With a successful catering company, a new book and a wide array of celebrity followers, you would never guess that celebrated New York Caterer Peter Callahan used to be an investment banker.
“In my mid 20′s I very spontaneously left Wall Street to start a small catering co. The owner of the firm said I was the dumbest person he ever met to leave his company and all the future affluence it afforded. For a while I thought he was right….” Peter remembers. “Then, a creative streak I didn’t know I had kicked in — and I started dreaming up all sorts of new party food, bar designs, trays and buffets in ways nobody had ever seen.”
Since then, Peter has ignited the party world and is well known as the originator of the mini comfort food trend that has swept the wedding world. And – his new book, Bite by Bite: 100 Stylish Little Plates You Can Make for Any Party, shares a bunch of his delicious recipes.
Q: Your new book recently hit the shelves – congrats! Tell us more about it.
A: I hadn’t planned on doing a book, but Martha Stewart, who has always been fabulous to me, kept asking when was I going to do a book, and next thing you know I had a book!
Q: What is it like planning an event at The Breakers?
A: Planning an event at The Breakers is the ultimate plum job; it doesn’t count as work being surrounded by such fabulousness! And there are so many different location possibilities it is like 10 locations on one!
Q: Where does your inspiration come from?
A: My inspiration comes from everyday life and it pops into my mind randomly like a vision.
Enjoy these images from some of Peter’s favorite treats…
Q: Keeping in mind The Breakers tropical Palm Beach climate, give us three fun hors d’oeuvres you’d create for cocktail hour.
A: -A plantain cone with ahi tuna tartare is the perfect Breakers hors d’oeuvres — tropical cone topped with scoop of light diced jewel tone seafood.
-Lobster cucumber petit four under glass — this hors d’oeuvre with its individual glass dome has old-world glamour.
-Cod taco with papaya paired with mini rum punch in mini hurricane glass.
Q: What’s in: What hot new trend do you see emerging for 2012 weddings?
A: I see interactive stations becoming more part of receptions, before dinner perhaps a top chef seafood station where people have an array of ingredients and they construct their own dish.
Q: What’s out: Any trends you could leave behind?
A: I could easily say goodbye to chocolate fountains!
Q: What advice would you give to a bride who wants a traditional wedding with a modern twist?
A: Pick a great color to be a part of the event – it elevates a wedding. You can even do hors d’oeuvres trays and waiter neckties in this palette. Also, consider a combination of square tables and rectangular trestle tables for dinner.
Q: Give us three of your favorite weddings must-dos.
A: 1.Tons of passed bite size hors d’oeuvres
2. A surprise for after dinner, whether it’s a hot unexpected DJ, fireworks or a fun specialty cocktail or drink station
3. Seat everyone tightly both at the dinner tables and in the room as it makes for a much more energetic party
Q: What’s your take on edible to-go wedding favors?
A: Edible to-go wedding favors are here to stay! Mini pies, donuts, or whoopie pies to-go are fun, but the key is to package them beautifully.
Q: What’s the most important piece of advice you can offer a bride and groom?
A: Enjoy your engagement and wedding reception. Make the whole process of planning a joy. And above all — eat at your own reception!
Photos by Mel Barlow
Q: The Breakers has an immense history and some amazing architecture – How would you use this to inspire you and your events at the hotel?
A: One of my favorite things in Palm Beach and The Breakers is travertine stone. This coral imprinted stone is grand and speaks of the ocean. So I would have trays made of travertine for passing hors d’oeuvres and bar tops made from travertine.
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More: Meet all The Breakers’ Dream Makers in our Spotlight With A Guru