Ah, weddings, a time to celebrate two people finding true love, and a time to stuff yourself with fabulous food and booze. If you're lucky. The culinary offerings are notoriously, let's just say, much better at some receptions than others, but these five wedding feasts most definitely win. The food spreads at the nuptials of these celebrities, royalty and culinary bigwigs were so over-the-top incredible, we would have gladly shown up with a really expensive gift just for the meal.
Prince William and Kate Middleton
When Prince William married Kate Middleton in 2011, they celebrated afterwards with a whopping 600 or so guests at Buckingham Palace, and with massive amounts of Champagne and canapés (10,000 of them, by some reports, prepared by 21 different chefs). Later, the more "intimate" dinner in the palace ballroom focused on lots of local ingredients, and the royal couple wasn't shy about sharing exactly where everything came from. The feast began with a first course of marinated South Uist salmon, Lyme Bay crab and wild Hebridean langoustines along with a fresh herb salad. Next up was Saddle of North Highland Mey Select organic lamb, Highgrove spring vegetables, English asparagus, Jersey Royal potatoes, and sauce Windsor. For dessert? A trio of Berkshire honey ice cream, sherry trifle and chocolate parfait. A copy of the wedding dinner menu was later auctioned off for a mere $1250. As for wine, the selections reportedly came straight from the Buckingham Palace wine cellar.
Kim Kardashian and Kanye West
Love her or hate her, Kim Kardashian clearly made some smart hires for her 2014 wedding to Kanye West in Florence, Italy. Restaurateur Giorgio Pinchiorri and his wife, chef Annie Feolde, co-owners of the three Michelin-starred Enoteca Pinchiorri, were charged with the food. Within days of the big event, copies of the menu were floating around the Web, proving just what a seriously exquisite Italian meal friends and family got to enjoy.
Courses included homemade mezzelune pasta stuffed with ricotta cheese, thyme and marjoram, with Parmigianino Zabaglione (a creamy, parmesan-based sauce) and golden curls; monkfish fillet in a crust of aromatic herbs on a bed of pureed celeriac with millefeuille (a classic French pastry), sweet onions and vitelotte potatoes; beef fillet with Brunello di Montalcino sauce along with a potato tarte and truffle green beans. Dessert included wedding cake of course, and a surprisingly tame-sounding homemade strawberry sorbet.
Gail Simmons and Jeremy Abrams
Wedding food doesn't get much more beautiful than the spread at the 2008 New York wedding of Top Chef judge and Food & Wine magazine staffer Gail Simmons to Jeremy Abrams, who runs a music consulting company. The food no doubt tasted as spectacular as it looked, considering it was created by her former boss, legendary chef Daniel Boulud. During the cocktail hour, friends and family nibbled on colorful fresh farmers market crudite along with imaginative passed hors d'oeuvres like bamboo-skewered cubed fluke marinated in shiso; braised short rib samosas; and crispy duck roll croquettes with summer fruit chutney. Guests were seated at long farm tables with place settings anchored by individual paper-wrapped baguettes, and Boulud created a trio of chilled soups (including minted pea veloute, tomato gazpacho, and corn soup) to kick things off, alternating them every three guests to encourage everyone to share and swap.
Next came a fab feast of family-style summer salads and veggie dishes featuring traditional ratatouille with shaved parmesan; jumbo green asparagus with English peas; and fresh Hawaiian hearts of palm with avocado. The main course was grilled striped bass accompanied by lemon figs and arugula and sauce vierge, a classic French combination of olive oil, tomato, lemon, and fresh herbs.
Gail says the couple wanted to ensure that guests could be up and enjoying the party after dinner, so they offered small bites like fresh fruit tartlets, macarons, and chocolate-covered mini-strawberry sorbet bars along with jars of chocolate chip cookies from New York's fabled City Bakery stationed around the room, allowing guests to help themselves. And while many brides and grooms often find themselves too overwhelmed to actually sit down and enjoy the meal, that (luckily!) wasn't the case. "We did make sure to eat as we were so excited about the food," Gail told The Feast. "But I missed a lot of the desserts, sadly, because I was dancing so much! Although I did get a strawberry sorbet bar dipped in chocolate and remember that I got a few drops on my wedding dress … a sign of a successful night!"
Sherry Yard and Edward Innes
When you work for Wolfgang Puck, he's probably going to be the guy you ask to cater your wedding. And that's exactly what Sherry Yard, WP's longtime pastry chef, did when she married Beverly Hills dentist Edward Ines in 2008 at a wedding attended by 300 guests in Malibu. (She later left her position to strike out on her own in 2013.) The extensive menuof passed hors d'oeuvres included plenty of Spago specialties like Puck's signature spicy tuna tartare in a sesame miso cone, smoked salmon pizza with dill crème and caviar (pictured below, with chef Puck), mini crab cakes, and panko-crusted sweet shrimp.
Guests later enjoyed a salad trio including butter lettuce and avocado salad topped with Point Reyes blue cheese from Puck's steakhouse CUT. Dinner (yes there was a lot more!) featured a buffet with a dizzying number of options, like sweet pea mascarpone agnolotti with morel mushrooms; Shanghai-style lobster with steamed jasmine rice; Snake River Farms Wagyu beef; Spring lamb served two ways; and fresh-baked breads ranging from pretzel to country white. The dessert selection was small but mighty, featuring ice cream, sorbet, mini assorted cupcakes, warm date nut bread, and an artisan cheese spread. Maybe her new dentist husband had something to do with the decision to not go crazy with the sweets?
Francis Lim and Christine Gaspar
When food writer Francis Lam and Christine Gaspar got hitched in 2013, wedding guest (and former Gourmet magazine editor) Ruth Reichl described the celebration's menu on her blogas a true snapshot of the way America is eating at the moment. "It's not just that the food reflects the differing backgrounds of the bride and groom—his Chinese ancestry, her Portuguese—but also how many of the guests eschew meat and worry about gluten," she wrote. The result was a menu that was ethnically diverse, primarily plant based, borrowed from many cultures—and utterly original." Indeed, there were plenty of unique and internationally-inspired dishes. Attendees began with grilled octopus with cauliflower, and while there were also roast pig and duck served, most of the dishes skewed plant-based; if guests weren't vegetarian when they arrived, they probably wanted to be by the time they left.
Inventive dishes included Swiss chard with chocolate and Chinese black beans; vegetarian "oyster" salad featuring salsify (sometimes known as the oyster plant); pea shoots in a pumpkin broth, tofu and pumpkin; broccoli rabe with dried tomato; and quinoa with mushrooms and chickpeas. Most everything was served in Chinese restaurant-style takeout boxes, including the gluten-free salted chocolate buckwheat cookie that came with an egg custard tart for dessert.
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