With a twist of sophistication, a heaping pile of southern hospitality, and barrels
of wine, this well-traveled couple and their 250 guests enjoyed an evening of
food and wine that would enchant any palate.
On April 9, 2011, Christina Duss and Lincoln Isseta said “I Do” in Ponte Vedra
Beach, Florida at a private residence. The couple lives a busy and sophisticated
life in New York City. However, their families are from the opposing coasts—
the bride’s from Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida and the groom’s from Sonoma,
California. All three of these locations are significant to the couple, so the caterer
was enthusiastic to create a menu inspired by their roots as well as their life
together in NYC.
One key element from each of these locations— wine from California,
sophistication of a NYC hot spot and southern hospitality bred in Florida- were
highlighted throughout the evening. The guest list was over flowing with wine enthusiasts and extreme foodies much like the bride and groom, and the four-course dinner did not disappoint.
The food was prepped and par-cooked at the caterer's commissary and finished on
location. While the venue was without a kitchen, The Chef’s Garden Catering
and Events made its own by bringing in ovens, stoves, warmers and refrigeration.
Upon arrival, guests were greeted with an antipasto display and a
raw bar featuring a superior selection of seafood including stone crab claws with
brandy mousseline, Kumamoto oysters on the half shell and poached Mayport
shrimp. Passed appetizers were equally enticing: featuring petite pulled pork
sandwiches, baby lamb chops and stuffed tomatoes—to name a few.
However, it was the dinner service that stole the show. Once seated, guests
enjoyed the first course which was a unique chopped salad served with Maytag
blue, apple-wood smoked bacon and a creamy citrus vinaigrette. The second
course was a pasta tasting of pappardelle with tomato ragout and fresh basil, a
truffle risotto, and a caramelized onion ravioli with melted tomato.
The entrée gave guests a new perspective on the traditional chicken dinner. The
chef prepared the dish two ways— the leg braised with fennel, thyme, tomato
and red wine, and the breast seared crispy with a focaccia and fresh mozzarella
gratin, natural jus and spring morels. The main course was plated with Yukon
gold whipped potatoes and bouquet garni of baby vegetables over a bed of
wilted spinach. For pescatarians, a seafood option featuring local grouper was
available and served with accompaniments similar to the Poisson.
Each course was enhanced by wine pairings— two per course— featuring wines
from Sonoma, California. Many of the wine makers themselves made the cross-country
journey to enjoy this evening of love, fine wines and delicious cuisine. Eleven different vineyards were featured throughout the night— either during dinner or at a Sommelier attended wine bar— including such names as Gloria Ferrer, Benziger, Whitehall Lane and The White Knight.
The Chef’s Garden Catering and Events exceeded expectations as it captured pan
to plate service without the amenities of a formal kitchen. However, there were a
few setbacks to overcome in the process. The weather and layout of the property
were both trying, but the staff came prepared. Outdoor weddings are perfect for
the month of April except when the temperature spikes to 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
The 1,000 pounds of ice and the large refrigerated truck were not enough to
ensure chilled seafood and cool drinks. Everything was melting, and it was
melting fast. Thirty minutes prior to guests’ arrival, the caterer had to call in for
an emergency ice run. With some impeccable timing and help from a very able
staff, all the food stayed fresh and delicious and cocktail hour started without a
The staff had to transform a plot of unlevel ground into a beautiful reception site
with two working kitchens at the ends of the large tent to better serve the 250
guests. Yet, the electrical allowance was not enough to support both the needs of
the kitchen and the band. With a contractor on site, he proposed a plan that
would move one of the kitchens to a new location in order to share power from a
friendly neighbor. With a few generators and some crafty maneuvering, guests
were able to enjoy a little music with their chef prepared meal.
The Chef’s Garden Catering and Events creativity and innovation prevailed as
guests raved about the food, wait staff, and presentation. The caterer did more
than just prepare food; it prepared an experience inspired by the client's
Classic Italian Deli Meats, Aged Reggiano, Fresh Mozzarella, Marinated Roasted
Vegetables, Pepperoncinis, and a Tomato & Olive Salad, Served with Artisan
An Exquisite Selection of Seafood, to Include: Stone Crab Claws with a Brandy
Mousseline, Poached Mayport Shrimp with Fresh Horseradish Cocktail Sauce,
and Kumamoto Oysters with a Spicy Tomato Concasse
Crisp Hearts of Romaine with Maytag Blue,
Apple-Wood Smoked Bacon, and a Creamy Citrus Vinaigrette
Pappardelle with Fresh Basil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Tomato Ragout; Truffle
Risotto; and Caramelized Onion Ravioli with Melted Tomato
Chicken Two Ways: Leg Braised with Fennell, Thyme, Tomato, Red Wine, and a Crispy
Breast Topped with a Focaccia & Fresh Mozzarella Gratin, Natural Jus, Spring Morels,
Served with Yukon Gold Whipped Potatoes and Bouquet Garni of Baby
Vegetables, Served on a Bed of Wilted Spinach
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