The Secrets of Serving An Inspired And Sustainable Wedding Menu

Photography courtesy of Oliver & Bonacini Hospitality.

With the start of a new year, and a new decade, the collective awareness of the state of our planet is at an all-time high. In the first part of this sustainability series, we spoke about paper, and this time, we’re discussing all things food!

The importance of food in our society stretches far beyond nourishment—food is an experience. On the flip side, food is also a large contributor of waste, carbon emissions and water usage across the planet. That’s why we’ll be sharing ideas on how you can create an unforgettable food experience at your wedding while making a tangible difference.

Our first tip is to challenge your caterer to source local products that are in season. For example, if you want a tomato and burrata salad, even though your wedding is in November, keep in mind that tomatoes are in season in Canada between early spring and summer. This means that to acquire a tomato that will have the flavour you want in your salad, it must be imported from warmer-climate country. Instead, consider serving a delicious squash and burrata salad. Your chef will have strong knowledge of seasonality, so let them know you’d like to consider this in the planning of your menu.

If you are set on a particular menu but still want to be mindful of the waste being produced at your wedding, consider contacting Second Harvest. Their ever-expanding Food Rescue program—available across the nation—promises to come to your venue, pick up any leftover food and deliver it to those in your community who need it. Ask your venue if they can participate in this program on your behalf.

Another way to reduce your footprint is by incorporating several plant-based dishes into your menu. This might mean serving vegan canapés and a vegan appetizer, then featuring a locally sourced meat or fish in your main. This way, guests will still eat food they enjoy, while potentially trying something different and prolonging the life of our planet.

And to end with a pretty wild idea, our culinary team recently partook in a challenge to compose a dish entirely out of leftover food from our restaurants. The result was beautifully and creatively crafted dishes that you would never have imagined came from “waste.” If you really want to make food recovery a priority and a focal point for your wedding, ask your venue team and chefs to collaborate with you, and share your devotion to the cause with your guests.

Whatever you choose to do, let your guests know the choices you made and why you made them. At least a few of them will be planning their own wedding in the future, so sparking these ideas in them now will continue to help move the environmental needle!

Natalie Ho has worked in the hospitality industry for 15 years and is currently is the director of event sales for Oliver & Bonacini Hospitality. She has personally planned 350+ weddings and momentous events. Both creative and business-minded, Natalie is dedicated to growing her events business in out-of-the-box ways.

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