Other than the ceremony itself, food is one of the most important parts of any wedding, but it can be the most contentious as well. Choosing a wedding menu that will make all of your guests happy and hungry can be a minefield of choices- should there be a vegetarian option? What if someone has an allergy?
We talked to one of our exhibitors at the 2020 Spring Wedding Expo, Maya Indian Bar & Grill, all about making the most delicious menu possible for anyone’s wedding. Kannan Kesavalu is President of Maya Indian Bar and Grill in Wakefield, MA and told us all about how to make the menu for a dream wedding.
Click here to register for free for the 2020 INDIA New England Spring Wedding Expo on March 8, 2020 at the Burlington Marriott Hotel in Burlington, MA.
INDIA New England News: How do you prepare to work with a client on their wedding?
Kannan Kesavalu: To craft a perfect wedding for our clients, we need to understand their requirements and their preference. We always encourage our clients to meet in person and make a list of important things they want from us. We provide different options for our customer to make their event memorable.
The following list of information helps our customer to think about their choices.
- Style of Food Service – Buffet, Platted dinner, Food Stations, Passed Hors D’oeuvres
- Menu Choices – North Indian, South Indian, Guajarati, and another Indian regional specific menu. And International and Fusion options.
- Dietary restriction – Vegan, Gluten Free, Nut Free, Dairy Free and any other allergic constrains.
- Service and Equipment Rental Options
- Vendor Collaboration – Preferred Vendors
- And finally Budget – We ensure that our customer gets the best food and ultimate service within their price range.
INE: When would you recommend that your clients start choosing the food for the wedding? On average, how long does this process take for your clients?
KK: As with anything wedding related, things must be planned well in advance. We always recommend our customers to start looking for caterer at least 6 months to suit your requirements, and to schedule their food tasting three to four months before the event.
Our customers visit us on average of 2 – 3 times before finalizing their menu, which takes about one month from food tasting to finalizing the contract.
INE: Interracial, interreligious and intercultural marriages are on the rise- how has this changed what people can expect to eat at an Indian wedding?
KK: Yes, marrying across racial, religious and ethnic lines has become more common, and more accepted. Last year, 40% of our wedding catering was done for interracial or intercultural marriage. It really changed our customers’ requirement to customize the menu choice to suit for everyone. To accommodate this, we have redefined our menu options to include ethnic specials along with selective Indian dishes which are always enjoyable by people from all over the world.
INE: What foods would you recommend or suggest for a couple planning their wedding menu? What foods are the most popular with attendees at an Indian wedding?
KK: Now. it’s the trend to try out some fusion Indian menus as well as with authentic Indian cuisine. So, we always create a menu which host both creativity and authenticity.
Cocktail hours get more attention in Indian weddings, people love to see the modern display of food and Action Live stations.
Some of the unique and favorite menu items are Maya Paneer Pasanda, Murgh Zafrani, Chicken Gandhari Kebab, Authentic Butter Chicken and Madurai Mutton Curry, Three Cheese Corn & Mango Pops, Signature Mango Cheesecake, and Lavender Rice Kheer.
INE: What sorts of changes or accommodations to the catering menu would you recommend for a wedding party with dietary restrictions or food allergies?
KK: Now it’s the healthy era, people love to lower carbs and more looking for local and organic specials. There are lot of options available in Indian menu to accommodate vegan special, nut-free, gluten-free, or dairy-free.
INE: If you could only tell an engaged couple who are preparing for their wedding one piece of advice about choosing their wedding menu, what would it be?
KK: We always recommend the engaged couple to spend more time in creating a menu which suits for everyone. The menu choices should be available for religious and dietary restricted people. Based on location and season, the choice for live stations and seasonal food should be included. Finally, at least one region special or grandma special recipe menu item, which gives nostalgia for everyone in their friends and family.
INE: What are the factors should couple think about considering a cater for their wedding party?
KK: There are lot of catering options available but below are the critical factors customers think when it comes to wedding catering:
- Experience and Skills Chef/Owner Restaurant Experience, reputation and their Cooking Skills.
- Food Quality and Consistency: Ensure the caterer is providing good quality and consistence over period. Online Reviews and Friends and Family references.
- Variety – Do they provide more Food choices to suit your requirements.
- Eligibility requirements – Are they approved vendor in Hotel and have insurance coverage requested by venue.
- Vendor Collaboration – Will they able to work with Hotel/coordinators and other vendors to make event smoother.
- Team Capacity and scalability – Will they able to prepare and Serve on time and able to accommodate any changes.
- Cost of Service – Will they able to provide the quality food at the reasonable price.