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Cocktails and Details with Celebrity Chef Paul Griffith

chef paul griffith, private celebrity chef

 

 

I had an opportunity to see Chef Paul in action at the Barbados Festival on Amelia Island last month.  His demonstrations were so much fun and full of personality.  The guests that were fortunate enough to obtain front row seating were treated to a sample of the dishes that he designed and prepared during the festivities.  I loved his infectious personality and how creative he was with his dishes.  Naturally, I wanted to share him with you, luxelings as he gives tips to embracing the creative aspects of your wedding menu!

 

Enjoy!

 

c&d:  What suggestions do you have for couples who are looking to incorporate their personalities, travels and histories into their menus for their wedding?
chef paul:  This is a good question. I think couples should explore all that is them in their wedding menus. Themed buffets and festive menus featuring items that they have tried on their travels should be included in the menu planning. Guests should be given the opportunity to learn who the bride and groom are by the type of food that is served at their wedding. Remember, guests are there to celebrate their union and should learn about you. One fun way would be to design a menu, buffet or plated, where each course represents a stage during the couples courting relationship. For example, the first course could be a dish from the time they first travelled together. This can be done all the way up to the dessert, where the dessert can represent the location of their engagement.

c&d:  How can a couple include non-traditional or exotic choices into their menu without alienating their guests?
chef paul:
  Weddings these days are anything but traditional in terms of menus. True, the decorum may still have traditional aspects but the food has completely changed. Hors D’oeuvres can provide the opportunity for couples to showcase exotic items. Guests love and I must stress the word love, new items to try. Couples can either have Hors D’oeuvres on a table or passed. I prefer passed, as it provides a more catered feeling to guests. Couples can have 6 different Hors D’oeuvres on an exotic menu, three (3) favorites from the bride and three (3) favorites from the groom. Name them as well, with unique and fun names that represent the couple. Guests will love this!!

 

c&d:  What are some simple dishes that can be kicked up a notch for a memorable food experience at a wedding?
chef paul: 
I think salads have been looked over so much at weddings. Clients normally ask me for salads as just a side dish; however, when I create unique salads that can even represent an entrée, they love it. People are watching their weight these days, especially at weddings, and salads can be a dish that their guests can feel comfortable indulging in.  Salads with fresh spinach, grilled meats, roasted vegetables, hint of ginger, even blue berries or blackberries coupled with unique dressings like roasted shallot and mint blends, can make things pop at the table. Soups are making a big come back as well. Not your traditional thin soups like yesteryear, I speak of thick hearty soups that blend all of the world’s cuisines. For example, on my website and business cards, I have a picture of lobster bisque and potato leek duet soup topped with lobster and chive salsa. Clients ask for this all the time. We have even topped it with a shot of sherry. Talk about fun, a spoonful at a time.

c&d:  More couples are opting for interactive bars at their receptions– mashed potato bars, grits bars, etc. What are some fun and different ways to have interaction at the wedding?
chef paul:  I have done an interactive soup shot bar. Guest have slim tall shot glasses with various soups, then they top those soups with various items like Sambuca sautéed rock shrimp, lobster salsa, grilled and thinly sliced filet mignon, flaked salmon with orange peel or various roasted vegetables. Guests enjoy creating their own unique sipper soup combo and their friends always try to match it. You can even add in items like Grand Marnier and various Sakes in the soups to boost the fun factor.


Let’s talk dessert, everyone’s favorite part of every dinning experience. Dessert can be taken to another level with the inclusion of fresh fruit bar toppings, various warm sauces and more. I get several proposals for cheesecake to be served and guests can be offered a cheesecake bar. Instead of the traditional wedge cheese cake slice, pieces of cake can be in rectangular shapes where guests can then top them with their chosen sauce, fruit, rum marmalades and even flavored caramels.

 

chef paul griffith private celebrity chef 

 

Chef Paul is hailed as one of the most exciting young culinary adventurers in South Florida. Over the past ten years, Chef Paul’s thrilling cuisine – which blends the lively elegance of his island upbringing in Barbados with flavors from around the world – has made its home on the tables of award winning actors and musicians such as Denzel Washington, Enrique Iglesias, Lenny Kravitz, Sean “Diddy” Combs,  socialites and many more.

Intrigued?  Tantalized?  Visit Chef Paul and get captivated!

