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Where to start with menu planning

So! Where to start with menus for a new client and their specific requirements?

I often get requests from enquiring clients for my 'wedding menus' my 'list of canapés' or a price for 'supplying a buffet' My reply to the poor bewildered customer is that 'I don't have a list' or a 'set menu' or a set price - why would this be? Well the reason is because I feel lists are limiting. They limit the customer to a choice between one thing and another, when actually a wealth of possibilities exist.

My starting point is always 'what sort of feeling do you want to achieve?' We will also be thinking of what time of year, what is in season, and what time of day will the party be. Is the party to be formal or more relaxed? How many people will need feeding? What sort of facilities are at the venue? What sort of budget would be appropriate? Are there any dietary requirements that need to be taken into consideration?

All of these questions pose a different set of possibilities, and each situation will call up a different group of suggestions. From this initial discussion we will get a pretty accurate picture of the sort of thing this particular client is after, and we go from there!

The next stage is the fun part! I have an embarrassingly large collection of cook books, and I love sitting with a pad of paper and a stack of books, working out what collection of ideas to put together for each client. I will instinctively head for certain books or authors to create each particular vibe. Some ideas will come directly from a recipe, and many others will derive inspiration from the ideas of a favourite author, but will be tweaked to make it right for the customer and their wishes.

The end result will be a menu that is seasonal, on the right budget and right for the set of circumstances of the event! Each event is different. Everyone is happy!

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