The Captivating Culinary Delights of Saint Germain Catering

The Ultimate Event Catering Company Guide to Essential Pantry Items

Event Catering Company Guide to Essential Pantry Items

A delicious meal starts with the basics. You can make almost anything with some fresh produce and a high-quality protein as long as your kitchen already houses certain spices, oils, acids and other essentials. At Saint Germain, we know that the best event-catering companies use simple ingredients to create outstanding menus, and you can do the same at home. It all starts with our guide to the essential pantry items every home cook should have nearby.

Salt and Pepper

These are the two foundations of flavor. At the very least, you should have non-iodized options such as pink Himalayan and kosher salt on hand at all times plus black peppercorns you can grind fresh as you need it. For bonus points, try some smoked salt and other pepper varieties like green or pink peppercorns.


Oils are used for everything from dipping to sautéing to making vinaigrettes. The less processed the application (meaning the closer to raw you’ll be using the oil) the more important the oil’s quality becomes, though quality is always something you should aim for. Snag a fragrant extra virgin olive oil for dressings and dips and a less expensive version for cooking. You also need some vegetable oil for neutral recipes and baking and sesame oil for dishes with an Asian twist.

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Fresh acids like lemon and lime juice are important to a lot of dishes, but it can be hard to keep them on hand, especially in winter months when prices tend to skyrocket. Vinegar is shelf-stable and provides a ton of zip. Try to stock a variety that includes versatile white wine vinegar, red wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar (we like the unfiltered kind) and balsamic.

Hot Sauce

There are about a million kinds of hot sauce on the market these days, give or take a few. While standbys like Cholula and Tabasco pack heat and a decent zing from vinegar, many chefs are gravitating toward Asian chili pastes and pepper sauces because they have layers of flavor far beyond heat. Korean gochujang, Chinese chili paste and sriracha are all cook favorites that can be added to marinades and soups or used as a condiment.


This might not seem like such an obvious pantry essential, but mustard can be used for so many things that it’d be a crime not to include it here. Sure, there are sandwiches and hot dogs, but mustard is also a great emulsifier for salad dressings, a yummy addition to marinades and a terrific way to get a crust or rub to adhere to a piece of meat.

Dried Herbs and Spices: A Glimpse Into Our Event-Catering Company Stash

Let’s be honest. While we’d all love to have a garden filled with basil, mint and rosemary in our backyard, most of the time that just doesn’t happen. When you’re using herbs in large quantities, it’s easy to buy several bunches from the farmers market and use them up quickly. But most home cooks understandably don’t want to invest in a $4 bunch of chives when they only need a few snips. In the absence of fresh, dried herbs and spices will work, but they’re far more effective in cooked dishes where the liquids activate the dried oils and amp up the flavor. What you stock depends on what you cook, but these are all stellar options:

  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Rosemary
  • Paprika
  • Bay Leaves
  • Allspice
  • Ginger
  • Chili Powder
  • Cumin
  • Cinnamon
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • Curry Powder
  • Garlic Powder
  • Thyme
  • Onion Powder

Top-rated event-catering companies like Saint Germain are always taking advantage of new, exotic and seasonal ingredients to surprise and delight clients. Stay tuned for the second edition of our pantry essentials series for another look at the edible items we can’t live without!

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