GET YOUR MENU RIGHT!

Chef Eric Teo, the win­ner of this year’s World Gourmet Sum­mit’s Life­time Achieve­ment Award, and a con­sul­tant with ET Culi­nary Arts, shares tips on cre­at­ing the per­fect wed­ding menu.

Herworld Brides (Singapore) - - In This Issue -

Chef Eric Teo, win­ner of this year’s World Gourmet Sum­mit’s Life­time Achieve­ment Award, shares tips on cre­at­ing the per­fect wed­ding menu.

What should cou­ples note when se­lect­ing their ban­quet dishes? Here are some guide­lines: Your menu should and may be in­flu­enced by your theme, your guests and the venue’s am­bi­ence. Ul­ti­mately, you want all the dishes to be mem­o­rable. For in­stance, for a for­mal set­ting, your menu should in­clude the choic­est sea­sonal del­i­ca­cies and finest wines. And you should work with the chef and wed­ding plan­ner to en­sure the pro­duce is fresh, and that the main in­gre­di­ents are not re­peated in dif­fer­ent dishes. What are the must-haves for an aus­pi­cious ban­quet? • A cold appetiser plat­ter with five el­e­ments – duck, another meat, jel­ly­fish, salad prawns, and bean curd – to rep­re­sent ev­er­last­ing love. • The sec­ond course could be a soup with crab meat or dried scal­lops. Both mean wealth for the groom and tell his in-laws that their daugh­ter will be well taken care of. • The third is a roasted meat dish – duck, chicken or pork – that should be served with the head to rep­re­sent good luck. • The fourth is fish to sym­bol­ise an abun­dant life for the cou­ple. • The fi fth should be a veg­etable dish; usu­ally spinach with mush­rooms and abalone. • The sixth is another seafood – ei­ther fresh scal­lops or king prawns. • The sev­enth could be gluti­nous rice or noo­dles packed full of in­gre­di­ents, like Chi­nese sausage,mush­rooms, and dried shrimp as well as scal­lops. The rice sym­bol­ises a plen­ti­ful sup­ply of food through­out the cou­ple’s life, while the noo­dles stand for a long mar­riage. • Fi­nally, the dessert should be some­thing sweet and tra­di­tional, like red bean soup with lo­tus seeds and ginkgo nuts, so the mar­riage will never turn sour. What are the im­por­tant el­e­ments of a suc­cess­ful din­ner? Ev­ery de­tail is im­por­tant – from the venue and its am­bi­ence to the food and ser­vice, as well as the drinks and even your guests. Just re­mem­ber: even with the best plan­ning and prepa­ra­tion, un­for­tu­nate sit­u­a­tions and mis­takes can hap­pen. Make sure you have peo­ple help­ing you in case of last­minute in­ci­den­tals, so that you can fo­cus on en­sur­ing your guests are well taken care. When judg­ing the Venue Awards, you said that the au­then­tic taste of a dish was im­por­tant. What did you mean and what should cou­ples look out for dur­ing a food tast­ing? The au­then­tic taste or flavour comes from how the main in­gre­di­ent is pre­pared. For in­stance, if you’re served steamed fish, the over­all flavour of the fish and the broth that comes from it should be nat­u­rally sweet be­cause of its fresh­ness. It should not be over­pow­ered by sea­son­ings like MSG. The skin of a suck­ling pig should be crisp, thin and easy to both cut and bite into, while the meat must be flavour­ful, ten­der and moist. And, when steamed, the lo­tus leaves of a gluti­nous rice par­cel should im­part a sub­tle, aro­matic smell and a beau­ti­ful, smoky flavour. Once you’re okay with the dishes, re­mind the chef that you will be ex­pect­ing the same qual­ity for your din­ner. It is im­por­tant that dur­ing your din­ner tast­ing, you re­mind the chef that the stan­dard of the food should be the same as your wed­ding ban­quet, even though they may be cook­ing in larger quan­ti­ties. More cou­ples are cel­e­brat­ing at un­usual venues, like the open-air court­yard of the Sin­ga­pore Art Mu­seum. What sort of caterer should they look for? It is bet­ter to get ref­er­ences that you can call from the venue as well as other con­tacts. On­line re­views aren’t al­ways re­li­able (or even au­then­tic), and you shouldn’t just go with what the caterer tells you. The good ones will let you sam­ple their food, so at­tend at least three tast­ings with sep­a­rate cater­ers. You may have to pay, but you get to taste what you want. Also, a caterer who prop­erly plates a tast­ing por­tion is more likely to make that kind of ef­fort on your big day. Fi­nally, no caterer with scru­ples will bail at the last minute. Still, you should make sure your con­tract has a can­cel­la­tion clause. Your de­posit should be fully re­fund­able and they should re­fer you to other cater­ers.

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