We asked Sebastien Centner, director of Eatertainment Special Events and Catering in Toronto and dad of two boys, for his top tips when serving store-bought appetizers.
Tip 1: “The chiconomic approach to presentation is to use items already found in your home in fresh and interesting ways. For basic canapés, upgrade them by presenting a selection on a mirrored tray, or—in light of the holidays—one of my favourite ideas is to take a deep-set picture frame and turn it into a serving tray. You can place holiday ornaments inside or add decorative paper to really give it that customized look.”
Tip 2: “Microwaving should always be the last resort. Anything breaded, for example, will change consistency, becoming soggy from the microwave rather than having the desired crispy effect that an oven yields.”
Tip 3: “The rule of thumb is three to five canapés per person, per hour. If your cocktail party runs during the dinner hour it’s best to increase this number to six per person, as your guests will likely not have had the chance to eat a small meal before arriving. Also be sure to have a good mix on hand to tailor to the preferences of your guests. It’s always good to include meat, fish and veggie options. I also like to have a station of crudités and dips on hand for those picky guests as well. And don’t forget to ask about allergies.”
Try three of the newest frozen hors d’oeuvre treats to tempt your guests:
1. Thai Golden Purses with shrimp, vegetables and peanuts, wrapped in phyllo. $7 (24 pieces), Sensations by Compliments.
2. Beef Mini Wellingtons with puff pastry, filled with marinated beef, cremini mushrooms, onion and shallots. $9 (12 pieces), President’s Choice.
3. Belgian Chocolate Fruit Selection with banana, mango and pineapple pieces, covered in milk, dark and white chocolate. $9 (24 pieces), M&M Meat Shops.