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!
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 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!