Food of Love

Reception food can become boring. Getting married is an event itself and the reception is the second most important event after the ceremony. Food plays a huge part in your wedding day. Make it fun...make it entertaining...turn it into a food savvy event.

There are only so many wedding receptions that a person can attend without it becoming predictable. Believe it or not, I haven't attended a wedding reception that I was not catering in over 13 years. Each reception I cater is different and unique. Food is comfort. It stimulates memories and happiness. 

The plated meal is making a comeback. It needs to be more than just a salad, entree and dessert. Right now, the trend is all about creating a personalized and tradition dining experience...plated. Your guests will appreciate the course by course event. A typical experience would consist of the following.

Amuse-Bouche

This course is a gift from the chef, a so called "palate teaser." It's a one-bite or sip tingle for the taste buds. This is usually not on the menu card.

Appetizer

Traditionally, the soup course. But, it doesn't have to be! Put a twist on this course and make it a trio of soup shooters.

Salad

Be creative! Add fruits, nuts, cheese and a variety of greens. Have fun with the presentation, implementing  unique vessels. This is the perfect time to introduce bread or lavish crackers with infused butters or EV olive oils. 

Intermezzo

This is used as a palate cleanser before your entree. Traditionally the intermezzo is a sorbet. This can be served in so many creative ways and flavors or as a granita. 

Entree

With today's health craze, there are so many different choices. Offering a duo of beef or fish is always popular. Be adventurous! Lamb, veal, capon or even bison are great choices.

Dessert

The wedding cake is always a given. It's becoming more and more popular to serve an alternative dessert to your guests. Individual pies, doughnuts or pastries will make everyone happy. Another idea to consider that is trending right now is the tasting station. 

Food Stations

Food stations are very popular and add entertainment to the mix. Some food stations require action chefs, while others are "take and go." We are offering some wonderful suggestions this time around: chicken & waffles skewered with saw mill, gravy and Anaheim chilies, taco stand tempura, tuna carving station, bbq or short ribs in a jar, truffle mac & cheese in small iron crocks, pickled and raw vegetables in a mason jar, milk and cookies station with liquid nitrogen or sliders served in take-out boxes. Add a twist on your favorite go-to fix such as a "dingle dog," mini pizza, Golden Doughnuts or a bacon station.

Wedding Cocktails

Parties are offering petit bites of menu items, often paired with specialty drinks, mini servings of beers liquors and bourbon. Let's not forget about the beverage station. Speciality cocktails are the trend. His and her drinks, shrub cocktails, classic martinis, craft beers, there are so many different avenues. Signature drinks can be developed by a mixologist based on personal preference and passed as your guests arrive to the reception. Mocktails presented at a separate bar or a make your own station has and will continue to be a hit for all ages. 


Want to try some fun recipes at your next wedding event? Check out these below, provided by Chef Keating. 

Crab Salad

Ingredients

1 lb jumbo lump crab, 4 avocados, 3 oranges,  9 limes, 1 branch cilantro, 2 jalapeños, 2tbsp olive oil. To taste: Ancho chili powder, salt, pepper, mayo and tabasco. 

Directions

Pick cilantro from stems and rinse in cold water. Chop half of cilantro and keep half whole. Thinly slice jalapeños in to hold moons. Zest two limes and reserve. Squeeze three limes and reserve juice. Put jumbo lump crab in a bowl and toss with remaining ingredients. Don't over mix or break the crab meat.

Assembly

Take the avocados and cut in half and remove pit. Use a large soon to remove from skin in one whole piece. Brush with fresh squeezed lime juice. Cut off top and bottom of oranges and limes. Peel rind and pit with knife, cut segments from fruit. Season peppers with salt, pepper and oil. Char on grill and reserve for service. 

Coconut-Cucumber Martini

Rim martini glass with coconut rimmer. In a sheer filled with ice combine: 1 oz. Captain Morgan Parrot Bay Run, 0.5 oz. Crop Organic Cucumber Vodka, 1 oz. simple syrup, 0.5 oz. pineapple juice, 0.5 oz. orange juice, 4 slices of cucumber muddled, 1 dash sour mix, 1 squeeze lime. Shake for 10 seconds and strain contents of shaker into martini glass and serve. 

Captain Morgan's Parrot Bay Rum is a perfect mixer for your spring and summer cocktails. With flavors like coconut, mango, orange, strawberry and pineapple, it is sure to bring the feel of the tropics to your next gathering. It is a great alternative for those who prefer rum over vodka.  Special thanks to Brad Bush, Georgia Crown Distributing Co. 


