Fancy Plants Catering is our catering company in Chicago. We can accommodate many different requests, and inquiries can be made by contacting us on this site.
Here is one testimonial from one of our regular clients in San Francisco, Jenny Boyle owner of JBI Designs:
“We’ve used Fancy Plants Catering numerous times. First, because the food is phenomenal. Kevin has impressed so many San Francisco foodies and restauranteurs who have come to our events, who are also unapologetic omnivores, even though the food that Kevin makes is 100% plant based and vegan. Perhaps 90% of the people who Kevin catered for at our events aren’t even vegetarian, but they absolutely love the food. The food is very smart, inventive, satisfying, and comes off very naturally.
Secondly, because he’s very competent. Kevin and I talk briefly about the event, set a budget, and he draws up a menu that he thinks will fit my tastes. It’s always very on point, and there’s always a few enjoyable surprises. A sesame ‘snow’ on smoked beet nigiri, with 4 other types of vegan sushi made by a 20 year veteran Japanese sushi chef? These are things that Kevin made happen at an event, and I didn’t even know I wanted, until he suggested it. There’s always some fun ideas that he’s very excited about, and you should go down that path with him. When I have further suggestions for the food, he knows how to seamlessly work them into the menu. He is easy to trust, easy to work with, and is extremely calm and reassuring, even when dealing with some very large and important events. He brings a fantastic, professional staff, that can smoothly manage 3 floors of catering and passed appetizers.
Cooking at a high level is one skill, and carrying it on a big scale for 100 people is another. I love that Kevin and his staff do both exceedingly well, but are still very easy going. They casually kill it, and you forget that the food is 100% vegan. They make it fun. It’s hard to imagine having anyone other than Kevin cater for me, as we’ve built a trust, and he’s always excited about some new thing to bring to the table. He may be in Chicago now, but I’m happy to bring him back to San Francisco for all of our future events.”
Thank you Jenny! That said, here are some sample menus and themes we can recommend:
Passed Appetizers/Cocktail Party:
*Crostini Bar: Fresh baked crostini with your choice of different toppings. Some of our favorites include smoked lentil spread with tomato confit, charred eggplant with garlic confit and herbs, creamy artichoke dip, our saag paneer inspired spinach dip, grilled pepper tapenade with herbs, or our cashew brie with baked apple and olives.
*Buckwheat Blini with Cashew Creme Fraiche and Kelp Caviar and Dill
*Polenta Cake Bites: Topped with fermented pepper aioli, grilled shiitake mushrooms, and chives.
*Belgian Endives filled with Macadamia Nut Cheese and Radish. Most any crostini spread works as an excellent filling for the endives, which is an excellent gluten-free option for your guests.
*Deviled Mini Potatoes: Made in the same fashion as deviled eggs, only we hollow out and whip the potato, then top it with smoked seitan bacon and chive.
* Rumaki: Water chestnuts with grilled scallion, wrapped in a smoked eggplant ‘bacon’ and baked with a soy-ginger glaze.
*Trumpet Mushroom ‘Scallops’: We confit slices of king trumpet mushrooms, then pan sear them to form a nice caramelized crust. Served with our cocktail sauce, or with lemon and kelp caviar.
*Sliders: Choose between a rich, barbecued jackfruit ‘pulled pork’ with cucumber pickles, or a smoked and dry rubbed seitan with sriracha aioli, avocado, and cilantro.
*Stuffed Medjool Dates: Filled with our housemade almond ricotta, and served with scallion, pomegranate molasses, and chile oil.
*Fondue: We make an Alpine style cheese that we’ll use to make a creamy, delicious fondue that is completely decadent. Suggested items for dipping include: Broccoli tips, smoked potatoes, rye bread, roasted cauliflower, charred scallions, apples, and seared Brussels sprouts.
*Saag Paneer inspired Spinach Dip: We make a cashew cream cheese that is ideal for making rich spreads, and with this one, we take inspiration from a Midwest classic, as well as the saag paneer spice blend used in Indian cuisine. Served with fresh sliced baguette, crostini, and endives for those who might be gluten-free.
*Artichoke Dip: Same concept as the spinach dip, only we use fresh lemon and artichokes.
