The New Indian Express

Weddings Go Gourmet

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The big fat Indian wedding is getting nigger and fatter courtesy a larger array of food choices that is bringing culinary skills to the forefront.

After the string of celebrity weddings last year where the focus was also on the food, 2019 seems to up the ante with a string of Bollywood celebrities rumoured to tie the knot this year. Food at weddings is naturally a big part of the festivities and the best part is that it has moved to become all things gourmet, artisanal and organic. Here are some wedding food trends that will make waves in 2019.

Artistic edible displays

Today banquets are all about creating an incredible dining experience with a menu that is reflective of the couple themselves. John Biswas, Executive Chef, Radisson Hyderabad – HITEC, managed by Sarovar Hotels says, “to make their special day more personalized, artistic display of food in the form of jewelry or accessories, chocolate portrait painting and drinks that are unique and visually appealing in presentation are in.”

Grazing tables

This is an epic abundance and display of food as it is only meant for grazing. Krishna Sharma, Executive Chef, The Park, Bangalore explains, “there can be types of grazing table in different sizes with various type of food like a cheese station, house made olives, nuts, choice of dips, fresh salad, fresh fruits, house made breads and smorgasbord of meats in different cuts, cures.” Grazing tables may also only be a display of candies for kids, dessert and bakery items as well as mini sushi and seafood.

Interactive food stations

Interactive food stations, colloquially referred to as live counters are not a new concept but what has changed is the type of cuisine. “Each guest now is well-informed, knows exactly what he/she wants, and more importantly wants to have something different or hatke to add value to their event. Guests now attend various social events in a year and make a mental note of what they liked and what they did not and keep that list ready when they sit down with us for a menu discussion,” says Chef Neelabh Sahay, Executive Chef, Novotel Kolkata Hotel & Residences.

Sustainability in food choices

Sustainable weddings are going to be all about giving back much more than you receive without leaving a huge carbon footprint. Couples are going to look forward to three or four course catered sit down menus with preferences requested in advance. “The food will in all probability be locally sourced or organically grown. Fish will be chosen from the types that follow sustainable farming or from breeds that are not on the verge of decline or extinction. Leftovers would be delivered to the needy or composted to be converted into fertilizer,” says Zubin D’souza, Corporate Executive Chef, Mars Enterprises & Hospitality Pvt. Ltd.

Glamorous wedding cakes

Wedding Cakes are becoming part of the festivities irrespective of religion. Pastry Chef, Manumon, Novotel Hyderabad Convention Centre and Hyderabad International Convention Centre says, “long gone are the days where the classic white tiered cakes reigned supreme. Nowadays, the cake designs are fun, reinventing the wheel and incorporating all kinds of new shapes, colours, patters and materials that one would have never dreamt of in wedding cake trends in the past.”

Creating Food Experiences

Food plays a deeply symbolic role in any wedding ceremony as it helps bind people closer together by reminiscing fond memories and creating new ones. “Today, creating different food experiences is becoming the norm. Whether it is promoting local flavours by sourcing ingredients and sweetmeats from distinct regions, planning a themed menu for all the wedding functions, flying down the culinary team of their favourite restaurant/s from any part of the world, getting a Michelin star restaurant to personally cater the event or having various pop – ups, families are leaving no stone unturned to bring to life their fondest childhood memories, favorite cuisines and chef on their special day,” says Abhisek Basu, Executive Assistant Manager, Food & Beverage, The Leela Mumbai.

Regional Food Push

To Indians, weddings are an opportunity to celebrate and sumptuous food with emphasis on local fare is the current trend. Chef Prem K Pogakula, Executive Chef, The Imperial New Delhi says, “Indian cuisine reflects a 5000-year history of intermingling of various communities and cultures, leading to diverse flavours and regional cuisines which comply the regional wedding traditions and rituals which are linked with food in most of India.”

DIY Counters

The Indian wedding platter is witnessing haute trends like artisanal curated menus backed by authentic dishes. Modern couples want to create lifestyle culinary experiences for their guests, making the food fare the most exciting part of the wedding. “The season’s trending concepts include individual, immersive live cooking stations like sushi carts, Mongolian Teppanyaki, to whole leg of lamb and smoked leg of pork, unique desserts like makhan ke samose, fried ice creams, and more. BBQ counters with extensive selection of ingredients, ranging from corn-fed chicken to exotic Norwegian salmon,” says Vijay Thapliyal – Executive Chef, The Lodhi, New Delhi.

Customized Beverages

Traditional methods of mixtures and use of extraordinary ingredients to create new flavours to the beverages, by combining diverse flavours and textures to create a personalized beverage for each guest is in. Manoj Jangid, Food and Beverage Manager, Sofitel Mumbai BKC says, “innovation in cocktails is ever growing and it continues to inspire and surprise the guests with unique amalgamations of fine liquor, handcrafted syrups and creative.”

This story first appeared in The New Indian Express Sunday Magazine dated 10-Mar-2019 here:

All pics courtesy The Leela Mumbai

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