Posts Tagged ‘Wedding Catering’

5 Mouthwatering Wedding Menu Ideas From The Hometown Chef

Monday, August 7th, 2017

We here at the Houston Wedding Blog are firm believers in the notion that wedding food should look 100% as fabulous as it tastes. Know who else shares our belief? The Hometown Chef, that’s who. And we’re soooo lucky that Tiffany Avila and her crew of culinary geniuses saw fit to share some of their most coveted small-bite creations with us…and y’all! Feast your eyes (and, if you’re lucky enough to attend a tasting or event hosted by this amazing Houston catering company, your palate) on these artful bites, tailor made for your wedding cocktail-and-hors-d’oeuvre hour or small-plates wedding reception.

HometownChef_ SignatureMeatballMenu_ Rathke Photography_HIRES

It’s a meatball…except it’s not like any meatball you’ve ever imagined. The funky bite of creamy gorgonzola. The sweet counter-balance of roasted beet. The gorgeous presentation, ready for you to pop right into your mouth. And ask for another. And another. And another.

HometownChef_ PulldPorkPlantainTostone2_ Rathke Photography_HIRES

One of the greatest achievements of “miniature” cuisine is being able to convey an entire world of flavor in one or two mouthfuls. Which is exactly what The Hometown Chef’s pulled-pork tostone does. Served on a crunchy plantain chip, topped with a tangy hint of lime, this small bite packs a big punch.

HometownChef_ PansearedPorkBellyHeirloomTomatoes_ Rathke Photography_HIRES

Balancing delicate food flavors and textures is one of The Hometown Chef’s greatest talents. Nowhere is this gift for edible equilibrium more evident than in its pan-seared pork belly, which is basically…everything: crisp, buttery, rich, savory, a little sweet, a little tangy and all good.

HometownChef_ Fish_ Rathke Photography_HIRES

Chilean sea bass is the rare fish that’s just right for a small bite (and equally lovely for a large plate). With its flaky texture and delicate flavor, it pairs gorgeously with a bright, tropical mango-pineapple salsa in a beautiful springtime wedding reception menu item. OK, fine, it’s awesome for fall weddings, too. And winter. And we wouldn’t mind tucking into some right about now.

HometownChef_ BraisedShortRibAvocadoandPistachio_ Rathke Photography_HIRES

We’ll leave you with another of The Hometown Chef’s signature “deconstructed” meatballs. And three little words: Pistachio. Avocado. Bacon. ‘Nuff said. Now quit your drooling, and give Tiffany and her team a call. They’d love to whip up a little wedding something just for you. And don’t forget to tell them you found them (and your happy place) on Weddings in Houston’s blog!

Photos: Rathke Photography | Catering: The Hometown Chef

Wedding Menu Q&A with Atlanta’s Talk Of The Town Catering

Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

Writer: Michelle Naik

What does a hungry 11-year-old boy do when his mom is studying for nursing school exams and his dad is a traveling salesman? Well, if he’s Andrew Brackner, he tunes into PBS and starts learning his way around a kitchen, with the help of charismatic TV chefs like Julia Child and Martin Yan. From these humble beginnings, Brackner eventually worked his way up through the culinary industry, putting in time as a dishwasher and waffle-house cook, before eventually landing at the Ritz Carlton, and getting his culinary degree from Le Cordon Bleu (where he graduated top of his class, natch). An executive chef position at Atlanta’s renowned Talk Of The Town Catering & Special Events—clients include Missy Elliot, Steve Harvey, Tyler Perry, Usher, Shaquille O’Neal and more than a couple of NFL teams—eventually led to Brackner’s purchase of the company in 2010. In this exclusive Weddings in Houston interview we get the scoop on Brackner’s most in-demand menus, the wedding menu trends he’s tracking for 2018 (you can chat about these and plenty more reception food ideas with Houston’s own top wedding caterers) and his passion for bringing the taste of the South to events far and wide.

Andrew-Brackner Photo: Courtesy of Talk Of The Town Catering

WIH: Describe one of the most exciting wedding menus you’ve created recently—what makes it so fabulous?

AB: We have been selected to cater the wedding for the daughter of the president of the largest seafood distribution company in the Southeast. This is a unique wedding because they are providing all the proteins, including caviar (which we are serving on edible sushi-rice spoons with bluefin tuna and seaweed), diver scallops, lobster, king crab (which we are doing in Thai basil rolls), wagyu beef that’s being served as carved rib roast with maître d’ butter, and kumamoto oysters with mignonette ice, fresh chilies, chimichurri and pickled pears. The majority of the items will be produced at live action stations by our own chefs.

Talk-Of-The-Town-Catering Photo: Six Hearts Photography

WIH: What are some of your most in-demand menu items for wedding receptions?     

AB: I have learned that clients want their guests to be familiar with the food, but also want to include a unique twist. As an example, one of our top selling passed items is sliced quail breast with red-onion marmalade, served on a mini fried green tomato. House-made charcuterie and local cheeses are always a crowd pleaser, but we add a twist with our garnishes by including truffle honey, mango chutney, and pickled cauliflower and carrots, and we incorporate root-veggie chips alongside the traditional bread and crackers. One of our most popular stations is our carved serrano ham display, which includes crostini with a variety of spreads and toppings (goat cheese, small-batch mustard, arugula, pickled onions, shaved fennel and balsamic syrup). Our barbecue raspberry duck breast with butternut-squash polenta is also becoming a huge hit!

Talk-Of-The-Town-Catering Photo: Anna Shackleford

WIH: What culinary trends are you tracking for 2017-2018 weddings?

AB: The scenery! We are customizing more and more menus to reflect the location of the wedding. Whether it’s an informal crawfish boil next to the river, a small-plates tapas-style action station at a winery, or even a white-glove Russian-style service at a downtown location, our culinary services need to be reflective of the location to truly give the guests a cohesive experience.

Talk-Of-The-Town-Catering Photo: Farrah Brianna

WIH: What are some of your favorite display ideas for fun, unique, interactive food stations?

AB: Chafer-less food stations are a big hit. Instead of using a heat lamp for a carving station, we use a blowtorch to gently brush the roast and keep warm. We also have used marble tiles with sterno underneath to keep food hot. I am a big fan of large iron griddle plates—we use these to keep mini cast-iron skillets warm for our seafood-and-grits station, Cuban sandwich sliders, cornmeal-dusted trout, grilled asparagus and chicharones. The possibilities are endless! Another favorite is the vertical buffet station. We have used ladders with slates of wood, magnet walls with metal dishes, and stackable square blocks with glass shelves.

 Photo: Ben Vigil

WIH: Here in Texas, barbecue is BIG. How do you present barbecue in an upscale dining environment like a wedding reception?

AB: I like to give my clients approachable, familiar items with a slight twist. Some of my favorite ways to present traditional barbecue are grilled quail kabobs with peach barbecue sauce, raspberry barbecue duck with butternut-squash polenta. Or we might pass a mini barbecue-pork slider with mango jicama slaw, peppercorn-smoked shrimp, and scallops with spicy rosemary corn coulis. We even did a barbecue octopus station with smoked tomato, pickled radish, roasted garlic, bacon batons and a Worcestershire-balsamic glaze. I love thinking about ingredients and how they can be rearranged to fit the occasion.

Talk-Of-The-Town-Catering Photo: Anna Shackleford

Ready to dig in to your own menu planning adventure? Peruse our list of Houston’s hottest wedding caterers and culinary experts, and start dreaming up (and savoring samples of) a wedding menu you and your guests won’t forget!