Event and Food Stylist Jamie Keating, CEC is well known in Columbus, Georgia for his exquisite cuisine and amazing events. He is the owner and chef of the premier catering company, Jamie Keating Culinary, Inc., which manages The RiverMill Event Centre. Let JKCULINARY & The RiverMill Event Centre rewrite the predictable pattern of a traditional wedding reception. It's about the element of surprise, the change up and the unexpected food concepts designed to create a memorable event.

The Future of Ice Cream

The future of ice cream is happening right now. Ice cream flavors, textures, and ice cream’s health benefits are ever-changing in today’s society.

When it comes to flavor, ice cream is no longer just about vanilla and chocolate. Flavors like, “salted caramel chocolate pretzel,” “red velvet cheesecake,” and even alcohol-flavored ice cream like “grasshopper” (brandy and crème de menthe) are appearing on grocery store shelves.

Chocolate covered potato chips and popcorn are just a few of the “snack ice cream” flavors that are emerging.

Other atypical flavors like green tea, avocado, ginger and veggie-centric flavors like beet and vanilla ice cream with olive oil and sea salt drizzled over the top are no longer so unusual. Seasonal menus and produce are no longer just for savory items, ice cream flavors based on seasons like hot chocolate mint and sugar & spice evoke memories of the holidays.

In a little shop near the Louvre Museum in Paris, a very strange type of ice cream is being sold. At the counter, customers don’t order cups, cones or shakes; here, they ask for WikiPearls, little donut hole-sized balls of ice cream that are covered in a flavored, protective skin.

“People come in and say, ‘What’s this all about?’” says David Edwards, the mastermind behind WikiPearl and the newly opened WikiBar. It’s a very good question, actually. Much like Dippin’ Dots, the pearl-like ice cream that blew kids’ minds in the ‘90s, WikiPearls is angling to change the way we eat ice cream. But it’s not just frozen snacks that Edwards is looking to revolutionize—the Harvard bioengineering professor has bigger plans than that.

Back in 2009, Edwards and French designer Francois Azambourg began developing a new technology to eliminate packaging from foods. Called WikiCells, the edible soft skins are made from natural food particles that are bound together by nutritive ions.

The goal was to reduce plastic waste while improving human health through portion control and vitamin supplemented skins. WikiPearl is the first commercialized product born from the technology, mainly because ice cream is delicious, and it’s the least weird form his WikiCells could possibly take. “Some products are a more radical departure from what people are used to than others,” he says. “But ice cream and frozen yogurt in the WikiPearl form is really easily understood. It’s sort of very intuitive.”

Three 50-calorie balls roughly equals a cup of Häagen-Dazs ice cream, and so far they come in three flavors: mango with a coconut skin, chocolate with a hazelnut skin and vanilla with a peanut skin. An added bonus: they melt a lot slower than regular ice cream.

Put a few balls inside a specially-designed cooler that’s sold at WikiBar and Edwards says they can last up to eight hours (good news for those of us who’ve been trying to bring ice cream for lunch).

But WikiPearl is really just the beginning for Edwards. He estimates that by this year wiki vending machines, where customers can make their own combinations of filling and skins, should be available to use at the WikiBars. “You could say I want an orange soda with a French fry skin, or whatever it is,” he explains, “And then it’s made there in the machine.” Long-term, he envisions wiki technology in the home where parents could customize the fillings and skins to make their children a package-free lunch. “It’s completely, completely doable,” he says. “And something that we’re working on.”

Of course, technology is nothing without adoption. And the fact is, when you’re used to drinking a soda from a can or eating yogurt from a plastic cup, it’s weird to pop a little food ball in your mouth and call it a meal.

Edwards acknowledges that the adoption curve is going to take some time, but he figures starting with ice cream, yogurt and cheese should lessen the strangeness of wiki-eating. “The reality is we’ve been eating the same way with the same instincts for a very long time, and changing that is not easy,” Edwards concedes. “Even if it makes sense on paper, really changing your habits is a big deal.”

Still, he’s optimistic that the wiki revolution is going to happen– mainly because it has to happen. “Just think, all those little ketchup things or the little mustard or mayonnaise things that are plastic, plastic, plastic. Those should be edible, right?” he says. “There’s so many things to do here.” svm

Wedding Tasting

There are many aspects to planning for a wedding—the dress, the cake, the venue—but food is definitely on the top of the list. Chef Jamie Keating shares some of his top choices for the wedding dinner tasting.

