At last couples can enjoy the delights of twice Michelin Starred chef, Marcus Wareing, with his new Wedding menu offerings at The Berkeley.
The highly acclaimed chef shares his recommendations on how to provide a gastronomical storm at your wedding and tells us why he can take on any event after hosting up a mountain in Brazil…
5 Star Weddings: 5 Star Couples all around will be delighted to know that your Michelin starred food and expertise are now available for their wedding – tell us what your key components are for ensuring a gourmet wedding breakfast.
Marcus Wareing: We are passionate about quality on all levels and work to ensure that all the elements within the wedding are as perfect as possible for the Bride and Groom. We work closely with them throughout the wedding planning process and at the outset we meet with the couple to see what they are looking for and what sort of wedding is it – whether it is very traditional or something a little bit different. We always use seasonal ingredients but I would suggest that the bride and groom go with dishes that they personally like, I would avoid trying to create a menu that pleases everyone. Chicken is often served at weddings as it suits pretty much everyone, but there are some fabulous ingredients as an alternative. I would also suggest that in a Michelin starred environment – always trust the chef. We know what ingredients are available when. I would also avoid choosing a very long menu for a wedding. Trust that we will create the perfect dishes for the big day. We all know that it is the most important day of your lives and we will get it right for you.
5 Star Weddings: Aside from seasonal dishes, what type of dishes are couples currently leaning towards for their weddings?
Marcus Wareing: Well the scallop dishes always prove popular for starters, with a light fish dish or beef as a very popular main course.
5 Star Weddings: What, personally, would you consider to be an ideal starter, main and dessert at a wedding? Which wines would you pair with each dish?
Marcus Wareing: Canapés would be along the lines of risotto balls or tempura prawns served with champagne.
I would love a fish dish to start, maybe our cured salmon pave with apple, horseradish and nasturtium. It is currently on our lunchtime menu and I love it as it is just so fresh.
For the main course, I would go for New Season Lamb with English asparagus, Jersey Royals and fresh garden mint sauce. The lamb is perfect at the moment as it is just coming into season.
When it comes to dessert, I would love an apple tarte tatin with vanilla ice-cream and Devonshire clotted cream. Of course I would also have a selection of cheeses….
5 Star Weddings: Tell us about the dining experience for a wedding party at The Berkeley
Marcus Wareing: We do not have a license for the wedding ceremony itself but conveniently, there is a church next door to The Berkeley… so the party of up to 70 guests would arrive at the restaurant from their chosen location. As we offer a completely personal, individually tailored wedding service we let the couple use the space as they wish, the room can be set up with large round tables seating 8,9 or 10 and we can also put in a top table if required. On arrival the wedding guests would be greeted with champagne and canapés, these can either be served in two luxurious areas within the restaurant, the bar or the Private Dining Room. After drinks guests will be seated and the truly bespoke and of course delicious lunch or dinner will then be served – we can stagger courses to accommodate wedding speeches.
When it comes to flowers and décor, we work to exactly what the couples want. We can arrange our beautiful in-house flowers or the Bride and Groom can liaise with their own florist if they prefer something different. We will also organize the place cards and printed menus if they are required. If the Bride and Groom want to give gifts or favours to their guests, we can place them on the tables as we set up along with any other personal details they want included, ensuring the tables look as beautiful as possible. If guests would like music then we will of course make this work for them too, in the past we have had light music playing in the dining room with a harpist or quartet which adds a great ambiance to the room.
We are located within the sumptuous 5 Star The Berkeley Hotel, therefore rooms can be reserved if required for dressing, photographs or for the bride and grooms wedding night, along with guests of course.
Our team will do our utmost to ensure that the wedding runs smoothly and that everyone enjoys this special day.
5 Star Weddings: How much does a couple’s wedding theme influence the dishes you serve and the style in which you serve them?
Marcus Wareing: It doesn’t really. We will build the menu around the couples desires and taste preferences and of course we can adjust flowers and decor accordingly but the food will always be two starred Michelin style!
5 Star Weddings: You have undoubtedly been involved in some very high profile and elaborate events – what has been the most unusual or challenging food and drink request that you have had to deliver?
Marcus Wareing: Nothing too wacky, although I recently organized canapés for a superb event in Brazil on top of Sugar Loaf Mountain. Working in a make shift kitchen in a field is always tricky!
5 Star Weddings: You also offer a private menu consultation for couples who already have their venue, can you tell us a bit more about how this works?
Marcus Wareing: Basically, if your venue and your caterer are willing, then I can assist in the food and beverage planning. I will work alongside the caterer and the couple and help devise a truly unique and exciting wedding menu. We will look at all elements of the food from the canapés through to the Wedding breakfast and any other details relating to the food, rehearsal dinners and so forth. I will also work alongside their sommelier/mixologist to ensure that they wine pairings and cocktails perfectly complement the menu’s. When it comes to the day itself, I do not have a team large enough to cater for a wedding of more than 70 guests but I can assist a caterer if they cook. For example I designed the menu at one of The Elton John Aids Foundation Winter Balls. I planned the menu and then attended tastings at the caterers Last Supper, together we fine-tuned the dishes and they were fantastic on the night.
5 Star Weddings: What’s the lead time for booking in a wedding catered by Marcus Wareing?
Marcus Wareing: It really depends on the restaurant availability, so 6 months prior to the big day would be ideal.
5 Star Weddings: Second to The Berkeley, do you have a favourite wedding venue that you would recommend?
Marcus Wareing: Well of course I think The Gilbert Scott, my second restaurant, located at St Pancras would also be fabulous for a wedding. It is located in an amazing building with stunning architecture and fabulous British food. We can cater for around 140 people. I envisage drinks in the bar, photos on the stairs in the hotel and then a great British menu. You could even arrive on a double decker bus. A truly London wedding!!
Or – I have to say if Jane and I got married again then it would be at The Connaught. I love everything about the place. Helene Darroze’s cooking, the beautiful ballroom and the suites are just lovely.
5 Star Weddings: What, in your opinion, makes a 5 Star Wedding?
Well of course the food is so important but it probably comes down to the team of staff. They have to understand the importance of the day but also realise that it’s a happy occasion and that there should be no stuffiness and of course no errors!! I think the speeches probably help too!!!