*Baked Potato Bar: Build your own fully-loaded baked potato! Different accroutrements include a warm cheddar style fondue, roasted broccoli tips, scallions, smoked seitan bacon bits, scallions, and our housemade whipped cashew sour cream.
*Slider Bar: Build your own sandwiches! We can serve the barbecued jackfruit ‘pulled pork,’ smoked dry rubbed seitan, cucumber pickles, red onion, garlic or sriracha aioli, lettuces, hot sauce, etc.
*Tamale Bar: We make and steam excellent tamales filled with our meltable cashew cheese, grilled green chiles, and your choice of seitan, tofu, or jackfruit style chorizo. Served with cashew sour cream, avocado, tomatillo salsa, and red chile sauce.
*Lasagna: We make a classic lasagna using housemade noodles, a rich tomato sauce, a hickory smoked lentil bolognese, basil, and our meltable cashew mozzarella. A perfect dish for the reluctant omnivore.
*Roulades: Our pastry dough wrapped around salt roasted root vegetables, cashew crema, and our smoked truffle infused lentils. Served with sauces of your choice, be it our warm cheddar-style fondue, or a beet-red wine reduction (as shown).
*Mac ‘n’ Cheese: Macaroni noodles cooked al dente, and baked in our creamy cashew based cultured cheese sauce. Seasoned with parsley and pepper, and topped with a generous amount of herb-scented bread crumbs, as well as our grated housemade almond parmesan.
Interested in a truffled mac ‘n’ cheese?
Or a spicy mac ‘n’ cheese?
We like requests for variations.
Party Theme Ideas
If you are interested in a theme that can tie your party together, we have a few ideas. Feel free to suggest your own as well!
Italian: Lemon and herb marinated olives, the polenta bites, arancini di riso, fresh baked focaccia, sides of seared Brussels sprouts or broccolini with lemon and chile, and our lasagna.
Americana: Rumaki, spinach or artichoke dip with bread and crostini, the loaded baked potato bar, sliders, and the mac ‘n’ cheese.
Tiki: We prepared an excellent Tiki menu when catering for Veg News magazine in San Francisco, and it was a great success! The rumaki, Kona-coffee rubbed king trumpet mushroom ‘scallops,’ fried taro chips topped with heart of palm and macadamia nut poke, grilled rice cakes topped with shiitake mushroom and green curry emulsion, jicama and carrot spring rolls served with Huli-Huli dipping sauce, and Kalua pork style jackfruit wrapped in banana leaves.
We have a litany of great dinners that we’ve made in the past, and are happy to repeat or interpret the recipes as the season allows. Here’s a list of some of the dinners we’ve done, which are a great reference point for you’re event.
Each of the options are a link you can click to view our previous menus:
Vegan Cheese Feast
Rome-inspired Vegan Feast
Italian Vegan Family-Style Feast
Avant Garden: Vegan Molecular Gastronomy
Thai Family-Style Feast
Vegan Greek Family-Style Dinner
Brunch at the Humboldt House
‘Let Us Not Cook For You’: A Raw Feast
Supper Club Tribute
Modern Vegan: Whole Vegetable Cookery
‘The Kidz Meal: Childhood Favorites Revisited’
Vegan Japanese Beer Food
This touches on some of what we have to offer for you, but we’re very happy to discuss and accommodate what you would like for your event!
Here are a few more testimonials from catering clientele:
Burak Sarac of Chat Tech USA in Chicago:
“I have attended few of Kevin’s dinners so when I held a holiday party for my clients / friends, I did not hesitate asking for Kevin’s help with catering. Even though more then half of my guests were meat eaters, I can’t get myself to buy / serve animal products. Kevin not only pleased my vegan crowd, he captured the interest, and impressed of all my guests. He lifted the experience to another level with his personal touch, complex flavors, and incredible presentations. I have spend a lot of energy / money to make my event a success but among all aspects of the event, Kevin’s catering blew everything else out of the water. My guests still talk about it today. I look forward to asking for his help in the near future with full confidence, and excitement.”
Gregory Potts in Chicago:
“Kevin catered a holiday party for a full houseful of our friends. With his help, everything was full service, stress free and delicious. Most of our guests were not vegans, but everyone loved the food.”
Hope to see you soon!