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January 17, 2017

What’s Cooking?

By Adam

San Diego Chefs Share Dream Menus
By: Kristen Castillo

Spotlight Studios

Culinary Concepts
“A San Diego dream wedding would occur in the late spring when all produce is at its peak for readiness,” says Donald Coffman, Executive Chef at Culinary Concepts. He notes the time of year, April and May in particular, is when new cheeses are available and fresh warm water fish and seafood in season.
Here’s his “fresh, delicious and healthy” menu:

  • Starter: Baja Hiramasa: farm yellowtail, crudo style, green nectarine, shaved red serano chili, opal basil, lime oil.
  • 2nd Course: Salad of fava bean, maitake mushrooms, frisée, pistachios, bleeding heart goat cheese, yuzu vinaigrette.
  • Entrée: Pacific coast grilled white sea bass, shishito-mint chimichuri, spring peas, Weiser Farm fingerling potatoes with Meyer lemon zest and green garlic.
  • Dessert: Fresh Carlsbad strawberries, elderflower whip, basil blossoms.

Crown Point Catering
Kerensa Lorton, a recent bride and Sales and Event Planning manager at Crown Point Catering, encourages couples to take inspiration from their love story when creating a menu.
“At our wedding we wanted to showcase the things we love that we eat often so it was fresh clean California style food served to our guests by staff that described the flavors and elements of each dish,” says Lorton, who personalized her party table-by-table.
“All of our guest tables were named after restaurants that figured into our history as a couple complete with a little typed out story,” she says.
Crown Point’s Chef Teegan Smith shares his “refined takes” on classic menus:

  • Starter: Herb and pepper roasted tenderloin of beef – with artichoke aioli, parmesan curl and micro arugula on a toasted garlic crostini; and Mango Crab Stack – on toasted brioche rounds with wasabi spiked aioli lump crabmeat and fresh ripe mango.
  • Duo Entrée: Grilled filet of beef – with a green peppercorn sauce and butter poached jumbo prawns – in a lemon-caper beurre blanc Yukon Gold, cauliflower and goat cheese purée, served with sautéed local seasonal vegetable bundles – julienne of carrot, squash, green beans, peppers and asparagus tied with a leek.
  • Dessert: Peanut Butter Pie Shooter – Oreo crust layered with peanut butter mousse Oreo crumble and sprinkled with sea salt.


The French Gourmet
Michel Malécot, Chef/Owner at The French Gourmet shares this “popular simple, delicious and efficient” menu.

  • Starter: Seared ahi on cucumber medallion, seared rare ahi tuna on crisp cucumber round; and Hunan chicken brochette featuring grilled strip of chicken breast marinated in ginger and sesame oriental dressing served on a skewer.
  • Buffet including: Spinach salad strawberry vinaigrette with tender leaves of young spinach with mandarin orange and Belgian endive served with a strawberry poppy seed vinaigrette and garnished with candied walnuts.
  • Entrées including flat iron steak, seasoned with Montreal spices, grilled and served sliced with its own juices and chimichuri; macademia crusted mahi mahi served with a lemon grass and pineapple beurre blanc; and a side like roasted Brussels sprouts and cauliflower, roasted with herbs, olive oil and finished with a touch of Parmesan.
  • Dessert: Chocolate crêpe stations with thin pancakes finished with ganache chocolate sauce, cut strawberries, pineapple, Nutella and a dust of powdered sugar.

Eco Caters
Nick Brune of Eco Caters advises couples to “think about the past and incorporate moments that brought you together.”
“Whether it was apple pie on your first date or it was a lamb dish from a specific vacation,” says Brune. “It is important to make sure that these dishes will make your guest happy but its your day and people should get a good feel of who you are from the décor to the cuisine.”

  • Starter: Cheese and charcuterie display with market fruit, pickles, fresh bread and crostini.
  • Entrées including: apple glazed pork belly, flambéed yellowtail with young mango; New Orleans BBQ shrimp and fried chicken.
  • Sides: Carrot 4 ways, grilled broccolini with lemon and olive


Feast on This
“When designing a wedding menu, couples should make the menu about them,” says
Jason Howard of Feast on This, noting their team “has fun narrowing down the menu” and choosing quantities and balancing menu selections.
Howard even suggests skipping cocktail hour. Instead consider tasting stations “that take guests on a journey with stops along the way.”
When Feast on This staffer Bianca Bilyeu got engaged, she worked with the company’s   President and Chef, Matthew Baker.
“Our menu will tell our story through food: sliders because we met on a slider food truck, duck fries because we shared them on our first date, and other small bites that continue telling our story,” explains Bilyeu. “We want to have a menu that serves as a representation of us and also shines with its flavors, presentation and seasonal ingredients.
“We know food will be our biggest splurge,” says Bilyeu, noting the couple’s love for each other comes first.  “But food is a close second!”

  • Menu: Kobe beef sliders and duck fries with various aiolis such as truffle and garlic and herb and infused ketchups like Sriracha and spiced bbq.