Monday, September 25, 2006

A Wedding in Santa Barbara...

Four months ago, I got a call from a young lady interested in catering services for her wedding. I was referred by my catering boss who usually handles larger-scale events. Since it would be an event for 24 people, I immediately snagged the opportunity to do this wedding. The past few months have been a successful progression in my career as a part-time caterer and employee of a large catering company and I've gained a wealth of experience. So when I opened my eyes Saturday morning, I didn't have the usual sighs and groans, nor the frantic running-around before any catering event. Instead, I was at peace and definitely very stoked. I started loading up all my equipment and packed the food in my cooler. I was at peace knowing that I had two very reliable sous chefs and four good friends by my side. At around 12 pm, we took two cars up the 101 to the beautiful Santa Barbara area. We arrived at an old, but handsome Spanish-style home with a view that overlooked the Santa Barbara beaches and neighboring homes. The best part was that they had a nice kitchen geared with a Viking stove and dual Viking ovens. Yes!

We unloaded our cars and had to move the cars back down a hill. Lots of walking! As soon as everyone piled back into the kitchen, I asked everyone to get dressed in uniform because guests were walking around. It wouldn't have been too professional to let the guests see me in a t-shirt, Diesels and flip-flops haha. The good thing about being a cook is that you only need to wear a chef coat and black pants. My friends on the other hand looked like they were getting ready for the prom - with the girls doing the opposite-sex look. The servers were in a tux shirt, bowtie and cummerbund. All they needed were corsages and boutonniƩres. I instructed them on how to place the table settings and serve hors d'oeurves.

We then got right into the food prep. With a time checklist on hand, things were a breeze. I think the hardest part of an event is not the main course, but the hors d'oeurves themselves. We had four of them and they all had to go out at the same time.

Hawaiian Poke with Avocado Mousse on Wonton Crisps
Yes, I know I've done these a million times but they are definitely a favorite. Who doesn't like raw tuna!? The avocado mousse has the essence of lime and jalapeno and gives a final kick to this dish.
Dungeness Crabcakes with Roasted Red Pepper Remoulade
Ah - the "Tater Tots of the Sea". Again, who doesn't like crabcakes.

Smoked Salmon in Cucumber Cubes
The smoky flavor of the salmon mixed with horse-radish sour cream goes well with the cool, watery taste of hothouse cucumbers.

Thai-Grilled Shrimp with Chili Sauce
This is one of my catering boss's trademark hors d'oeurves. There's something fantastic about eating a shrimp lollipop haha.

As soon as the guests were seated, we had to jump right on the salad. I quickly made the vinaigrette dressing and roasted the pears.

Korean Pear Salad with Honey Vinaigrette
The sweet korean pears were balanced with the sourness of the vinaigrette.

For the main course, we served the option of meat or fish. These were actually very easy to prepare. LL was on the grill and earlier had seared them off so that we could hold them till service. Right before service, he threw them back on to reach the appropriate medium doneness. I like my steaks medium rare, but not everyone does.

Miso-Cured Chilean Seabass
This is absolutely my most favorite fish. It's moist and flaky. I marinated these in sake, mirin, sugar and some ginger (a friend suggested that ginger would add a nice taste). These took no longer than 10 minutes to cook in the broiler and were gobbled up quite quickly.

Bacon-Wrapped Filet Mignon
Bacon-wrapping anything is a sure hit. You can do it on chicken, pork and scallops. Maybe even bacon-wrap bacon. Mmmm. I served this w/ a red wine reduction sauce.

After the last dish was served, we all breathed a sigh of relief and congratulated each other on a job well done. The clients were very happy. The best part of the night was watching my friends pull together for this one event. It's funny seeing your friends in a serious light. Thank you to the crew on Saturday night for a wonderful night. And of course to my catering boss for passing this event down to me.

Next event: a wedding party for a very funny food blogger we all know very well... Daily Gluttony. Stay tuned.

Thanks for reading.

23 comments:

BoLA said...

Whoa. Beautiful photos and great job! Tasting your signature dishes way back in the day makes me feel all warm inside... knowing that you've tweaked and perfected them so wonderfully well! =) Congrats on a fabulous job!

yoony said...

awesome job dylan! that bass looks so good.

Jonah said...

