Many aspects of wedding planning can be tough, especially when you are catering for large numbers. So don’t give yourself any extra trouble by allowing any wedding menu blunders. Here’s a checklist of seven types of food professional chefs don’t recommend you serve for your wedding guests:
1. Tender green salads
Any chef will tell you that salads containing delicate greens (e.g. mesclun, baby lettuces or similar) won’t stay the course once you add a salad dressing. The problem is that greens are often served up pre-dressed for speed and convenience, but as service at a reception can take a while, anything other than robust leaves will soon show signs of wilting – even within 10 to 15 minutes. So if you remember to use only hearty salad options, that will neatly avoid spoiling the look and taste of your culinary serving with a wet, soggy clump of unappetising greens. It’s something your guests will rarely notice when you get it right, but will be impossible to hide if it goes wrong!
2. Communal dishes
Though a selection of family-style foods may sound very much like a real fun option, you will soon end up with serious congestion as all the guests try to get to all the foods. Clearly the idea of communal spreads has its place in today’s culinary trends, but professionals will advise that a wedding reception is not the ideal venue to give this approach a free rein. Where you might envisage a sharing/caring family atmosphere, the reality is more likely to be chaos unleashed. But if you’re very keen to reflect elements of the family/communal trend, it’s best to compromise a little by individually plating up most of the important items and leaving a few communal side dishes as a free range choice.
3. Is garlic really advisable?
Though garlic may be a tasty personal choice you would be loathe to miss out, many other people find its odour genuinely offensive. And being that it’s a flavour which instantly binds itself to your breath, it’s not going to enhance a wedding atmosphere which sets out to be all hugs, kisses and other close encounters of the family-greeting kind. So even if you absolutely love the bold, vibrant kick which only garlic can impart to your favourite foods, you’ll be skating on very thin ice indeed if you hope to get away with using it at a wedding reception. To keep things sweet, go garlic-free and you won’t regret it!
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4. Does tasty have to mean messy?
Though your guests may savour the taste of saucy burgers, ribs and more, they won’t enjoy the potential embarrassment of trying to tackle such morsels politely. Just cast your mind back to the difficulties of negotiating BBQ specials, pasta dripping with sauce, or triple-decked sandwiches from which every ingredient is struggling to escape. You are sure to end up with messy, greasy hands and it’s extremely likely that your clothing will smell and also show tell-tale signs of your culinary skirmish. That is definitely not the ambiance you would wish to create at a wedding reception. So do the sensible thing and ban the burgers and other messy stuff from the menu.
5. Pizza logic
All Italians love pizza, and many more of us besides. Factor in the number of children who would be happy to eat pizza for ever and what’s not to like? Well, for a start, it can be a nightmare keeping pizzas warm when you are catering for a large number of guests. Furthermore, all pizza lovers have their favourite varieties which will tax your resources to the limit. And that’s before you even start to think about the dietary limitations which will apply to a number of ingredients you’ll expect to find in a pizza recipe. For all those reasons (and more), pizza is not the ideal wedding reception choice it might seem. So avoid.
6. Classics which need a rest
A perennial wedding-menu item such as a chicken cordon bleu may seem the perfect choice: Breaded chicken breast stuffed with ham and cheese is recognisable and well-liked, and also feels very ‘traditional’. However, many top chefs believe such dishes are far too heavy to use for a main course at a wedding reception. Once such food has been consumed, your diners will leave the table feeling bloated and sluggish – hardly the effect you really intend. It’s far better to find something flavoursome, but much lighter.
7. Avoid seafood
Especially when you are catering for a large number of guests, preparing white fish and/or many other lean seafood ingredients is hardly worth the risk. Chefs advise that such recipes can be tricky to prepare ‘en masse’ to a suitably high standard. And in addition, certain seafood can cause unfortunate gastrointestinal issues for some guests – a problem best avoided if you want everyone to enjoy a day they would want to fondly remember!