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Vegetable Tray

Vegetable Tray
Vegetable tray or a crudite platter, however you want to say it, vegetables can be works of art. Appeal to the eyes first, then grab them with the flavors.
AC Cruditie Platter
Blanching hard vegetables like cauliflower, improves their color and texture.
Vegetable Tray
Palm tree peppers highlight the colorful tray

A vegetable tray should be an edible work of art for your guests to enjoy.

A vegetable tray or cheese platter is a great choice if you are serving a rich meal to your guests;  you don’t want them to fill up with heavy appetizers. 

Your guests will be able to serve themselves and you can create your vegetable tray early in the day. What could be easier?

A vegetable tray should be an edible work of art for your guests to enjoy.

You are serving a rich meal to your guests, so you don’t want them to fill up with heavy appetizers. A cheese platter or a vegetable tray is a great choice.  Your guests can serve themselves easily and you can create your vegetable tray early in the day. What could be easier?

Here are some secrets that chefs use to create artful vegetable trays.

The first thing to remember is that the fresher the vegetable, the better the flavor. Look for seasonal vegetables first, when thinking about creating your vegetable tray. For example, the best time to include tomatoes on your vegetable tray is definitely summer time. If you aren’t sure what is fresh, ask your produce manager, they love to talk about their vegetables.  Also, you should consider where the vegetable is grown. Most of the time, the manager can tell you where it is grown and when it was picked. Tomatoes picked when they are green in Mexico, in February, will turn red in their crates while being transported. They are not vine ripened and will don’t have the same flavor as summer tomatoes.   (Plus, they have almost zero vitamins by the time they reach you.) So, in the winter, look for vegetables  like cauliflower, first.

The next thing to consider is the flavor, color and texture of the vegetables. Vegetables are 90% water. So to be very crisp, they must stay moist.  If you cut up your vegetables the day before your event, make sure to leave plenty of moisture in a zip lock bag and seal them tightly inside.  I usually roll mine up in damp paper towels or cloth towels and place them in large bags. Keeping them separated inside the bags is a good idea too. Many vegetables have strong flavors and you don’t want your carrots to pick up a broccoli flavor by storing them together.

Also, slightly blanching many of the really hard vegetables after they are sliced in slightly seasoned water will improve their color and make it easier for your guests to enjoy. You still want them to be crunchy, but not so hard that someone breaks a tooth when biting down.

Finally, find a beautiful plate, platter, wood cutting board or serving platter.  Look for interesting cups to hold your dips and maybe some of the vegetables to create some height on the tray. If you are going to create your tray in the morning, spray a little water over the vegetables and cover well with cellophane wrap, store in the refrigerator. Get out 30 minutes before serving. Vegetables have the most flavor at room temperature.

And remember…great food is art!


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Our Client Reviews

“What an awesome team of professional, knowledgeable chefs, who were led by Chef Pharrell that helped us build a team cooking event into a very friendly competition and helped our teams work together to plan, execute against the plan and prepare a variety of meals, which were shared and enjoyed by all. Thank you so much for helping make a successful event for our group!”

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Aphrodiete T, San Diego, CA

“We hired Chef Pharrell for a Mothers Day dinner for our family. Very simply, she did what she said that she would do! She was easy to work with to create the menu and very accomodating to our dietary issues. Food looked great and tasted great. It was appreciated by all and made the day all that more special.”

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