For nearly a decade, Elizabeth Tulipana, owner of Anticipation Events, of has been styling events throughout Chicagoland and beyond. We challenged her to put a new spin on the age-old buffet setup. The resulting ideas will have your guests clamoring to take both photos and bites. Forks up!

1. Family-style: Guests enjoy dinner served on platters in the middle of each table, enabling everyone to get food faster. It also helps spark table conversation, because you have to pass and share food with one another

2. Twelve-course  meal: An extravagant meal of tiny bites beautifully plated provides a huge wow factor to any event, if you have the budget.

3. Food trucks: Want to move the party outdoors? Enlist the city’s best food trucks to roll in and serve comfort foods like doughnuts, grilled cheese, tacos or pizza.

4. Breakfast for dinner: This is one of my personal favorites. Surprise attendees by serving decadent cinnamon rolls, quiches, breakfast meats and fresh fruit.

5. Upside-down meal: Serve dessert first, followed by an entree, and then appetizers as a late-night snack.

6. Picnic baskets: Fill picnic baskets with fresh bread, charcuterie, cold salads and maybe a split of sparkling wine for the table to share.

7. Individual lunch boxes: Good for a quick, casual meal, fill lunch boxes with local favorites or a few throwback food items to get people talking about the good old days of school lunches. Who doesn’t love a Capri Sun or a Fruit Roll-Up?

8. Farm lunch: Fill giant wooden boards with meats, cheeses, spreads, chips, dips, nuts, fruit, sweets, condiments, crackers, vegetables, etc. The more the merrier, and plate it beautifully for a great shareable meal. 

Jennifer Dalsbo, recreation sales manager for Grand Geneva Resort & Spa, just north of the Illinois border in Wisconsin, shares her best advice for planning a golf outing for a group.

 

Z BAR, the globally inspired cocktail lounge atop The Peninsula overlooking Michigan Avenue, offers customized batch cocktails for groups in an upscale, but relaxed atmosphere. The individual responsible for dreaming up and preparing these communal beverages is Vlad Novikov, who’s official title is director of cocktails and culture. Novikov’s travels frequently inform his mixology.