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How Fine Dine Wedding Caterers are Making It an Affair to Remember

11 Jun , 2016  

I have vivid memories of attending weddings as a kid where I would be helping myself to the food at the buffet and the videographer would suddenly pop up to take footage of the guests. There would be awkward shots of people, pretending not to be conscious of the camera as they tucked into the food. The food, almost always consisted of highly greasy curries that strangely looked similar – meats and vegetables swimming in thick red-coloured gravies.

In 2016, this sounds unimaginable! “Quinoa, Brussel sprouts, chia seeds, amaranth and even millets, these are the sort of ingredients that our clients now ask for when placing orders,” says Parvinder Singh of Mini Punjab who caters for a bulk of the weddings in Mumbai and counts Bollywood big-wigs amongst his clientele.

So what’s really changed? The well-travelled Indian has become a food connoisseur and wants to get unusual international cuisines onto their wedding tables. The menu that is sent across to the client has almost all the food options that one can think off. Mostly youngsters get back to us with more ideas and suggestions and on the day when the menu is decided, we as chefs have a tough time keeping up with the demands from clients,” says Chef Anees Khan, Founder and Chef of Star Anise Patisserie and Star Anise Fine Foods Pvt. Ltd, who has catered for a myriad of clients ranging from major industrialists to prominent NRI families.

Presentation is key - even with Corn on the Cob by Chef Anees Khan

Presentation is key – even with Corn on the Cob by Chef Anees Khan

 

Not only do people want the best of organic local produce, but the best of exotic ingredients are flown-in from around the world too. “Sometimes, the client himself tries to source out ingredients from Middle-East and neighboring countries. For example, a client wanted Kunafa (Middle Eastern dessert) to be made for his son’s wedding, as most of his guests were being flown from Dubai. However, it turned out to be a tall-task for us to source so much (good quality) Kunafa and the cheese locally. Hence, we had to request the client to help us source the ingredients from Dubai which was done the very next day,” elaborates Chef Anees.

Thaal of Arabic Mezzo by Chef Anees Khan

Thaal of Arabic Mezzo by Chef Anees Khan

 

Chef Sandeep Pande, Director of Culinary for Renaissance and Fairfield properties in Lucknow, points out that in India, unlike the West, families plan ‘shaadis’ with functions than span over a few days, as opposed to the Western concept of just the one-function-wedding. Taste and showmanship rules,” he tells me. “Once for a wedding we had a chai maker from Jodhpur, ingredients from Thailand, chefs from Kashmir and a Lindt chocolate kitchen from Dubai!”

Duhar ki Seekh by Chef Sandeep Pande

Duhar ki Seekh by Chef Sandeep Pande

 

It’s not just ingredients that are in the spotlight, but presentation too! Especially with everyone wanting to Instagram the perfect food picture or Snapchat a food story at wedding functions. A fact the creators of such food are only too well aware of. We first serve dishes that can be captured, sometimes the lights are turned on a bit, the table de-cluttered and later the dishes arrive to be eaten – obviously these are the same dishes, but served twice,” says Chef Pande. It’s tedious, but as Chef Anees points out, “Food has always been eaten with the eyes first, so all this focus on presentation teaches you many new ways of presenting food that’s chic, uber-modern, yet authentic.”


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Tarika

Tarika Singh is a Mumbai-based food blogger, YouTuber and recipe developer. Every week, she comes up with recipes that are lapped up by an audience not just from India, but around the world. Her growing popularity and following has led to successful collaborations with brands such as Dove and KitchenAid India amongst others, and Tarika also features on the cover of Femina magazine dated July 14th 2015.

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