Advice from one of Ireland’s top caterers.
As a wedding operator and event caterer I have worked exclusively with renowned Irish chef Johnnie Cooke for many years now.
Together we have created some unique wedding banquets and events. A blend of amazing culinary skills backed up by a top notch professional front of house team which has been carefully cultivated over the years has led to some beautiful events.
We have created banquets, buffets, family style, and sit down formal celebrations In marquees, castles and country estates all across Ireland, including Castle Oliver, Mount Juliet, Ballinlough and Lisnavagh to name but a few and we have even catered for members of the Spanish Royal family.
When it comes to weddings we realise that every occasion is unique and the importance of creating a bespoke menu to suit every couples tastes and budget.
Canapés are always a good idea as usually there is a time period between the ceremony, either church or civil when you will be mingling with your guests and taking the all important photos which do take time.
It is easy to come up with a selection to suit your budget and which do not clash with your dinner choices.
The most important thing is to meet face to face with your caterer and by this I mean the person who will be cooking for you on the day and not just a representative from a catering ‘company’. Every couple who books with Cookes Catering will have a preliminary meeting with Johnnie and myself and we will go through their vision for the celebration.
Some couples regularly have an exact idea of what they want and we love to embellish these ideas and suggest how we can make it exciting and unique with quality products and flavours. Others have no idea and are happy to be guided with a huge A la carte menu from which they can choose their three or four course dinner.
It is important to ask your caterers advice on what will work and what might not depending on the number of guests you will have for your meal. There are a range of options which can be tasty and unique, for example for large weddings you could go family style with an Italian style antipasti sharing platter or a beautiful seafood platter. These are great conversation starters for guests at tables who might not all know each other and sets a lovely relaxed amicable start for the meal.
It’s all about the tastings. Insist on tastings with your caterer and on various different dishes, discuss the presentation and the garnishes. I would recommend having a tasting with four people and choose four starters, four main courses and four desserts. This way everyone can share and compare. Vegetarian option should be discussed and agreed upon and you should discuss a silent option with your caterer. This is where your caterer will agree to provide a certain amount of an alternative dish in cases where someone may not like the chosen main course. This is important in the event of where you are not offering a choice on the main course. Offering a choice is costlier and does take more time to serve but what’s the rush. A lot of people feel like the meal should be rushed which is a shame as it is the most important part of the day and is always the one which people remember and talk about the most.
Desserts are the part of the meal which is the parting shot of the culinary experience and should not be overlooked or ignored. I believe the dessert course is as important as any other and this should be reflected in its selection and presentation.
Remember your caterer is there to showcase themselves, what they can do and ultimately want to be really proud of what they can produce for you to help you celebrate your big day. PM me for more information.
Or email Johnnie Cooke HERE