Planning a Modern Southern Wedding

Scarlett O'Hara at her wedding in Gone With the Wind

The quintessential Southern wedding—Gone With the Wind via Boxwish

Being in transplanted in the South, especially in Coastal Georgia, it is so nice to see the different traditions in place for weddings. Even those who are not from our area and come for destination weddings still want to include a southern tradition into their wedding ceremony or reception.  With great locations like plantation houses, low country mansions or the regal playgrounds of the rich, like the Jekyll Club, there are so many places that can lend themselves to create a nostalgic event experience.  Moreover, you could allow them to continue to influence the flow and concept of the rest of the event. Get inspired by the grounds, decor colors, etc. and tie them in with your invitations, linens and other parts of your wedding

 

But what if you want to kick it up a notch? What if you want glitz and tradition, or contemporary design and classic heritage?  Let’s look at a few well-known traditions and see how we can have “you” written all over it.

 

 

Video Game System 360 Grooms  Cake

Groom’s Cake—This was once only a southern tradition but has spread across the country as another way to include the groom and his personality (like the one above).  Any excuse for more cake works for me. Southern brides would “gift” their grooms with a single layer cake at the wedding.  The grooms cake is typically chocolate or frosted chocolate, but as you can see, it has gone into a work of art itself.  While the wedding cake has been for the bride (in an unspoken understanding), the groom has an opportunity to represent during the wedding.  It is not restricted to being chocolate either—designs vary from different cake flavors to cupcakes and even fondant covered rice krispy treats!  Surprise him by making it something that reflects his interests and present it at the rehearsal dinner or at a scheduled time during the  wedding.   See the Top 5 Groomscakes of 2008 at Pink Cake Box

Liquid Refreshment—Sweet Iced Tea (seen here from Southern Living)  is a staple here in Georgia. It makes it appearance at every meal,so be sure to include it in your wedding, along with other Southern fail safes:  lemonade, mint juleps, bourbon and whiskey.  We previously talked about Southern Cocktails and Signature Drinks and making them more modern.  What other things can you add?  Try changing up the way you present them: opt for lucite trays, oddly shaped glasses or even mason jars,  as well as “props”.  For example, add a magnolia or gardenia bloom to the trays of passed drinks.  If you want to go for a non-alcoholic bar for your southern wedding, offer sweet tea, lemonade, Arnold Palmers (a mixture of the two) and dress them up—rim the glasses for your drinks with colored sugar.  Or really spice things up by adding different flavors like mango, strawberry or blueberry.  Peach is a hit in Georgia (go figure!).  Include lots of fresh fruit as garnish.

 

 

 

butternut squash casserole

All in the family—Believe it or not, it was once tradition for members of the family to bring a “covered dish” to the wedding.  While you don’t want to necessarily go pot luck for your wedding, you can add an interesting twist.  Prior to your wedding, ask all bridal shower guests to send in or bring their favorite recipes and a picture of themselves.  Have a family member compile them all and put them in a photobook from places like Blurb or PhotoWorks, as a gift to you and your new husband.  This family cookbook will be a great heirloom filled with the loving memories and aromas of kitchens past.  If you or your fiance have a special dish that your parents, grandparents or other family members make, give it to your caterer!  See how they can create a more modern version with killer presentation.

 

When in Rome… Another great way to tie in your Southern location is to share the experience with your guests.  A great way to do this is through your favors. If you are opting for a candy bar, check out southern favorites like pralines, toffees, caramels, brittles, etc.  Don’t forget to add your pecans and peanuts if you’d like to add a twist.  Southern Candymakers is a great resource!  Another idea for favors is to incorporate your Southern wedding location.  For example, if you are having your wedding in Georgia, offer personalized peach preserves (like those featured above from Dewey’s) as a favor or personalized hot sauce for Louisiana weddings and painted Valencia oranges for those in Florida. 

 

 

 

Southern Weddings Blog 

 

Other great modern resources for your wedding in the South are Southern Weddings—the blog is full  of inspirational pictures and ideas of weddings in the South.  Also check out the queen of weddings in the South as well:  Tara Guerard, and her book, Southern Weddings: New Looks from the Old South.  Remember, two of the greatest Southern wedding traditions are grace and family.  Be a good hostess for your guests and work creatively and fervently to bring your two families together.

