“In general, I don’t think you need to put a theme to the food. The theme should be just good food you like to serve.”
Melanie de Coppet and Brooke Costello, Owners of Red Table Catering
What’s the difference between your company and the average rubber-chicken banqueter?
De Coppet: Food is often compromised in large affairs. It’s an objective of ours to find a way to preserve restaurant-quality food and to blend our eclectic backgrounds.
Costello: If someone wants a family dish they’ve had all their lives from their Korean aunt, we take that recipe and tweak it. It’s the kind of food your mom cooked, but nicer.
Wedding food does get a bad rap.
Costello: I actually think that’s changing.
De Coppet: In New York, at least, eating in general is improving. People are also paying attention to the ingredients and where they’re being sourced from.
What’s the first question a couple should ask themselves when planning the food?
Costello: Take a look at whom you’re trying to please: yourself or your parents? It should be you, but I think some people are like, “The honeymoon’s about us; the wedding is for our parents.” Think about what is going to make the most important people happy. Sometimes it’s short ribs and mashed potatoes.
De Coppet: And knowing your format, too. You can do stations, family style, tapas, a tasting menu… Get an idea, based on the venue, of what kind of format you want and how food is going to tie in.
What trends are popular for menus right now?
De Coppet: Tapas for the actual meal.
Costello: And everybody’s focused on seasonal and local.
De Coppet: Everybody!
Is going seasonal or local for your wedding always more expensive?
De Coppet: If it needs to be certified organic, absolutely, it’s more expensive. But seasonal and local don’t necessarily have a significant price increase. Keep in mind, though: If you’re having a winter wedding and you want it to be local, you can’t have asparagus on the menu.
What’s the most creative wedding you’ve ever catered?
Costello: The most unusual was the first tapas one we ever did, with nineteen different bites of food, and each was specific to what the couple had had during their romance, traveling throughout South and Central America. They were eating for three and a half hours. It was risky to do the theme, but in the end, I think it was awesome.
What was the food like at your respective weddings?
Costello: My wife is from Texas, so we had smoked meats, a Tex-Mex mixture of bocadillos, and a great big Mexican wedding cake.
De Coppet: My husband and I got married at a country club on Kiawah Island [in South Carolina]. There were tons of amazing hors d’oeuvre, which I never tried a bit of. We were stuck taking photos. My advice to couples: The hors d’oeuvre are the best part of the wedding—don’t miss them!
From the Summer 2011 New York Wedding Guide