Passed Hors d’oeuvres or Stationed Food-Which is Right For Your Party?

Are you planning a cocktail party and trying to decide between passed hors d’oeuvres and stationed food? Figuring out the best catering option to go for can be challenging. On the one hand, passed hors d’oeuvres and canapes bring an element of elegance and sophistication to an event, while stationary food (aka grazing stations) offer a greater variety and make for a relaxed atmosphere.

In this post, we’ll help you decide which catering format is right for your event.

What are Passed Hors d’oeuvres?

Passed hors d’oeuvres, also known as canapés, are bite-sized appetizers that are served by wait staff on trays. These cute little bites require one hand to eat, leaving the other hand free for holding a drink or engaging in conversation.  They’re great for cocktail parties, corporate events that encourage mingling -or any event where guests will be standing and socializing. Some classic passed hors d’oeuvres include mini grilled cheese, stuffed mushrooms, and bruschetta.

What’s a Grazing Station?

A grazing station is a display of food set out on a table where guests can serve themselves. They feature a variety of finger foods, such as charcuteries, cheeses, fruits, veggies, dips and individual hors d’oeuvres and canapes. Grazing stations have been gaining in popularity here in New York City post covid.

Here are SIX things to consider when deciding which format is right for your event.

1-Consider the atmosphere

The atmosphere of an event can greatly influence the type of catering you choose. If you want a more formal and high end vibe, passed hors d’oeuvres might be the way to go.  This format is well suited for galas, fundraisers, and corporate receptions where the setting is upscale.

On the other hand, if you’re aiming for a more relaxed and casual atmosphere, then grazing stations may be the better option. This format works well for company happy hours, showers, and outdoor gatherings where guests can mingle freely while enjoying the food at their own pace.

2-Consider the type of food you want to serve

Another factor to consider when deciding between passed hors d’oeuvres and a grazing station is the type of food you want to serve. Passed hors d’oeuvres are easy to eat while mingling.  This format works well if you want to serve hot food, since the chef will heat the food just before the servers pass it around. 

Grazing stations are better for serving chilled or room temperature foods. These stations also offer greater variety so your guests can try different types of food throughout the event.  And with a grazing station, guests can revisit the food as many times as they want.

3-Think about the flow of the event

The flow and layout of your event space can also play a role in deciding between passed hors d’oeuvres or a grazing station. If you have limited space for food displays, passed hors d’oeuvres might be the better option since they require less room. If you have a larger event space and want to create a focal point with a beautiful spread of food, a grazing station would be the better option.

4-Consider your guest list

Another important factor to consider when choosing between passed hors d’oeuvres or a grazing station is your guest list. If your guests are the type who enjoy mingling with others and meeting new people then passed hors d’oeuvres would be a good choice.  This format encourages guests to move around and interact with others while enjoying the food. It’s well suited for networking events and fundraisers because it lends to mingling.

However, if your guest list includes a lot of children, older guests or people who require seating then a grazing station would be the better option.

5-Think Budget

Your budget is also a factor to consider when deciding which catering option to choose from. Passed food can be more costly than stationed hors d’oeuvres. This is because the caterer will need to provide more servers to continuously walk around with trays of food.

For a grazing station, the catering company staff will set up the station, and it takes fewer staff to maintain and replenish the food throughout the event.

6-Personal Preference

Last but not least, personal preference is important. For some, passed hors d’oeuvres are more chic and sophisticated, while others might prefer the relaxed, laid-back atmosphere that a grazing station provides. As a party host or event planner, it’s essential to factor in your personal preference. I always tell our clients that whichever format seems they like best is the right one to go with.

Ultimately, there are pros and cons to both passed hors d’oeuvres and a grazing station. Deciding which catering option to go for will ultimately depend on the formality of your event, your guest list, budget, and personal preference.

Whichever format you decide to go for, your catering menu should provide guests with variety and  fit the overall feel of your event.  No matter which format you choose, both passed and stationed food  have one thing in common – they’ll keep your guests satisfied and happy throughout the event.

I hope this helps you make the best choice for your event!

Get in touch with us to learn about our catering services or to book your next event in NYC.


Sweet Basil Catering

5 Reasons Your Event Needs Full-Service Catering

Planning a successful event in New York City can be as challenging as hailing a cab in the rain. Sure, you can DIY your event by ordering drop-off catering and doing your own set up. But hiring a full-service catering company won’t only save you time and stress- It’ll take your event to the next level.

What is full-service catering?

Full-service catering means hiring a company to handle every aspect of your event, from menu planning  to setup, service and clean up. Most full-service caterers in New York provide food and beverages, equipment rentals, staffing, and decor. In short, they take care of everything so your time is freed up to focus on other things.

Now that we have a basic understanding of what full-service catering entails, let’s dive into the top five benefits of hiring a full-service caterer.

