Fiesta Tips From a Foodie Fashionista

It’s National Hispanic Heritage Month, which means you get to celebrate your Latin-ness el mes entero. In honor of the occasion, we’ve asked Elaina Vazquez, executive chef and owner of the Chicago-based luxury catering company Boutique Bites (, for tips and ideas on how to throw a party in style.

Decked-out Décor
“Start with a bold color scheme and use it throughout,” says Vazquez. “To make the serving station pop, tie in floral arrangements or centerpieces that’ll complement the colors of the foods you’ll serve.” Get creative when setting up your table: Incorporate props that showcase your culture, such as Guatemalan worry dolls or tiny flags of each Latin American country, à la United Nations. Use coffee table books of your favorite Latino painters like Frida Kahlo, or designers like Oscar de la Renta, as the base for your platters for a chic presentation and great conversation-starters.

Fabulous Food
Bite-sized foods are always fun and festive. “Serve them on lollipop sticks to add a bit of playfulness,” says Vazquez. Assemble a spread with offerings like pork tostaditas made with braised pulled pork and served on fried tortilla rounds; and a queso blanco salad made with radish, cilantro, avocado, and malanga chips. “Spice up your menu with mini cocktails that complement your hors d’oeuvres, such as ceviche served in cups carved out of chunks of cucumber and paired with mini margaritas; or beef short-rib sliders served with a small shot of Mexican beer. Don’t forget dessert: Miniature servings of flan are sure to be a hit.