A LOOK INTO THE PAST A banquet and its organization are elements of an ancient culture that originates from diverse social classes. The rich as well as the poor used to hold a banquet to celebrate civil and religious events. Needless to say, that those banquets differed from one another depending on the cultural traditions and economic means, but they all had the same aim. The food and the table have always played the main part, from grand Roman salons to the Medici's courts, and in the dynasties of France and England. In Ancient Greece they used to serve ready-made food on a small wooden table. This style of service still exists nowadays and is named "Ă la Russian"; it corresponds to a common way of serving dishes already placed on the plates..
During the Roman Empire even the table was characterized with luxury and pomposity, meals became refined and elegant, which was a distinctive symbol of wealthy classes. In those times a great importance was given also to tableware and dishware which usually were made of lead and bronze.
In the Classic Age the convivial moment was not only an occasion to demonstrate good taste of life, in reality it was more a public than a private rite full of social and political significance.
In the Medieval Times, a banquet held by a noble man became a kind of public performance with a lot of acting which let him show off his richness and power.
The first set of etiquette rules started to be formulated in the courts; it was aimed at systematizing the norms of carrying out a banquet, for example, how to lay the table and which good manners to stick to during the meal. In the 16th century started the tradition to use round dining tables in order to overcome the hierarchical difference among the guests (in Medieval Times the seats were assigned according to the guest's social importance; the less important people sat further away from the landlord)
In the 18th century started a reversal tendency: the convivial moments even within a family became more austere. First the nobility and then the middle classes started to use the etiquette as a discriminating factor with the plebeian class. With the fallen privileges of the nobility and the rise of the middle class in the social structure spread the custom of organizing feasts in the hotels and restaurants (which was rarely used for wedding receptions). The growth of the social wellness spread during the economic boom in the 1970s entailed general availability of places used for ceremonies. That is why many people were pushed to search more exclusive places, like villas and castles, which used to be closed for years. In Italy the growth of mass tourism in the 1970s marked the development in the restaurant sector, so the establishment of the catering was brought into being by the demand to satisfy the diverse flows of customers.
The word catering started to be used in the Italian language in 1971, while banqueting dates back to the first half of the 1990s (1994) when appeared the demand to elevate the odor of the meal courses served together to a service of a different quality.
A LOOK INTO THE PRESENT In the restaurant world, we speak of catering for a relatively short time: the places where we serve lunch and dinner prepared by professionals were, by definition, the restaurants. Today it is a flourishing art whose name (catering & banqueting) evokes efficient organization, competence and business. A caterer works closely with clients to design, prepare, and serve menus for events, including wedding dinners, charity balls, holiday brunches, office lunches, and any other occasion where people gather and consume food. A caterer must understand how certain dishes work together, have strong interpersonal, particularly listening, skills, and the ability to manage a cooking and serving staff. Over 70 percent of all catering services are owner-run, so many caterers must also have sharp business acumen. The caterer must guarantee an appropriate safety food management system based on the principles of HACCP ( Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Point) and implementing them. FUTURE TRENDS IN CATERING The world of restaurant and catering is always looking for new ideas, to innovate, to amaze and why not, to improve the quality of the food it offers. There are two slogans that pervade trends and culinary innovations of 2012: health and sustainability, foods and flavors to give pleasure without harm to health. One of the most interesting trends is the spread of food without salt. The human body, in fact, does not need more salt contained naturally in foods. With a little 'skill you can cook good food without salt: it is to combine foods with less salt or spices, seafood, vegetables with sour or bitter, creating contrasts of flavors that make up for the need of salt. Another interesting trend is the raw food, which consists of eating only raw or cooked foods unless it 48 degrees. The raw food is stated in vegetarian and vegan cuisine. The theory holds that the human body to be strong and healthy, it needs elements of nature, fresh and healthy, as they are. As for the other aspect, that of the sustainability of the food, there is a widespread tendency to seek products Zero Kilometer, that is directly from the farmland. The idea is to avoid excessive contamination from transport with the happy consequence of stimulating the local economy. Given the progressive depopulation of fish resources more and more people are sensitive to the issue of sustainable and responsible fisheries and accordingly call for catering to account for the origin of the fish, and avoid serving protected species in danger of extinction.