1-One Stop Shopping

Organizing an event can be overwhelming, especially in New York where there’s no shortage of logistical challenges as well as numerous tasks to complete. When you hire a full-service caterer, they become your one-stop-shop for all things related to your event. They work with you to create a customized menu, handle all rental and staffing needs, and make sure everything runs smoothly on the day of your event.

2-Professional Staff for a Seamless Event

Not only does full-service catering include food, but it also includes staff to make sure everything runs smoothly. Full service caterers in New York provide captains who oversee the entire event, as well as servers, bartenders and kitchen staff to ensure that your guests are taken care of. Experienced event captains can anticipate problems and challenges before they happen. This allows you, as the host, to relax and enjoy your function without worrying about logistical details.

3-Saves Time

Planning an event takes time. By hiring a full-service caterer, you’re tapping into their expertise, which saves you a significant amount of time-from researching menus, figuring out where to put the bar, ordering  rental equipment like glassware, cocktail plates etc…Full-service catering specialists have relationships with trusted vendors, so you don’t have to worry about logistical details.

4-Customized Menus

One size does not fit all when it comes to creating memorable events. The best catering companies in NYC have a wide range of menu options to choose from and are able to customize menus specifically for your event. This means that you can create a menu that caters to dietary restrictions and/or cultural preferences, ensuring that all of your guests can enjoy the food. And bringing a unique and personalized touch to your event, makes it stand out from the rest.

5-High Quality Food & Presentation

One of the main reasons to hire a full-service caterer is for the quality of food and presentation. The top NYC catering services have professional chefs who are experienced in creating delicious and visually appealing food. They have access to premium local ingredients and place an emphasis on plating and elegant presentation. This attention to detail impresses guests, making your event feel more upscale and special.

In sum, full-service catering not only elevates the food experience but also significantly reduces the stress of event planning. This type of catering service handles every aspect of an event—from menu creation to final cleanup—allowing you to focus on enjoying yourself.  By choosing a reputable full-service caterer in New York you’re investing in the success of your event, ensuring gourmet food, seamless service, and a memorable experience.

I hope this helps!

Get in touch with us to book your next event.


Sweet Basil Catering

2024 Catering Trends That’ll Transform Your NYC Event

As we look into what 2024 holds for events, it’s clear that the New York City catering & events scene is about to get even more exciting. From plant-based foods, to fusion flavors, to interactive food stations, caterers in New York are going to take you on a delicious adventure. We’re going to dive into what’s in store for events in the Big Apple.

1-Interactive Food Stations

When it comes to food, it’s not just about what you eat, but how you eat it. In 2024 we’ll see a rise in interactive dining experiences at catered events that blur the lines between food and art. Instead of just serving plated meals, New York City caterers will offer live cooking stations, pop-up bars, and sensory booths that let guests customize their own food and drinks.

A survey by Eventbrite found that 75% of Millennials prioritize experiences over things and are willing to pay more for unique and memorable events. By incorporating interactive elements into your event, you can create a sense of excitement and participation for your guests.

2-Plant Based Foods

If you’re planning an event it’s very likely that some of your attendees will have dietary preferences and/or restrictions such as vegan, gluten-free, and dairy free.  Not to worry, because plant-based foods will rise to the challenge in 2024. A study by Upfield Professional 85% of consumers are interested in trying plant based foods.

At Sweet Basil we’ve had a significant increase in requests for vegan food over the past couple of years. I’m not talking about packaged plant based foods (like the Impossible Burger) that hit the market hard.  People are looking for delicious, freshly made vegan canapes and dishes. We’ve leaned into this demand and made it a goal to create plant-based foods that appeal to both vegans and meat-eaters, like our  butternut squash tostadas, miso & sesame  roasted portobello skewers & mini cauliflower tacos (pictured above).

3-Fusion Catering Menus

Fusion catering, the blending of different culinary traditions and techniques, will also gain popularity in 2024. New Yorkers are always looking for new and exciting food experiences. Expect caterers to push the boundaries with bold and creative flavor combinations. Imagine trying a Korean bulgogi taco, a Mediterranean-style pizza, and a Thai-inspired cocktail all at one event. This trend not only offers a variety of flavors but also celebrates diversity and inclusivity through food. It’s a great way to bring people together and create a multicultural experience for your guests.

4-Eco-friendly Event Equipment

No one wants to leave a party feeling guilty about the waste they’ve generated. That’s why sustainability will be a major concern for caterers and hosts alike in 2024. According to a report by the World Wildlife Fund, an estimated 1.3 billion tons of food are wasted globally each year, causing significant environmental damage and economic loss.

To avoid contributing to this problem, New York catering companies are adopting various green initiatives, such as sourcing locally grown and organic ingredients, composting food scraps, and using biodegradable packaging. Bamboo disposable cocktail plates & cutlery have become a popular option at events in place of plastic or china.  By choosing a caterer that values sustainability, you can show your guests that you care about the planet as well their appetites.

