When brides come here to Coastal Georgia for their destination weddings, they are looking to incorporate some of the Southern beauty into their event vision. Extending that vision to your menu is no different. You can add special twists to your menu while enhancing the charm of southern fare.
Many couples choose to treat their guests to very elaborate meals to reflect their celebration. One of the biggest staples in southern food is fried chicken, which can be done elegantly and uniquely for an unforgettable experience for your palate. While most guests don’t expect to eat with their hands at weddings, this Lemon-Brined Fried Chicken by chef Thomas Keller of Ad Hoc sounds delectable and well worth it! The chef said that they only did friend chicken twice a month (every other Monday), but have now increased the frequency and expanded the menu due to the demand. For those looking for the real “down home taste”, opt for the buttermilk fried chicken recipe by Emeril. If you’re looking for an intimate and engaging style reception, as your caterer or venue to provide the food in “family style service”. Your servers will provide platters for each table of food, of which guests make their own plates and pass to each other. It is similar to a buffet, since the caterer will keep the platters full, but guests aren’t forced to leave their table. The key to serving something so simple is to amp up its presentation and taste. With chefs Emeril and Keller’s recipes, we’ve got taste covered. When served family style, look for platters, bowls, and other service items that are reflective of event vision.
Here in the Golden Isles, every year we have the Shrimp and Grits festival on Jekyll Island with chef demonstrations, concerts and so much more. So needless to say, Shrimp and Grits are big in southern coastal cuisine. There are several great recipes like this one by Tyler Florence and or this one by chef Eric Kelly. With the many variations and serving styles (i.e., as a shooter, amuse bouche, or as a side or entree), the possibilities are endless.
Instead of rolls, opt for the Southern foodie favorite: cornbread! Cornbread can appeal to so many of your guests with variations of recipes like Paula Deen’s Vidalia Cornbread (seen above), Emeril’s Cast Iron Honey Cornbread, or this amazing recipe for jalapeno cornbread. Can’t make a decision? Offer them all!
Being an avid John Grisham fan, I distinctly remember reading about his protagonist in A Time to Kill eating fried dill pickles (seen above) and I thought, “gross”! A few days later I went to the House of Blues in L.A. with my family and tried some. Pure Heaven. Since we don’t eat a lot of fried foods, these are some of the few things I will occasionally prepare. Looking for something a bit more healthy? Try Joe Vitale’s Fried Green Tomatoes with Bacon Vinaigrette and Warm Frisée. Both would make for great food at your cocktail hour along with these Southern Cocktails.
There are so many other great ideas out there, by some of your favorite well known chefs like Louis Osteen’s Charleston Cuisine, Paula Deen’s Kitchen Classics: The Lady & Sons Savannah Country Cookbook and The Lady & Sons, Too!, Patti LaBelle’s LaBelle Cuisine: Recipes to Sing About is phenomenal. Her Over the Rainbow Macaroni and Cheese is the TRUTH. We’re talking real mac and cheese, honey—the kind hat is not fixed in a pot but comes out of the oven. And don’t forget Emeril’s Potluck: Comfort Food with a Kicked-Up Attitude. These are just a few ideas to get you started. Be reflective of your area—serve up local hot sauces and seasonings like Maryland’s Old Bay with your food, or garnishes, preserves, and drinks from the local area. Food can inspire so much for the rest of your event vision, so go with what you love.