These days you’d be hard-pressed to find a bride and groom whose friends and family don’t include at least a handful of folks who have dietary restrictions like gluten-free, vegan or adhering to a low-fat diet. Here are a few tips from the experts on ways to cater to these – or any – food concerns.
First, it isn’t necessary to offer a single meal that works for everyone from start to finish. Just be sure to inform your catering company well ahead of time, so that they can create a menu with options for people with dietary restrictions, says Kaspar Donier, the owner and chef for Seattle-based Kaspar’s Special Events & Catering.
If you’ve opted for stations or heavy appetizers, the numerous choices will make it easy to meet many preferences. But if you provide the number of alternative eaters and seating chart, caterers also can create special dishes for plated or family-style dinners that won’t require guests to subsist on sides.
Have a crew with a variety of restrictions? John Lawrence, director of catering and co-owner of Northborough, Massachusetts-based Pepper’s Fine Catering, suggests coming up with a dish that’s just as dramatic and enticing as the main entrée but that can meet multiple needs. For example, Pepper’s quinoa & vegetable-stuffed zucchini baton served on a tomato lentil ragout is nut-free and can work for most people who are gluten intolerant. Half the batons can have local goat cheese in the stuffing, which is fine for vegetarians and most who are lactose intolerant; for vegans, the other half is cheese-free.
Rethink the Main Event
If it’s you and/or your spouse-to-be with the food issue, don’t be afraid to make a menu that more fully speaks to your tastes. Vegan? Donier likes shiitake mushroom chips with black bean hummus, quinoa cakes with mushroom tempura and tomato saffron sauce, tofu Thai vegetable curry with brown rice, and mango rice-flour tempura with passion fruit coulis.
An easy gluten-free option is meat. Lawrence suggests coffee-crusted turkey tenderloin and served with an apple, Cognac and maple sugar reduction, butternut squash risotto and seasonal veggies.
“This dish has gone over very well at weddings, and not because it’s specifically gluten-free,” Lawrence says. “It’s simply delicious.”