Chefs suggest ways to be creative with the menu at your reception
Couples are becoming increasingly creative with their wedding planning, scouring Pinterest and flipping through magazines in search of the perfect, unique touches to add to their special day.
Many even are straying from the traditional beef filet and chicken at the reception. Area chefs say there are plenty of options that will wow your guests without breaking your budget.
Amanda Bradham-Little, sales and marketing manager for Ces and Judy’s Catering, says that typically she raises the subject of alternative dishes with couples planning their wedding reception. Often they are concerned about how these dishes will affect their budget. However, some options are comparable in cost to beef or chicken.
“Duck is an excellent option for a wedding reception. It is different, elegant, holds well and has a moist flavor.
Holly Cunningham, owner of Hollyberry Catering, says that there are ways to be creative while staying within your budget.
“Preparation and presentation is a big part of making the culinary experience unique,” she says.
Cunningham says pork has become a superstar protein, both in restaurants and in catering. It is ideal for a reception because of its flavor, versatility and cost. She suggests using different spices, sauces and sides to bring out the flavor of the dish. Cunningham recommends a chimichurri sauce that features a vibrant color and tangy flavor without being too spicy.
Trent Thrun, executive chef for Steven Becker Fine Dining, suggests seasonal market fish as a healthier and tasty alternative.
“A lot of our clients want something different. They are tired of going to a wedding and seeing only beef and chicken. With fish, you can craft elegance and get away from the norm. A fish like red snapper is light, flaky and has a buttery flavor,” says Thrun.
Using local foods is another request of couples, although it can be pricey. Michael Jones, chef and co-owner of Parings Catering, suggests bison as a healthy alternative. He says while the texture and flavor is similar to beef, it typically is leaner and has a milder taste than lamb or venison.
Cunningham urges couples not to try to please everyone because it’s typically a losing battle. However, you can offer variety and have some fun with the dishes you serve.
“Don’t be afraid to ask for something creative, even if you have a budget. Challenge your caterer and your chef to go beyond the status quo and give you that wow factor,” she says.