Say yes to the chef: five ways to nail your wedding catering

07 Sep 2016

By liaising with your wedding chef you will be able to personalise and perfect your wedding catering, as advised by QHotels

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Choosing the right menu for your big day can be as important as choosing the right dress. So, following the UK launch of reality TV programme Say Yes to the Dress, which puts a spotlight on brides choosing their wedding dresses, Russ Brown, food and beverage director at QHotels, gives his tips for creating the perfect wedding breakfast and saying yes to the chef.

On your wedding day, the only thing you want to see going back into the kitchen is empty plates, so you need to be confident that your menu choices will keep your guests happy.

Here is Russ's advice for working with your wedding venue’s chef to make those important culinary choices for the big day, to put your mind at ease and serve up a treat….

1. Meet your chef

Start by meeting your chef. By meeting the person responsible for designing and preparing your meal, you can explain your ideas for the wedding breakfast and get valuable advice for making the most of your budget and catering for a large party.

It’s also really important for chefs to see the big picture, to understand what else is going on at the wedding and how the meal fits in to your special day.

QHotels’ chefs are heavily involved in helping couples make their food and drink choices, by attending regular wedding tasting evenings at our hotels. It gives them the opportunity to talk with couples face-to-face about their plans for the day and to make menu recommendations. That way they can ensure couples are completely happy with their choices.

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2. Be creative

When it comes to choosing your menu, there are plenty of ways to add creative flair. Some couples include their theme in the wedding breakfast to add something extra to the meal.

QHotels have seen a wedding where the menu was designed around the couple’s hobby, scuba diving. It was no surprise that the couple chose to have a fish course, but they even opted for a fish-shaped lemon tart dessert. Although scuba diving was a fairly unusual theme, it went down a storm with guests.

Adding extra courses can also work really well. QHotels have offered seven-course tasting menus and multiple small tapas dishes, to break up the meal and add more of an intimate feel to the day.

If you’re unsure of how to add some creativity to your meal, don’t be afraid to ask your chef for some guidance and tips.

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3. But keep it simple

Remember who you’re catering for, whatever your choice of cuisine. You might have young children, vegetarians or people with other special dietary requirements attending your wedding, and fancy menu choices may not tick all the boxes.

Also, finger food or food with fiery spices might not be the first choice for every guest, so you need to ensure there is an alternative, simpler option for those with different tastes.

If you’re catering for a lot of guests, ensure your meal is practical and can be served on a large scale. Again, your chef will be able to help here. The chefs at QHotels always try to include a chicken or beef dish in any sample menus, as they are fairly safe options and preferred by a lot of wedding guests.

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4. Let your drinks bring your menu to life

Choosing the right drinks to accompany your meal can help bring your menu to life and add the wow factor.

Work with your venue’s sommelier to decide what wines, cocktails and spirits go with each of your courses. It’s important to bring out the right flavours to complement your meal choices, such as red wine with lamb or beef, or strawberries in champagne to make your dessert even sweeter.

To really get creative you can infuse botanicals in gin or vodka, like lemon and orange or cucumber and mint, to bring out the aromas and flavours of your meal.

Or you can personalise your drinks. One wedding at QHotels had two bespoke cocktails named after the bride and groom. This was a great way of personalising the menu and creating a memorable wedding breakfast.

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5. Experiment with evening buffets

After a long day of celebrating, guests look forward to soaking up the champagne with a hearty feast. And we’re seeing more and more couples choosing alternatives to the typical evening buffet that would have been expected many years ago.

QHotels have seen everything from steak and ale pie with chips, to curries and sushi. As long as it fits with your wedding style and theme, you can experiment with foods that you both really love and will keep guests going. Bacon sandwiches and hog roasts are great crowd pleasers and will help guests fill up and re-energise.

Whatever menu choices you make, ensure your chef is involved in the decision-making process and can offer advice and tips. After all, the wedding breakfast will play a big part in your special day so it’s important to give it as much care and attention as other aspects of the wedding… including the dress!

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