Wedding tastings have increased more and more over the past four to five years!  One of the most important things that we tell our future wedding couples is that it would be best for you to come with an empty stomach.  The process is fun and challenging, but at the same time as you will be making the culinary decisions for your special day.

Make a list

Before you begin the conversation with the caterer, put together some initial questions to ask.  Can the caterer accommodate vegetarians, Kosher menus, gluten free options, ethnic cuisine, etc.  Are you interested in passed appetizers, late night snacks or even open to the venue for rehearsal dinner catering needs.


Have a few details in the works

Your wedding date, the venue, possible guests that will need to be attending, start time and any other pertinent information that you may have at this point to help the caterer better understand your wishes and desires.  

6 To 9 Months Before Your Big Day

Set a meeting.  It’s getting serious!  Hopefully by now you and the caterer have discussed back and forth suggestions, recommendations and selections for the tasting!


The Day of

During the tasting we would chart your absolute must haves to what you don’t particularly care for and that is all right as to this is the main reason for the tasting.  We then will take all of the data, along with an idea for the budget, and put together a menu crafted personally for you!  Feel free to take notes and photos yourself, as we will definitely do just that. 

What’s Popular?

Duo entrees for plated dinners. Creative display pieces and vessels. . Having special meals for gluten free or vegetarian diets. . Action stations with Chef attendants and small drinks that accompany the dish.

Sample Tasting Menu


Salads or Starters
Fried Green Tomato Salad with Buttermilk/Pimento Dressings, Warm Bacon & Spinach Salad with Feta, Pickled Onions & Mushroom, Avocado & Arugula with Pimento Dressing

Beef
 Braised Short Rib, Horseradish Crusted Dry Aged Sirloin, Petite Filet of Beef, Sauces , Onion Demi,
Fig-Cherry, Madeira, Whole Grain, Forrest Mushroom


Poultry
Shrimp & Sausage Stuffed  Airline Breast , Confit of Duck,  Herb Rubbed Breast of Chicken & Sous Vide Egg, Sauces (One to be Selected), English Pea, Lemon-Caper, Marsala, Fire Roasted Pepper.

Seafood
Cedar Plank Salmon with Herb Crumb , Potato Wrapped Halibut, Seared Sea Scallops with Cauliflower and Roasted Fennel, Southwestern Seared Swordfish.

Sides
 Napa Cabbage & Grilled Portobello Mushrooms, Sautéed Asparagus & Petite Basil Tomatoes, French Beans & Cippolini Onions, Truffle Potato Croquettes, Eggplant Roulade with Tomato Concasse.,- Risotto (present three styles), Grilled Polenta Cake, Ratatouille of Spring Vegetables,

For the Herb Mousseline(Optional)

4 ounces ground chicken, 2 teaspoons basil pesto, to taste salt, white pepper and paprika. *Fold all ingredients together in a small stainless steel bowl.  Reserve for filling of the breasts.

For the Breast of Chicken

2 tablespoons olive/canola oil blend, 2 skin-on, breast of chicken filet with tenderloin removed, salt and freshly ground black pepper, 1 clove garlic, minced, 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves, 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves, 1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley leaves, ½ cup dry white wine, 2 tablespoons butter, unsalted, 1 tablespoon minced fresh chives.

Instructions: Lay chicken breasts skin side down. Add one half of the above chicken mixture atop the inside of the breast. Roll the breast into a roulade using the skin as a wrap. Heat medium size skillet, add in oil.  Season the breast with salt and pepper  and sear on the seam side first.  
Sauté the breast completely and evenly then finish in oven for desired doneness. Top the breast with fresh herbs, allow to rest then slice and serve.

2 each large grade AA eggs
4 each sliced black truffle
2 each round croutons of Croissant or Sourdough bread
To Taste Kosher Salt and Pepper

Instructions: Eggs are cooked Sous Vide in their shell at 62 centigrade for a minimum of four hours.

This Chardonnay is by Crème de Lys, which is a part of Diageo Chateau & Estate Wines.  The grapes are sourced from several vineyards along both the Central Coast and the North Coast. A small amount of Malvasia Bianca and Pinot Blanc were added to the 2009 vintage to enhance the aromatics. The texture is creamy, rich and toasty. Simply delicious. The flavor resembles juicy pineapple and green apple with a pinch of vanilla
This wine is the ultimate me-time treat, great for sipping by itself or with your favorite ladies
 Silver medal winner at the California State Fair Wine Competition
$10 - $15.
Special thanks to Brad Bush, Georgia Crown Distributing Co.