We recently caught up with Lauren Egdahl, catering chef at Comparti Catering and were treated to delightful dishes and discussion. It’s no surprise that her advice is just as delectable as her food. Enjoy!
EventMates: Tell us about Comparti
Lauren: We are a young catering company inspired by the energy, flavors, and different cultures of New York City. Comparti is magnetic to the vast talent around us. The city is rich with resources. From our purveyors that help us build chef driven menus to our sleek professional team members that embody the spirit and hustle of this great city we call home. We are continuously curating: getting lost at the market or at vintage consignment shops looking for design pieces. We use this energy to shake the catering world and provide fresh ideas to bring people together and create events truly worth sharing.
EventMates: We'd love to hear about one of your favorite Comparti catered events
Lauren: One of my favorite events was actually my first wedding ever with Comparti. I was a little overwhelmed and nervous to be running the show and was faced with the challenge of cooking for 150 people at a house in the woods of upstate New York, grilling on a fire pit that we had built within a rock enclosure on the premises. For the grand finale, we had made one large Baked Alaska (torched meringue frosted ice cream cake) as the wedding cake, complete with a highly flammable rim, that was torched by the Grooms, in lieu of the typical cake cutting ceremony. While they were torching, we were sending out 150 individual Baked Alaskas for the guests, which was very dramatic and theatrical. There's nothing like successfully working with 1 large fire pit, 1 giant and 150 individual flaming ice cream cakes on a hot September's night to prepare you for the challenges and rewarding work that comes with catering!
EventMates: What food trend should we be paying attention to?
Lauren: Vegetables focused entrees are definitely a thing that I am excited about. Continuing with the growing trend of farm to table, a lot of dishes are now putting vegetables front and center, instead of just an accompaniment to meat. Delicious and nutritious.
On a less healthy note, I am also very excited about whoopie pies. They have been trying to make a breakthrough for years and I am determined to help them on their way to success. Tahini in everything savory and sweet- that nutty flavor is just subtle enough to work almost anywhere!
EventMates: What's the most important catering tip for an event host?
Lauren: I would tell an event host to really think about the guests who will be in attendance. What kind of crowd are they? What vibe are you going for? I think catering to your guests (no pun intended), is the best way to make an event successful and feel organic. Throwing a group of introverts into a room and blasting 90s hip hop with futuristic themed servers passing outrageous canapes may result in an extremely awkward event. Knowing the crowd and working with vendors on the type of event you want to achieve is a great way to make sure that the ambiance, food, and overall flow of the event feels natural and makes people feel at ease to enjoy themselves.
EventMates: Any catering hack you wish to share?
Grills at events. I trust fire always, I do not always trust electricity. Blowing fuses and working with less than desirable rental equipment often times leaves caterers with thinking on their feet and really getting resourceful when it comes to heating food for large crowds. Having a grill (through rentals or the venue) allows you to cook and/or reheat in a predictable and reliable way – aside from when it POURS rain and your grill gets flooded. Always have a backup for the backup.
EventMates: With holiday season quickly approaching, what are some favorite holiday treats?
Lauren: Brazilian Brigadieros are a Comparti obsession – these are chewy, caramel-like bon bons that can be rolled in any variety of toppings. Super delicious and playful.
I also love anything smoked. Sweet or savory. We have an incredible smoked whipped cream that we use for our chocolate bread pudding (tastes like s’mores) and with our sticky toffee date cake with BACON toffee – smokey sweet heaven.
EventMates: Any closing advice for event hosts?
Lauren: I would say working with vendors in their area of expertise is a great way to throw a seamless party. There are a lot of details that the average Joe does not think of when it comes to events – like rental orders, set up feng shui, common food allergy considerations. Talking through the event, discussing what you are looking for and being transparent on budget and expectations, is a way to give vendors a great starting point for helping you plan a successful event.