By Natasha Anderson
There’s a story behind every wedding: the couple who met on a hiking trail, weathered a long-distance relationship or spent three months quarantining together during a pandemic. There’s the story of the first time the bride met the groom’s family or vice-versa, or when they adopted a dog or met each other’s children. There are many ways for couples to share this history, including through the food served at their wedding reception.
“We encourage clients to be creative,” says Food Experience co-owner and executive chef Tony Franco. “One couple we catered to this summer had four different stations for dinner representing locations where they had both lived, from Nashville to India.”
For those who are unsure what type of menu to offer, the Food Experience team is ready to assist. The process typically begins with a discussion about the clients’ favorite foods, restaurants and dining styles, followed by communication via email and telephone until the catering company has enough information to provide a sample menu and quote. Most couples finalize their choices at a tasting in the Food Experience commissary kitchen in West Asheville.
“The tasting is an enjoyable part of the wedding planning process,” says Franco. “We typically have a chef and server present between 12 and 20 dishes including charcuterie items, starters, salads and entrées as well as station items, followed by a sweet to end the experience.”
Popular menu items feature local food and southern flavors, including spicy pimento cheese, mini southern tomato pies, ham biscuits, Nashville hot chicken and shrimp and grits. Barbecue buffets, taco bars and pasta stations are also frequent hits.
Olive Catering Company
Though Olive Catering Company typically begins the selection process by providing sample menus for clients to browse, the Asheville-based caterer customizes a menu for each couple in order to reflect the mood, atmosphere and theme of their wedding. Clients that enjoy grilling, for example, or going to the beach, can have a menu that reflects that. Once sample menus have been shared, follow-up communication provides a clear direction so that a tasting can be arranged.
“A wedding is not only a celebration of a couple starting their lives together, but a reflection of who they are, what they like and what is important to them,” says Olive Catering marketing manager Lauren Guyton.
In addition to hors d’oeuvres, buffets, brunches and plated luncheons and dinners, the Olive Food Truck provides another way to get creative, offering casual fare including tacos, falafel, burgers, soft-shell crab sandwiches, brie and raspberry grilled cheese and the company’s famous fried Brussels sprouts, available plain or loaded with pimento cheese and bacon.
“We often have dietary needs to meet, such as vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free, and we cater to those as requested,” says Guyton. “We want to be sure our couples are happy, their guests are happy and that we provide the best culinary experience for them.”