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At the Bar: Getting Creative with Iced Tea


Photo credit: Blue Plate Catering

Guest post by Blue Plate Mixologist, Lov Carpenter

Iced tea is a warm weather staple. Whether it’s green, black, herbal, or the go-to Lipton, iced tea is a refreshing alternative to iced coffees. Not only is it great for non-alcoholic beverages, tea can also provide a great canvas for fun, summer iced-tea cocktails. Of course, we’re all familiar with the Long Island Iced Tea — that booze-packed party starter popular on college campuses and dive bars. But tea-based cocktails have come a long way, and they’re a great addition to any event, from backyard BBQs to dinner parties, even weddings. Tea cocktails are also quick, easy, and great for batching.

There are some amazing teas on the market; from rich, smoky pu-erh to bright, tart hibiscus, there’s a tea to fit your palette. David’s Tea is one of our favorites at Blue Plate for fun blends, and Rare Tea Cellar is our go-to for unique and distinct flavors.

Below is an easy-to-make tea-based cocktail to consider for your next event.

Gold & Magic
2 oz Magic Dragon tea (David’s Tea)
1 oz Don Q aged rum
.5 oz lemon juice
Muddled blackberries

Muddle 4-5 fresh blackberries. Add remainder of ingredients, shake with ice and strain into Collins glass. Add ice. Garnish with lemon slice and fresh blackberries. For easy batching for larger groups, make a blackberry syrup.

Giving back at After School Matter’s Summer Teen Cuisine Event


Giving back at After School Matter’s Summer Teen Cuisine Event


Being part of the Chicago community means investing and giving back. When we’re not creating memorable culinary experiences for our clients, we dedicate time and resources to organizations that align with our company mission and values, as part of our corporate social responsibility program.

This year, our focus is on education and continuing to support After School Matters, a non-profit organization that provides life-changing, after-school and summer program opportunities to nearly 16,000 Chicago high school teens each year. One such program is their Advanced Culinary Program, which pairs budding tastemakers and chefs-to- be with local chefs for a series of lunches during the summer, served on the third-floor terrace of Gallery 37 Center for the Arts.

Last year, Chef Randal Jacobs lead students through the culinary steps of menu design, recipe execution and service for a Blue-Plate- inspired lunch. This year, students have been introduced to a variety of cuisines from the menus of favorite local restaurants including Black Bull, El Che and Allium at Four Seasons Hotel Chicago.

We’re partnering with After School Matters outside of the kitchen, too. Three of our employees served as mentors to students in the spring 2017 Corporate Mentorship Program. We’re also looking into partnering with teens in the future on a community service project.

It was a pleasure get to try last week’s American BBQ menu provided by Pork Shoppe BBQ for the kick-off luncheon. Check out pictures from the day and if you are as inspired by this program as we are, we highly recommend you attend one of the upcoming Teen Cuisine lunches taking place every Friday through August 4th and the final lunch taking place on Thursday, April 10th. Purchase individual tickets or get a group together and purchase a table to help support these amazing teenagers.

Looking Back at a Creative Outdoor Event with HMR Designs at Hudsonville Dahlia Farm



It all started with a bride’s quest for dahlias.


Which is how we found ourselves on a bus one day last fall with Brittanie Navarro and the team from Blue Plate’s longtime partner and collaborator, HMR Designs. Destination: Hudsonville Dahlia Farm in Michigan for a farm-to-table lunch and flower-picking getaway. Brittanie wanted to host an informal lunch with the wedding planner using the farm as the backdrop, so she reached out to our team for inspiration. A simple menu request soon turned into a fully produced event; when people who cater events co-host events themselves, no opportunity is lost on the chance to create a memorable experience.


In the Kitchen With Blue Plate: Spotlight on Strawberries

Strawberry and Baby Arugula Salad, Photo: Blue Plate Catering

Strawberry and Baby Arugula Salad, Photo: Blue Plate Catering

When we think of summer’s pantry of ingredients, the dependable strawberry comes to the top of our list. With its vibrant red color, juicy texture and signature sweetness dotted with mild tartness, strawberries add dimension, flavor and color to a dish. They are also packed with the good-for-you stuff like vitamin c, potassium, fiber, folate and antioxidants making them both delicious and healthy; a culinary win-win. They are available year-round but summer is when they should truly be enjoyed, and using strawberries in your menu can be as easy as presenting them in a fruit tray to infusing them in your drinks. Read our chef tips from Chef de Cuisine Melissa Chickerneo on how to use one of our favorite summer ingredients.


At the Bar: Rosé Wine


at the bar: rose wine

Photo credit: Chris Pople/Flickr

From backyard BBQ’s, rooftop parties, street festivals and baseball season, we know summer has officially hit when the rosé wine comes out. A perfect middle ground between red and white, rosés are food-friendly, perfect for cocktailing and outdoor events, and pair well with summer’s heat.