Sunday, August 9, 2015

Catering Fun for a Backyard Garden Wedding...

Catering was an avenue I aspired to in the early stages of my food career. I started out doing volunteer catering events from postings at George Brown College where I attended evening culinary classes, worked for a kosher catering company and catering for CIBC bank, and did some of my own gigs. Overtime, I realized the catering business was really hard work and ventured on with other culinary opportunities. My long time pal Chef Fred Oh approached me to partner in a catering venue-- a backyard garden wedding for 65 people. It's been 15 years since I cooked with Chef Oh in his previous cooking school and I happily obliged. His friend Heather's neighbours were getting married, and they planned to remove the fence between the homes so that the food would be prepared and stationed at hers, and the ceremony to take place at the couples. The couple were older, the groom is British from London and the bride Canadian of Hungarian descent. We wanted their friends and family to rejoice in their marriage with some foods from both their heritages, and to serve foods throughout the afternoon that were easy to eat off small plates. Well-regarded Chef Oh is spectacular in customary menu planning and what you'll see in this gallery is all of his ideas and creations. I was just his diligent sous chef :)...

The Kitchen brigade with Chef Frederick Oh, Yvonne and Tania
Two days of prepping ensued at Yvonne's immaculate spacious home and kitchen-- a chef's dream!

Tossing napa, carrots and celery root with malt vinegar in a slaw-- a crunchy tangy salad base for fish and chips and grilled calamari.

Multi-talented Chef Oh is a master fruit and vegetable carver. It took him less than an hour to carve this watermelon. I love this photo of you Chef!

Yvonne on right making long daikon radish curls from a machine. They need to soak in icy cold water for one hour
then removed to keep crisp.The base often served under sashimi in restaurants.

Tania and Yvonne carving up decorative leaves from banana leaves for dessert garnishing. 
Radishes and chili peppers turned into flowers and blossom overnight in cold water.

Awww-- was greeted by my kids with a bouquet of pipe cleaner flowers courtesy of my sis-in-law Yoko. Great photo opp with my veggie carvings!

Ready to rock and roll on the day of the wedding with a slight overcast which cleared up to blue skies as the day moved on. Fred was the King of the Q and the carving station, and I was the woman in charge of the kitchen!

Grilling veggies for a Mediterranean Antipasto Salad
Grilled calamari, pork and beef tenderloins hit the Q!

Susan barks, "get those cucumber slices dried or else!"

Getting appies ready! Baking up anchovy sticks-- anchovy fillets encased in puff pastry and thinly sliced-- to be served as a snack with beer and drinks at the bar. Sausage rolls is a fave with the English, Hungarian and Canadians-- these were served with a beet relish. And cute vegetarian quiches.

On bottom left-- a pot of mushy peas (an English pea mash) mixed with mint chiffonade to be served with fish & chips.

Ahh! Cabbage rolls made to the traditional recipe provided by the bride-- so good!

One of our dashing servers... 

Oh how lovely the shrimp cocktail centrepiece turned out with a head cabbage as the bowl base. Great job Tania!

A beautiful shrimp cocktail centrepiece with homemade cocktail sauce along Greek Salad.

Thinly sliced cucumber salad with sour cream and a sprinkle of paprika-- the bride's family recipe.

Our view of the going ons from the kitchen...

Taking a breather with most of the food and salad plated and ready for the guests...

Both pork and beef tenderloins are thinly sliced, atop crostini brushed with warmed butter and chopped pansies, a scoop of mashed potatoes, and guests' choice of sauces. Pan Seared Pork Tenderloin-- calvados sauce, spiked apple confit and Thai sweet and spicy glaze; Grilled Beef Tenderloin-- red wine sauce, horseradish Chantilly cream and pommery mustard.

The final hurrah of the foods before cake and sweets-- fish and chips!! Can't get any more British than that!

Talk about almost an hour of oil facial steam!!

Halibut fish-- beer battered and deep-fried on a stick served with kettle chips, napa slaw with malt vinegar, mushy peas (an English pea mash with mint chiffonade) and homemade tartar sauce all in an ice cream container. What a brilliant novelty idea by Chef Oh!

Cheese and fruit platters make their way out as we wind down the food part of the venue...

I learned there is such a knife as a Ripple Wave to cut cool ripple-ly cheese and veggies...

The opened area for guests to pass through from the marrying couple's home to the food...

A beautiful chocolate cake by sweet Heather!

Sweets table ready. Nine hours later-- we are ready to wrap up!! 

Intricate and gorgeous carving as always Chef Oh!

Yup, this was definitely a joint comraderie of friendly servers, bartender and kitchen staff!! Congratulations gang-- we totally rocked it! Thank you to Fred for giving me the opportunity to cook with you again after 15 years... I'm sure we'll be cooking together many more...


  1. It was indeed my pleasure working with such a fun loving tem. Work became so easy with you all.. Susan.

  2. Your team was amazing to work with Rahul-- how can we not all be at ease with smiles and friendly conversations around...

  3. I am so glad to get the reviews about your working and food serving. You know dear I just reserved one of best LA venues for my wedding party. They are also offering Spanish food catering services within my budget.

  4. Congratulations on your big day and best wishes for your marriage. This is such a lovely and charming story. I can’t imagine that catering services in the UK could ever come close to presenting such a fine tableau. Maybe I should consider hiring a personal chef to work with my catering company for my wedding who could ensure my personal vision was delivered?

    Teri Harris @ Caiger And Co. Catering

  5. One of the best catering services in London, best catering services I love the food and the way their staff receive. They know what their customers want. Highly recommended,Thank you for sharing This Post...