieties or origin

• No animal products may be used during the production of the wine.

• Grapes that come from brand new vines cannot be used when the wine is being made. After the fourth year they become eligible to use; however, every seventh year the fields must be fallow.

• Champagne refers only to wine bottled in the Champagne region of France – and while there are several Kosher Mevushal Champagnes, they do tend to be rather expensive. No worries – plenty of Sparkling Wine (the terminology for all bubbly wine produced outside of Champagne) absolutely fit for a l’Chaim.

• On Shabbat, obligatory blessings called Kiddush are required over cups of kosher wine or grape juice.

• Juice from approximately 600 grapes is required to make a single bottle of wine!

Now you know a little bit more about the wine with which you’re about to toast, stand up, say a few nice words about your loved ones and enjoy a sip!

## Wednesday, February 2, 2011

### Where To Celebrate?

Selecting the venue for your celebration is so important – first and foremost, your venue creates an atmosphere for your wedding – a modern loft, a historical hall, an elegant hotel, a warm synagogue….

Then there are all the logistics…. Below are some tips and tricks to help assist you in finding the perfect kosher venue for your big day.

Catering

Catering is a very visible component of your event, comprising both the food and service that will greet your guests. Some venues will have an exclusive kosher caterer and many offer a panel of approved kosher caterers. If you already have selected a caterer, you will need to make sure they can work at your venue. Since each venue has its own regulations and “quirks,” selecting a caterer who has prior experience in the venue, is a definite plus!

What kitchen facility is available? Is there sufficient refrigeration for an outside kosher caterer to use? Will the venue permit the kosher caterer to kasher the ovens?

As an upscale kosher catering company, Esprit is constantly expanding our relationship with a variety of venues – different styles, different price points, different locations – so that we can assist our clients in finding the perfect locale!

Capacity

Naturally weddings range in sizes from small intimate parties to large grandiose events. Make sure that the venue has sufficient capacity to accommodate the type of service you are envisioning. For example, is there a separate area for the Chuppah and the Cocktail? Is the dining room large enough to comfortably seat all your guests and allow dancing?

Cost

The cost of wedding venues varies depending on the specifications of your event and on the venue’s going rate. Before choosing your venue it is important that you work out the details of your wedding budget and narrow down what price range you are looking for.

Some venues will provide the bar (make sure it’s kosher!) and all your waiters, bartenders and Maitre d’. If you’re paying the venue for these services, you can deduct them from the catering bill!

Also, January through March are slower months and mid-week celebrations may also result in more favorable pricing. Never be afraid to ask for a better rate!

Appearance

Of course the venue’s appearance will play a big part in your final decision - take into consideration the venue’s décor, lighting and overall structure. You want those photographs to turn out well! Check out the acoustics if music is key to your celebration. Remember to also check the restroom facilities, as these will be used by your guests.

Parking

Is parking available? Does the venue offer valet service? Can your guests easily use public transport?

Overall, these tips are fairly straight forward but can be a lifesaver during the hectic wedding planning season. We want to ensure that your event goes as smoothly as possible! Also remember to look up reviews, ask for recommendations and determine whether or not the venue has hosted kosher weddings before. Mazel tov!