Catering Trend: Dinner & A Show

From: Spring/Summer 2016 edition

Forget boring, backed-up buffet lines: Northwest couples are adding an element of fun to their reception fare with Spanish paella, a family-style rice dish that not only begs to be eaten by a crowd, but calls for a little crowdsourcing, too. “The paella preparation is a theatrical presentation for guests,” says Holly Brown, who owns the new Chelan venue Siren Song Winery (509.888.4657; paella starts at $25/person), along with her husband, head winemaker Kevin, who also acts as the in-house paella chef. Created in 4-foot-diameter copper pans on the winery patio as guests stand by, each pan of paella serves between 75 and 80 people, and includes ingredients like fresh shellfish, chicken and spicy chorizo, along with traditional Spanish bomba rice.

In Seattle, Foodz Catering (206.297.9634; $750 menu minimum, with two pricing tiers for small-plate and entree portions of paella) also whips up the classic dish, but in small individual portions as part of an interactive serving station. “It is a delicious—and easy—vegetarian or gluten-free option, plus guests have a great time watching the chefs customize their paella,” says Shelby Sewell, owner and head chef for the company. Sewell cites the paprika- and garlic-dusted chicken as their most popular mix-in, along with summery vegetables like fire-roasted peppers and juicy tomatoes.