Image Credit: Kevin McGinn Photographer

Food For Thought

Selecting the menu for your wedding reception can be a difficult process. To help, Jacqueline Maya speaks with one of Your Private Chef’s co-founders, Ana Kolembus, about popular dishes and what couples should look for in a catering company.

Image Credit: Catering by Your Private Chef, Photography by Euro Photography

Choosing the menu for your wedding reception can be daunting. You need to consider dietary requirements and – most importantly – select meals that most guests will enjoy. However, engaging a professional and experienced caterer can make all the difference between having a delightful dining experience or a disastrous degustation.

Cater To You

Hiring a caterer to take care of your wedding menu is a big commitment. You want to find someone who’ll not only meet your expectations but also advise you on the best options available. Ana Kolembus says the key to finding the caterer of your dreams is to do your homework and ensure they have a diverse background. “A caterer should be a logistics professional as much as they are a food genius,” she says. “Your caterer is the glue that holds all your suppliers together, so they should be proactive in this role with you to ensure that services and timings are seamless.”

It’s equally important to select a caterer that makes you feel comfortable. Having a clear line of communication will ensure your caterer understands the various elements required in order to provide you with your dream wedding. “You will be sharing this wedding journey with them for a few months, so it’s important that you connect well and feel supported,” Kolembus says. “It’s important you go with your gut.”

Tasting Success

Now that you’ve found your dream catering company, it’s important to understand some of the processes involved so you’ll know what to expect.

After your initial meeting, you’ll most likely be given the option to attend a tasting session, which can incur additional fees. However, booking a tasting session will allow you to get to know your caterer a little more, as well as the ability to preview your selected dishes before they arrive on the big day. Tasting sessions also provide you with the opportunity to tweak elements of each dish to align with your desired tastes.

A professional caterer will be conscious of the fact that couples have a life outside of planning their wedding, so

sometimes they’ll prefer to chat online, over text or on the phone, or via email. A good sign that your caterer is willing to go that extra mile is if they adapt to whatever contact method is easiest for you! Some caterers, such as Your Private Chef, can organise tasting sessions after hours, and even credit your tasting to your final bill once you’ve confirmed your booking.

Menus To Dine For

The next part of your culinary journey is to decide on the catering style you wish to have. The atmosphere you and your partner want to create on your wedding day will depend on the type of menu you choose. A traditional wedding may have a multiple-course, sit-down menu, while food stations or buffets are better suited to a cocktail-style soiree.

Traditional plate service is an elegant and timeless catering method for offering guests an unforgettable dining experience. Kolembus says some of this season’s most favourable dishes include:

Entrée: Pan-seared scallops served with a black pudding emulsion, cauliflower, sherry-soaked golden raisins, and apple and celery.

Main Course: A grilled rack of lamb with a parmesan crust, smashed potatoes, braised baby leeks, and a port wine jus.

Dessert: A melting-centre Italian soufflé with chocolate soil, raspberries, and vanilla mascarpone with tuile.

Ideal for low-maintenance brides-to-be, casual, relaxed weddings are also in vogue. Canapés are an enjoyable alternative for those who prefer something a little different. With a range of delicious morsels to choose from, selecting only a few can be quite difficult. However, according to Kolembus, you can’t go past a mini charcoal slider with pulled beef brisket, cola barbecue sauce and spiced slaw, which is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. Dessert canapés are also a lovely touch, as even the most reluctant sweet tooth will be enticed to indulge.

A Family Fare

A popular question couples ask when tailoring their wedding menu is whether they should take into consideration what their guests would prefer to eat.

While there isn’t a wrong answer, Kolembus says it is important to take care of your guests. To avoid choosing a menu that most of the family will turn their noses up at, Kolembus suggests asking yourself whether you have the kind of family who are likely to get a little panicked if they don’t see a large spread of food. If so, then canapés might not be the best option. Another aspect to consider is whether your family expect to have a seat all night. If the answer is yes, opt for a sit-down style.

Special Requests

Many people have food intolerances or allergies, so it’s expected that alternative options will be provided for guests with specific dietary requirements. Kolembus recommends asking guests about this during the RSVP process. Last-minute adjustments to the menu are inevitable, but a professional and experienced caterer will be able to accommodate these changes with ease. Kolumbus says they should also be able to do this without an additional cost, unless you’re making changes to a set menu.

Trending Treats

While plate service is still a popular catering option for weddings, Kolembus has seen a rise in bookings for relaxed dining and non-traditional food choices. “Food stations are the hottest catering trend; they’re soaring in popularity due to their versatility, and – most of all – because of how incredible they look!” she says. “We recommend a stunning cold grazing table to start, followed by a hot food station as your main. Or, combine several hot food stations for a great varied spread.”

Kolumbus says social snacking, such as shared feasts and buffets or banquet-style dining, is also becoming increasingly trendy.

The Last Bite

Choosing the right caterer can set the entire tone for your wedding day. By enlisting a company with which you’re comfortable, you’ll have a menu that will not only represent you as a couple, but one that your guests will also love!