Colin Cowie's Rules For Great Wedding Food

Editor's note: The following is a guest post written by Colin Cowie, wedding planner and lifestyle guru. This week, Colin shares his dos and don'ts when it comes to wedding food.

Food is like theater, and I try to catch every show in town. What happens in the first few minutes sets the tone for what's to come, and I know right away if I’m staying past intermission. It's easy to get caught up in an elaborate production that in the end quite possibly goes nowhere rather than a simple production that leaves you wanting more.

To get the Colin's tips, keep reading.

Don't go overboard with expensive fancy food.

  • When planning your menu, rather than trying to impress your guests with something elaborate, work within the capabilities of the chef preparing your meal.
  • Chicken stuffed à la something with a fancy name may not be better that a delicious roasted chicken breast and crispy French fries.
  • If you're a foodie and French cuisine from your favorite restaurant in Paris is what you've always dreamed of serving at your wedding, unless you can afford to hire the chef from Paris and fly him in to cook your wedding dinner, save the thought and the next time you're in Paris go back and enjoy the meal you remember.

Pay attention to the presentation.

  • We dine with our eyes first, then our palate. Each course needs to be balanced in terms of color, texture, and taste.
  • A bowl of mushroom soup isn't visually exciting, but with a sprinkle of chives and dollop of crème fraiche, it can go from drab to fab.
  • A lamb chop served with peas and asparagus spears can be brightened up with some baby carrots.
  • A piece of wedding cake on a plate isn't very visually exciting; but add a fruit coulis or chocolate sauce, a few fresh berries and a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and voilà, it's an entirely different experience.

Think about textures, flavors, and ingredients.

  • Always start your menu planning by working from the middle, your main course. If you'll be offering a delicious fish with grilled baby vegetables and crispy potatoes, rather than serve a salad to start, consider pasta with a delicious tomato sauce topped with fresh Parmesan cheese shaved at the table.
  • Don’t offer a grilled meat with roasted tomato and mashed potato after you've served a pasta with bolognese sauce; put some crunch in the menu.
  • Unless your intent is to create a menu around a specialty seasonal ingredient or fresh local produce available, try not to repeat ingredients in each course.
  • Never serve fish and meat on the same plate. Say NO to surf and turf! Either make them separate courses or serve from separate buffets, but not together. The sauces and flavors of one don't complement the other. Each should be enjoyed as it was intended. Cows don't have gills and fish don't have hooves; they were never meant to be friends.

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Great tips!
Such great tips, and Cowie clearly knows what he is talking about.
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