Overheard at Your Wedding: “I’m Starving”

So not cool.

 

 

Not sure if you know this or not—or read it one of the three thousand wedding glossies you’ve bought, but I’m your girl. You know I’ll tell you.

 

People come to weddings to eat.

 

They get your invitation, skip right to the RSVP and begin salivating at all of the wonderful things they will taste and experience at your wedding (and expense). Don’t worry, they’re excited about seeing you, too.  Who wouldn’t be? The perk is definitely the succulent food you will grace them with during your reception.

 

So, imagine their surprise when they arrive at 6 p.m. to your cocktail hour to be greeted with a cheese and cracker tray and ornate display of strawberries resting in a well-carved watermelon.  No worries, they think—you are just cleansing the palate before the true feast begins.  Lo and behold, they arrive to “dinner” which is either stations of hors d’oeuvres for six year olds or a plated meal with such scant portions that only a butterfly could be satisfied with.

 

They start to get antsy.  They start to get bored.  They start to drink more.  Dinner started at 7 p.m.  At 7:03 they are ready to go.

 

Now, don’t get mad at me.  If that is all you can afford, then that’s okay.  What is not okay is not planning accordingly or letting your guests know ahead of time so that they can make adequate arrangements for food prior to the wedding.  Here are some helpful tips to spearhead the thundering stampede of guests leaving during your cake cutting to graze on the lawn of the reception venue:

  • If you have limited funds, as always—consider lowering your guest count.  You can do more for less, than vice versa.
  • If you choose to keep your large number of guests, consider having a brunch or tea reception with a limited menu.  Of course, you could also have a late evening wedding, with your ceremony beginning at 7:00 or 8:00 in the evening and an even later reception.  At this late hour, your guests won’t be expecting a heavy meal.  In this instance, you could get away with a heavy hors d’oeuvres menu.
  • Be sure to spread the news on your wedding website, and if necessary and/or appropriate on your reception cards. You can never give your guests too much information.  Far better to let them know in advance than to hear them (and their stomachs) grumbling about how they wished they had known about the food.
  • Another reason why a lot of guests walk away hungry is that they feel the menu is too exotic or something they just won’t eat.  While at your tasting, remember, you are accommodating a large guest list, not just you and your future spouse.  Uncle Bob may love foie gras all day long, but Aunt Millie would refuse to eat it.  Try to find a common ground.  The same thing can be said for wedding cake; choose a basic failsafe flavor options that will ensure you don’t have an entire cake left behind.

 

 

Photo :: Source

Fabuluxe and Delicious: Sorbet Trios

 

 

As much as I am a fan of any creme brulee, my next favorite is sorbet.  While Yum Sugar says she tires of sorbet trios, I for one, cannot get enough.  Texture and flavor, as well as temperature make sorbet the fabulousness that it is.  Sorbet trios would make great welcoming treats at a cocktail hour or wonderful way to cool down after hot evening wedding.  As you can see above in the picture from Cannelle et Vanille , the colors are exquisite—all reflective of the hot colors of the season. 

 

Incorporating the delicious flavors of your trios into your menu can be a wonderful way to enhance other flavors.  Think about expanding beyond the typical berry flavors—mix, garnish, add, and create frozen perfection of your own.  Here are some ideas to get your tastebuds going:

 

Cannelle et Vanille’s Blood Orange, Key Lime and Kumquat trios

Mr. Lou’s Lemon Mint, Tangerine Basil and Pineapple Raspberry trios courtesy of Emeril Live

Banana, Apricot and Kiwi with Raspberry Coulis courtesy of Epicurious

 

Think of different ways you can serve your trios:  all in the same cup or separately, as seen above.  Will you garnish with mint, edible flowers or sliced fruit?  The possibilities are not only endless, but also extremely delicious!

 

 

:: Source ::

{Papier Tuesdays} :: Stephita ::

Stephita offers beautiful, couture invitations that both complement and enhance any theme. They also offer beautiful menu and place cards, favor boxes and tags, as well as programs and fans.

Invitation #605 from the Japanese Collection (see the entire Japanese collection)

Invitation #512 of the Classic collection (view the entire Classic collection)

Invitation #702 of the Photo Collection (view the entire Photo collection)

Save the Date #4 of the Save the Date collection (view the entire Save the Date collection)