Three Tips Thursday, Vol. 2: Fine Dining by Chef Kunj
For today’s #3TipsThursday, I am elated to talk about one of my favorite subjects: food!
Planning a large party, especially a wedding, is overwhelming for a multitude of reasons. While it can be a fun and exuberating process, the choices seem endless, and the starting point can be a challenging place to find.
Just like with decorations, colors, themes, florals, music, and location, a lot of decisions need to be made when it comes to choosing the menu for your special gathering.
I am honored to present Chef Kunj, owner of Fine Dining by Chef Kunj, who is going to share her three tips for steps to take before you even speak with a caterer, making the food-planning a whole lot easier!
Photo Credit: Gardens of Weber Manor.
A beautifully crafted and deliciously tasting culinary experience is what Chef Kunj is known for. She epitomizes the concept that food is art.
Having lived all over the world, including India, France, and the United States, Chef Kunj is a highly renowned private chef, owning her own catering company in South Florida and consulting for Michelin-star restaurants throughout Miami with her wide range of culinary prowess.
Chef Kunj sat with me for an interview recently, and here are her suggestions for where to start when it comes to catering your wedding or private event:
1. Narrow down your budget.
“Narrow down your budget. I cannot give more emphasis on that because this is going to be your main factor going forward in how you enjoy the process of start to finish of planning the event and enjoying the day of your event.
“Based on what your budget is, it’s going to be a defining factor for all the cuisines you can ask for from your caterer and what you can get because this will define your menus, the length of your menu, what kind of proteins you can get, and, of course, the cuisine. The more local the cuisines are, the lesser in price they are. The more global approach you take, the ingredients costs drastically increase because they are mostly sourced from outside. That fluctuates the price drastically.”
Chef Kunj further lamented that it’s incredibly important to be honest and open with your caterers and other vendors so that they can better help you make a decision that fits both your preferences and limitations.
2. Know your vision.
As it often goes with making any decision regarding a big event, having a vision of how you want the gathering to pan out and what you want it to look like are paramount to narrowing down your menu options.
Chef Kunj pointed out, “Not every cuisine suits a plated service or buffet service. So, once you have that clarity, on what you want your evening to look like, whether you want all your guests to be seated at the same time…a family style service to happen, or a self-service buffet to happen, based on that, a caterer can give you input and suggestions on a menu that suits that.
“For example, I come back to my home cuisine, Indian cuisine, which is gorgeous for a wedding and people love it and all of that jazz, but it is mostly suited for a family style service or a buffet style service, not so much as plated menus.”
When Chef Kunj spoke about this tip, I truly had an “ah-hah” moment, like it seemed so obvious, but these are points I would never have thought about without this education.
Vendor consultations are extremely important to running a smooth event.
3. Know your party well.
“In today’s world, anyone planning a party or gathering which involves food and has more than five people, trust me, there are people with dietary restrictions, preferences, special diets, and what not. And that makes it super complicated for you as a host and us as a chef to juggle because you have to account for those special factors.
“Some cuisines suit those dietary restrictions well, and some don’t. When you’re planning, it’s always good to know your party, where they’re coming from, are they locally from the same city that you are from? Do you know what’s the age group in that party? Who are your guests? If there are more elderly guests, it’s good to stick with the traditional cuisines that they are used to.”
I feel like this is another one of those points that seems obvious once she said it, but it is a reflection of how skilled and well-versed she is in the catering industry.
And my takeaway from this point is, if a guest is not going to enjoy the food, should they even get an invite?! Kidding! (But maybe this is a parameter for narrowing down that guest list that somehow creeps up all too quickly! 😉
Bonus: Because Chef Kunj is so fabulous, she left us with a parting bonus tip. If all your guests are coming from out of town, it’s great to be able to highlight the local cuisine. People enjoy exploring the cuisine local to the area they’re visiting, and it’s often a cheaper and easier option for the caterer since they’re able to source locally.
Thanks for tuning in!
-Emily, Co-Founder, The Gardens of Weber Manor
Blog News: We love to connect with our clients and friends, and we publish a special newsletter every 1st Thursday of the month. We also provide a lot of wedding tips from our preferred vendors.
“You will find that most times you have a vision of what it is that you want to accomplish and that’s most important. It allows you to work backwards and make cuts and changes that will still reflect the overall outcome you wish to achieve. What good is splurging on one particular item if it doesn’t result in the overall outcome you were trying to create?
-Emily, Co-Founder, The Gardens of Weber Manor
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“ When I say that pictures and videos do not do this space justice, that is an understatement!! The Gardens of Weber Manor, in all of its whimsy and magic, is truly a perfect little nook in the heart of the Redlands. No matter what the vision or mood board, this venue and its versatility will allow you to transform it to match your wildest dreams. Add to that the fact that Mike & Emily are the absolute sweetest owners & venue managers, and there should be NOTHING holding you back from booking a tour and picking your wedding date that same day. It is clear that they have put their heart and souls into building up The Gardens from the ground up. So whether you’re planning a wedding, anniversary, birthday or corporate event, you need not look further. ”
– Alianne Valladares-Prieto
“ The Gardens of Weber Manor is a hidden gem. This venue is magical. I can’t express how amazing it was working with Emily and Mike. They answered every question I had and made me feel that they had everything under control at all times. The staff was awesome!!! The rooms looked beautiful!!! I want to give a special thanks to Emily it was an absolute pleasure working with you. Everything went smoothly, easily and successfully thanks to Emily and Mike and the rest of the team. We felt like family from the time we started to plan the wedding and especially on our wedding day. Thanks to the Gardens of Weber Manor for the wedding of our dreams! ”
– Fernanda Rodriguez
“ We cannot say enough good things about this venue and the owners, Emily & Mike! It is truly a hidden gem. The garden is absolutely gorgeous – you really don’t even need to decorate because the scenery has so much beauty all itself. There are so many spots throughout the venue that could be used for different parts of an event, and no matter where you turned it was a perfect photo backdrop. Our friends and family kept telling us how beautiful the venue was and wondering how we found it. ”