Impressive! Great description of a terrific looking meal! Nice work. Where do you buy your fresh tuna? (unless it's a trade secret)

Santos said...

fantastic job! everything looks amazing and tasty, even the stuff i'm allergic to.

Passionate Eater said...

EDNBM, you never fail to amaze! I agree with BOLA, your wedding feast looks so professional and uniform. Great job on the catering! There is definitely a refined improvement. Your food looked darn good before, but it looks immaculate now. Umm... Can I hire you for myself?

Nice rack too! (I mean the staggered cupcake rack.)

farmerjer said...

simply badazz.

eatdrinknbmerry said...

Bola, thanks. I still think about JK's event and that was a lot of fun working in the back of the pre-school. Thanks again for the lead.

Yoony, can't wait to work w/ ya again for Daily Gluttony's thing.

Jonah, thanks, I'll email you some info.

Santos, thanks for stopping by. I'm gonna guess that you're allergic to shrimp and crab (shellfish).

PE, thanks SF buddy. For sure I'd do something for you. I like racks too! haha.

FarmerJ, hey man, we'll do a nice dinner when you come back down again.

elle said...

wow-your food looks really perfect-i could actually eat like this everyday-little hors d'oeuvres are my favorite.

Chubbypanda said...

Great spread. Now I know who to contact about catering the office Christmas party.

- CP

Erin S. said...

dude, you're amazing. I have a hard enough time coordinating the timing of dinners for two in my own kitchen, I can't even comprehend all that fancy food for 24!!

eatdrinknbmerry said...

Hi Elle, thanks for stopping by. I, too, prefer to eat a variety of miniature foods, versus large main courses.

Chubby, sure lemme know!

Erin, thanks. Trust me, a few months ago, I said "no way am i going to cook for more than 4 people at a dinner." My catering boss told me that you have to start out slowly and gradually move up. The key to cooking for more ppl is prepping. If you can prep a sauce the night before, you've just earned more time to talk to your guests. Nothing is more embarrassing than breaking into a sweat frenzy while 4 of your friends stare at you from the dining room like you're a baboon. I don't plan to do very large events b/c I wanna spend time on detail.

Tokyoastrogirl said...

Wow Dylan- congratulations. Really impressive. Everything looks beautiful and all of the dishes are foods I've love to eat, anytime. Great menu items and fanastic execution. Hope to see more of your catering posts in the future. Honestly- gorgeous!

elmomonster said...

I love these posts. Even though I know you are skilled and talented, every time I read a new catering story from you, I sit there slack jawed in awe. You are truly the real deal!

I can't wait to see what Pam's wedding will look like.

eatdrinknbmerry said...

TAG, thank you. I still want to improve presentation etc. It's hard when you have a platter versus a single plate to decorate. The food comes out looking like a marching militia. I prefer to work on small single appetizers.

Elmo, thank you for following the catering stories. For Pam's thing, it's going to be a wedding party - I don't know if I can handle another whole wedding for a while. It's a lot of work considering this is a side thing. I'm just gonna be making hors d'oeurves with Immaeatchu and Oishiieats and there will be a separate group doing the entreƩs.

Jeni said...

I stand in awe of how much you've grown in the detail and perfection that you've put into your catering events. So proud of you.

Daily Gluttony said...

man oh man...i CAN"T WAIT...you are going to make our shin-dig (in Kirk's words) so delici-yoso!!!

eatdrinknbmerry said...

J, I'm glad we finally got a chance to work together on something.

DG, can't wait for the date. I'll have to call you soon.

Bon Vivant said...

I want to get married now for no other than to eat this exact same meal.

BR of iron chef souplantation fame said...

bravo.... bravo my friend!

joanh said...

hi! wandered over from foodieuniverse's blog.. haven't read everything yet, but the miso chilean seabass totally made me hungry! would you do catering for small dinner parties???? :)

rick james said...

d... you da man.. again..

tried making that miso fish once, used the wrong kinda miso and it was salty as hell....

Meow Meow said...

love seeing wedding event photos, especially to see how the settings were arranged, and the food... The last picture must be a tower of cup cakes? They looked so cute. Also saw how the fresh fruits were arranged as towers as decoration, great idea as well.

Fruit Seasons said...

I think my produce guide could improve the quality of your ingredients. FruitSeasons.com

Submit you blog to our Food Blog directory while you there!

Blog Widget by LinkWithin

ShareThis