Planning a special event with a sit down meal? Not too sure what you should be serving?

People will be expecting top quality, exquisitely presented, delicious food…no pressure!

Sometimes keeping things simple and playing on people’s expectations can be an all round winner. VIP dining menus are cliche for a reason, people love them!

We’ve done some of the hard work for you and have picked out some great catering ideas for a VIP gala dinner.


Sea food as a starter is always a winner, with prawns appearing top of the bill. Whether it’s a fancy prawn cocktail, or just prawns layed out on a dish with an accompanying sauce, generally the rule is, the bigger the better! After all this is the first dish and you want to impress! Just make sure they are top quality; taste is more important than size.


Bruschetta is a simple starter that can be jazzed up depending on what you put on top of it. Whether it’s tomato and basil, red peppers and aubergine, or a personal favourite goat cheese, caramelised onions with a balsamic glaze; these are easy to assemble, can be eaten hot or cold and the balsamic glaze can be used to decorate the plate, to add more to the presentation of the dish.


Another classic dish that people wouldn’t necessarily cook themselves at home, so is often a dish people love to have at events. The beauty with scallops is that there are numerous accompaniments that can go with them. You can serve them seared in a herb butter sauce, sitting on a bed of pea puree or even have tempura scallops. This dish is highly adaptable, so can easily be made to fit in with the theme and tastes of your menu.


Steak is an easy dish to get wrong, so getting this right can be an impressive (and delicious) feat, especially when cooking at scale for many people. There’s not a lot of things that don’t go with a steak, so you have a wide choice of what to serve with it too. A personal favourite would be dauphinois potatoes, with seasonal greens on the side.

Rack of Lamb

Whether served as a rack of lambs or as a crown, this dish always looks impressive. Like with steak, there are a lot of different things you can serve with lamb. We would just make sure there was some mint sauce around as this is the traditional condiment that it served with it. Feel free to break away from tradition, if this doesn’t fit with the tastes of the menu.


Serving lobster (or indeed crab) is a luxury dish to have on the menu. They are messy to eat but if you get great quality produce, people will be trying to get every bit of meat out of them. If you’re going to serve lobster or crab, it’s best to serve the whole thing as it may be seen as being cheap to have half a lobster, or just adding the meat to a dish, such as lobster linguini. If you’re going to do something, do it right! Plus it looks like a showstopper too.


If you’re looking for an impressive looking dessert, a large selection of different flavoured and different coloured macarons are a great choice. These can be brought over to each table in the form of an impressive tower, making it even more of a spectacle.

Crème Brûlée

Another firm favourite to serve at a dinner party, you have the option to go with the traditional flavour of vanilla, or you could change it totally but infusing it with lavender or even creating a Bailey’s creme brûlée to create a chocolatey, boozy dessert.

Chocolate Soufflé

Good things comes to those who wait and this phrase has never been truer than with a chocolate soufflé, which generally takes up to 30 mins to be made. However, if this is already on your menu as the dessert of choice, these can be made as people are eating their mains, so they’re not waiting too long for the sweet.

Cheese Board

This dessert can cater for those with a sweet tooth and those without. Serve with honey, grapes and figs for those that need something sweet, or cheeses that contain dried fruit like cranberries always goes down well. For those that love savoury, make sure to have a selection of different flavours of savoury crackers, served with smoked cheese or blue cheese.

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