1. The Juniper Spoon
Chef and owner Lali Hess creates dinner-party menus that reflect the agricultural calendar. Translation: no asparagus in December. Fresh and seasonal are the words of the day, and Hess relishes the educational opportunity this provides for guests at in-home parties. Luckily, her boneless leg of lamb with parsley-shallot sauce is available year-round.
2. Circle City Soups
Indy’s own culinary dynamic duo, Roger and Cindy Hawkins, regularly impress diners with their his-and-hers shops Circle City Soups and Circle City Sweets, both at City Market. Outside counter-service hours, they team up to design customized menus for guests who want a perfect combination of savory and sweet.
3. Artisan Foodworks
Many people know Samantha Aulick and Alexa Lemley for their creative 240sweet marshmallows. But few know they developed the puffy treats to support their catering menus. With a seared ahi tuna carving station as an option, guests need to be deliberate about saving room for dessert.
4. Brad Gates Catering
While some chefs prefer to be left alone, Gates is happy to have the host and guests with him in the kitchen, where he can answer questions while he’s assembling gorgeous dishes like buffalo prime rib.
5. Eli Anderson and Nicole Ankney-Anderson
Since this culinary couple closed the popular H2O Sushi Bar, they have more time to grow 4 Birds Bakery and work with private clients. They can design menus that skew Northern Italian, Korean, or French. Have a guest list heavy on food sensitivities? They’ve developed a treasure trove of recipes loaded with flavor, minus gluten, dairy, nuts, and soy.