Bowl Over Your Guests

So you’ve got the right venue, the right people, and the content, but one of the most important (and often most overlooked) aspects of event management, is the food. Bowl food takes any great event to the next level, being both modern and convenient.

Bowl food isn’t exactly a new phenomenon in the industry, but doing it right is something that can be quite a challenge. These deep-dish delicacies run the risk of coming across as cheap, rationed, and thoughtless, and this week’s blog covers the ‘whats’, ‘whys’, and  ‘hows’ of bowl food.

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For those who don’t know...

Bowl food is quite literally food served in a small bowl. It is bigger than a canapé, but about a quarter of the size of a normal meal.

But what’s so great about bowl food?

It works for almost every occasion – while a banquet might be better suited to formal dinners, we find that receptions, birthday parties, meeting, conferences, exhibitions (and so on), benefit from the flexibility of bowl food, allowing guests to balance both cutlery and conversation. Eating out of a bowl also infuses events with positivity – there’s something quite comforting about eating from a bowl – perhaps because it only seems to happen at home.

And since bowl food is still quite new to events, it can be the ideal icebreaker. Owing to its flexibility, the creativity of bowl food lies in its very design and can generate a real wow-factor for guests.

Bowl food also offers a more manageable and even a more hygienic alternative to bite-sized canapés, and you’ll run far less of a risk from spilling smashed avocado and red-pepper hummus down your favourite suit.

How to do bowl food right!

Bowl food can be simple and elegant, or feature a plethora of interesting ingredients. It can be hot or cold, it can be colourful, and it can be easily themed. One thing is for sure, it should be a talking point in its own right.

Theming – goes as far as the imagination, from Paella to Pasta, or Quinoa and Kale, from Pies to Pudding, or even baked-in bowls; the possibilities really are endless. More recently we’ve had fun putting together a ‘Burns Night’ menu for one of our top clients.

We’ve mentioned before how one of our regular automotive events have themed bowl food around the ‘essence’ of their products. That’s right, bowl food which describes a car:

Simple and Robust – Lincolnshire Sausage and tasty mash.

Elegant and Powerful – Seared Salmon on Oriental Vegetables with a Sweet and Sour Sauce

Plus, you can still benefit from the flexibility of a self-serve buffet if you’d prefer – think ‘create your own’ with oodles of noodles, chips and dips, or a selection of party savouries.


Here’s one for the foodies – our Sales Manager Katie Stone, anticipates Street Food to be a big trend in event catering for 2017. She believes World Cuisines will be a big hit in the form of pop-up market-style stands featuring live cookery in those huge cooking pans we’ve come to recognise for paella. “Bowls compliment the street food trend. Takeaway trays will exude authenticity and add further convenience in their disposability”. Katie adds that market-style catering can feature live cooking demonstrations with chefs operating multiple giant pan-loads of dishes to delight delegates. Alternatively, street food could also be served buffet-style for a less distracting, yet still scrumptious solution. One very high profile guest recently approached Arena MK with an “experience is everything” brief. Aiming towards a sensorial event experience, the team advised stunning Tepenyaki stations.

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Healthification – is becoming increasingly important to the more health-conscious society of today, and bowl food is the perfect solution for an array of super foods. Just check out the ‘Buddha Bowl’ craze on Instagram -

Perfect for pudding – opt for a dessert bar, or perhaps transparent bowls with tri-colour trifles. Go for a simple yet scrumptious sponge pudding with custard, or paper jelly bowls to take you back to the good old days.

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What’s more, the bowl doesn’t have to be boring – go bold and colourful for a Summer Soiree, opt for ‘Nippon Bowls’ for some Asian Indulgence, and play with the size, depth and shape of your crockery to maximise the overall presentation. Top it off with some great – or even interesting – cutlery and give your attendees something to talk about.





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