5-Desserts That Go Beyond Cake

Let’s be honest, when it comes to events, dessert is often overlooked.  In 2024, NYC caterers will take this to a whole new level with innovative and Instagram-worthy sweets. From donut walls and cotton candy clouds to nitrogen ice cream stations and edible flower lollipops, these desserts are both delicious and a visual feast. Social media has made food presentation increasingly important, and catering companies are taking note by creating stunning desserts that are both delicious and photogenic.

6-The Rise of Social Media & Catered Events

In today’s digital age, social media plays a significant role in how we experience events. Some New York caterers are leveraging this trend by creating Instagrammable moments and incorporating social media elements into their services. In 2024, expect to see more catered events with unique hashtags and live-streaming of food preparation. These digital touches not only add an interactive element but also increase the reach and exposure of your event.  So make sure you choose a caterer who understands the importance of incorporating these digital elements into your event for maximum impact.

In conclusion, 2024 will be an exciting year for catering. With a focus on sustainability, interactive food experiences, fusion menus, and innovative desserts, New York City caterers are finding new ways to elevate the event experience for their clients.


We’d love to make your next event a success.

Get in touch with us to start planning your event!


Sweet Basil Catering

How To Plan a Stress Free Catered Event

Are you feeling overwhelmed by planning your catered event?  We’ve all been there.  Hiring a professional catering service in NYC is, in itself, already a HUGE deal! And then when it comes to all of the planning and decisions it requires, like whether to serve passed hors d’oeuvres or to opt for food stations, how everything will look, etc… the stress can really escalate.

Whether it’s a private party, corporate cocktail reception, or holiday celebration, planning an event can be a daunting task. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Check out our top tips to guide you through the process with ease.

1-Set a Budget

Setting a realistic budget for your event is essential to ensure that you can cover all of your costs without overspending. Include things like catering, venue rental, decorations, equipment rental, entertainment, and any other services or products needed for the event. Have an estimated cost for each item and determine how much you’re willing to spend on each one.
This will help you stay within your budget and avoid surprise costs.

2-Review your guest list

Once you have a budget in mind, it’s time to review your guest list. This will help you determine how much food and drinks you’ll need to provide for your guests.
Don’t forget to include any special dietary requirements so that you can be sure to have options available for everyone attending the event.

3-Find a venue

When planning a catered event, the first step is to find the perfect venue. There are hundreds of venues in New York City so it can be a little overwhelming to find the ideal one. The good news is there are lots of online resources that can help you narrow down your search. When researching venues, consider things like available space, ease of access, and any services that might be included like catering and AV

4-Choose the right catering service

When it comes to choosing a caterer, you want to make sure you pick the right one for your event. Start by researching New York City catering companies and narrow down your search based on the type of food you’re interested in as well as your budget and any special requests.
Review catering websites, social media, and menus to get an idea of the type of food they offer and make sure it aligns with your event’s theme and vibe.
And don’t forget to read reviews from previous clients to get an idea of the quality of their food and service. The more information you gather, the easier it will be to make a decision.

5-Discuss menu options with your caterer

When it comes to planning a catered event, food is one of the most essential details. Don’t be afraid to discuss various menu options with the caterer – they’re the experts and can provide helpful suggestions. Maybe you’re looking to serve vegan or gluten-free menu items. Or perhaps there are specific cultural considerations. Whatever the case may be, the caterer should be willing to work with you to create a delicious and inclusive menu that all of your guests can enjoy.

6-Do a site visit with the caterer

It’s important for the caterer to meet with you at the venue where your event will be. The goal of a site visit is to establish the flow of the event, determine the layout (like where the bar will be), review load-in and load-out times with the building, and determine the equipment needed.
A thorough site visit will help to avoid surprises on the day of the event!

7-Establish an event timeline

Creating an event timeline will help you ensure that your event runs smoothly and on time. Your catering company should work closely with you to create a timeline for your event. The caterer will typically do this at the site visit.
The timeline should include details like expected arrival times of guests, when the food should be served, when speeches or presentations should take place, as well as when entertainment and/or activities should begin. This will help you stay organized and on track.

8-Plan out the decor and equipment

Decorations can make or break an event, so it’s important to plan out the decorations ahead of time. From table settings and centerpieces to lighting and props, you want to create an atmosphere that brings your event together.
Most New York City catering companies will coordinate and order all of the basic rental equipment needed for your event. This includes items like glassware, plates, flatware, tables, chairs, and linens. Make sure to discuss these items with your caterer ahead of time so that you have everything you need for your event.

Now that you have our top tips you’re one step closer to planning your special occasion.
Contact us for a custom proposal and to start planning an unforgettable catering experience for you and your guests.