A Top Chef Wedding

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May 01, 2009

Teams square off on the popular reality cooking show to provide the ultimate wedding buffet 

When Corey and JP Marchetti got engaged in June 2006, they knew they had plenty of time to plan the wedding of their dreams, which was scheduled for April 2008. As the director of business development of Galleria Marchetti, a venue in Chicago, Corey plays host to more than 70 weddings each year, so planning her own should have been a breeze, until the phone call came.

€œA producer from the TV show Top Chef called and asked if we had any upcoming weddings booked because they wanted to shoot an episode of Top Chef around a Chicago wedding. At the time we didn€™t so we told him no,€ says Corey. €œI got off the phone and told JP, €˜We could get married earlier.€™ So I called them back and told them we€™d change our wedding date and do the show.€

With just five weeks to redo and finalize the plans for her wedding, rescheduled for October 21, 2007, Corey contacted Erika Lohmar, an event producer with The Meetinghouse Companies, to help with the details.
€œI told Erika the situation and put it all on her plate,€ Corey says. €œShe made a specific schedule for the day of the event and it was so detailed, right down to the minute, that even the TV crew used it.€ 

Knowing that the food portion of the wedding would be taken care of by the show was a relief, but Corey wouldn€™t find out what would be on the menu until the day of their wedding. Chefs from €œTop Chef€ interviewed the couple to find out what their favorite foods were, and then the teams took it from there. €œI told them I love comfort foods and JP€™s favorite is Italian,€ says Corey. €œThat€™s all we knew about the menu prior to our wedding.€

The kitchens at Galleria Marchetti were used by the team of chefs. One entire room of the restaurant was taken up by the camera crew. €œThe producers and crew were so laid back, we didn€™t even know they were there,€ says Corey. €œWe were so excited about the wedding we didn€™t even think about the TV show.€€™

Following the wedding, a reception was held in the permanent tented pavilion at Galleria Marchetti. Corey was unsure how the chefs planned to combine comfort foods with Italian, and as it turned out they didn€™t. €œThe chefs split into two teams, one side catered a bride€™s buffet and one side catered a groom€™s buffet,€ says Corey. €œThe idea was to make a buffet after each of our favorite foods and half the guests dined on the bride€™s buffet and the other half dined at the groom€™s buffet.€ Different colored charger plates€”gold for the bride€™s buffet and chocolate for the groom€™s buffet€”indicated where the guests should dine to enjoy the couple€™s favorite foods. 

The judges, along with guest judge Gale Gand, sat at one table and dined from both buffets to determine the winning team of chefs. When the show aired on May 7, 2008, catersource€™s Mike and Bernice Roman, and director of consulting Carl Sacks joined the Marchetti€™s as they learned that the team catering the bride€™s buffet won.

€œAn interesting twist to the day was that we were not allowed to tell anyone what TV show was taping our wedding; we could only tell everyone it was a reality show,€ says Corey. The guests loved the added excitement, but above all, everyone enjoyed the fabulous dual buffets of food.   

Bride€™s Menu
Passed Appetizers
Prosciutto and Goat Cheese Pizza
Pulled Pork Sandwich
Potato-Fried Chicken with Basil and Chipotle
Short Ribs and Blue Cheese in Phyllo
Comfort Foods Buffet
Beef Tenderloin
Sautéed Mushrooms and Asparagus
Asparagus Salad with Corn, Almonds and Arugula
Blue Cheese Grits
Creamed Spinach
Corn Bread with Honey Butter
Potato Gratin
Crispy Almond-Basil Chicken
Dark Chocolate and Lemon Cake

Groom€™s Menu
Passed Appetizers
Fig and Prosciutto
Assorted Flatbread
Italian Buffet
Carved Roast Filet with Horseradish Cream and Red Wine Reduction
Ragu-Braised Pork and Beef with Orechetti
Chilean Sea Bass with Capers, Olives and Artichokes
Shrimp Oreginata
Anitpasti Bar
Beets with Goat Cheese and Candied Hazelnuts
Butternut Tortellini with Brown Butter and Sage
Marinated Roasted Vegetables
Sicilian Tuna Salad
Chocolate Hazelnut

Catersource magazine
July/August 2008

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