When choosing your wedding day menu, besides finances and number of attendees, the question in play lies in whether you cater your cuisine to your guests’ preferences or your own. It’s difficult to satisfy all of the tastes in the room but that doesn’t mean a couple should sacrifice their penchants on their big day.
We spoke with Pamela Pimiento, Senior Catering Sales Manager at Wolfgang Puck Catering to gain some insight into planning the perfect menu, no matter how many guests are on your list. Led by master chef Wolfgang Puck, who has obviously made a name for himself with multi-award-winning restaurants, cookbooks, retail products and more, the catering arm places as much emphasis on using the very best, fresh, seasonal ingredients for every single event. As Pimiento says, “The wedding menu is a reflection of who they were as individuals and who they have become as a couple.” With that in mind, couples can delve into their menu focused on themselves, but with these tips, can execute a roster of fine foods that will also satisfy the people they’re spending their special day with. Keep reading to see tips for planning, the biggest mistakes couples can make and the biggest trends in wedding menus as of late.
What should be the first step in planning your wedding menu?
Get personal! We want to tell your individual love story. Each person has their likes and dislikes as well as common ground on foods that remind them of special milestones in their relationship. We want to create a customized culinary experience for each couple. Most recently, I had a bride who is an all American girl and her fiancée is from Lebanon. Their menu was a fusion of American dishes with Middle Eastern flavors. In one of our meetings, they mentioned one of their favorite trips was to New Orleans and the memories they had from that trip were amazing. They mutually fell in love with Cajun Cuisine. I knew then we had to bring some of that in! We did an amazing Jambalaya Arancini for their reception and people raved about it!
What are the biggest mistakes couples make when choosing their menu?
The food you serve at a wedding, or any event, can be a very complex and overwhelming element. People are so used to “okay” food that in order to push the envelope and do something great they tend to stumble a bit. Having the right guide is very helpful. I pride myself in having a culinary background that allows me to make food relatable to guests and come up with ideas on the spot that can be executed by our chefs. Sometimes they don’t know what they want until you propose ideas that “Spark Joy.” I always start by asking them to tell me if they were the guests, how do you imagine being treated, what would you like to taste, smell, drink, experience. I feel that’s where our Wolfgang Puck Catering team really excels. We know how to listen and translate those ideas into a custom-designed event.
What are the biggest trends you see in couples’ wedding menus lately?
Interaction is everything. People want to see, smell, hear and learn even before their first bite! These are a few of my recent suggestions for clients:
1. Punch Bowl Cocktail Cart: Using large format ice cubes with monograms in them adds a very “Instagrammable” moment. It’s a fast and easy way to do a specialty cocktail while still making it a fun experience.
2. Tray Pass Small Plates: we have been adding these as an added fun element. Usually 3 bites, in a small plate served with a fork.
3. Amuse Bouche: This is such a classic thing but people have recently been asking for something on their plates as guests sit down. It’s such a special touch. Most recently we have been doing our Pork Belly Maple Macarons with Egg Jam or the Beet and Goat Cheese Macarons.
4. Family Style Salads: This gives the guests a chance to sit down and enjoy some food before the festivities really begin.
5. Action Stations: a standard buffet or plated dinner are no longer exciting. After the salad, guests get to go to several stations where the chefs are serving and composing dishes while talking about the food! Some examples include Asian-Inspired Surf and Turf Chef Action Station which includes Hibachi Grilled Rib Cap with Black Miso Marinade and Smoked Pork Jowl “Lobster Roll” with assorted Crudos. Another idea is a Farmer’s Market Vegetable Stand, which includes Garden Vegetable Crudite with Edible Soil, Edamame Hummus, Shaved Artichoke Salad, Little Gem Lettuce with Radishes and Ricotta Salata, and Bee Hive Tarts. Our “LA Street Food” station is another popular one. This includes Poblano Mushroom Tacos with Kale, Avocado and Cilantro Crema, Smoky Chicken Tinga Tacos, Elote Corn Cakes with Peekytoe Crab and Mexican Street Fruit with Lime and Tajin Dipping Dots.