This question has been posed to me many times and my answer is always the same. Why choose just one? Why not offer all three. In my opinion it is always a disappointment when what is being offered doesn’t appeal to me. I happen to like chicken, beef and fish so I’m pretty easy to please. I could be in the mood for one or the other, depending on the day of the week, what I’ve eaten recently and just what I’m in the mood for. Not everybody is so easy to please however, and this could be a huge problem at a catered event. There is nothing worse than sitting at a table where half of the people are complaining about the food. Maybe I’m a little sensitive because I am in the food service business, but this is why I write this blog.
In my opinion, offering only one kind of food is just being lazy. As a professional, I always will go to the extreme to please my clients, and offering all three choices is just as simple as offering just one or two choices. I can see no other advantage to choosing just one item other than that it might be easier to accomplish. Having said that, there are some differences as to prep, cooking, and transporting.
So if the question were posed in a different way, such as which is easiest to do, than there are a lot different answers. The question also may be which is the most popular item. I would say overall, chicken is the most popular item and is probably the easiest to find the most recipes from which to choose. Chicken is by far the least expensive raw ingredient. Just off the top of your head, I’d be willing to bet you could think of many more chicken creations than beef or fish. It also is easiest to cook, prepare and transport after cooking. More people eat chicken than either beef or fish. You will often hear people who claim not to eat beef and many people don’t like fish, but almost everyone I know eats chicken. Some people eat chicken as the only meat consumed due to health reasons. It contains less fat and is considered a healthier choice than beef as long as it I cooked to the proper internal temperature of at least 165 degrees.
As for beef, it may be the more macho choice; what man doesn’t like a good steak. But as far as catering goes, a beef item is usually something braised, baked or stewed. Otherwise it would be quite tough. There are many beef items that can be served at catered events. The good thing about these kinds of beef dishes is that they can be prepared with inexpensive cuts of meat unless you serve something like prime rib. There are many people nowadays who don’t eat beef, so restricting yourself to this one choice would leave a lot of people with no entrée.
As for the last choice, which is fish, there are still quite a few people who don’t like fish and some who only like shellfish. So, as I mentioned previously, if I had to choose only one item it would always be a chicken dish. But if I were to serve fish at a catered event, it would almost always be a stuffed version or a breaded version – as fish is almost impossible to cook thoroughly without having it dry out during transportation. Stuffed versions of either sole, flounder or tilapia are a good choice.
So whenever possible, give people a choice or go with almost any kind of chicken dish to satisfy most of the people in attendance.