Eat Drink Style A Wedding in Santa Barbara...

Four months ago, I got a call from a young lady interested in catering services for her wedding. I was referred by my catering boss who usually handles larger-scale events. Since it would be an event for 24 people, I immediately snagged the opportunity to do this wedding. The past few months have been a successful progression in my career as a part-time caterer and employee of a large catering company and I've gained a wealth of experience. So when I opened my eyes Saturday morning, I didn't have the usual sighs and groans, nor the frantic running-around before any catering event. Instead, I was at peace and definitely very stoked. I started loading up all my equipment and packed the food in my cooler. I was at peace knowing that I had two very reliable sous chefs and four good friends by my side. At around 12 pm, we took two cars up the 101 to the beautiful Santa Barbara area. We arrived at an old, but handsome Spanish-style home with a view that overlooked the Santa Barbara beaches and neighboring homes. The best part was that they had a nice kitchen geared with a Viking stove and dual Viking ovens. Yes!

We unloaded our cars and had to move the cars back down a hill. Lots of walking! As soon as everyone piled back into the kitchen, I asked everyone to get dressed in uniform because guests were walking around. It wouldn't have been too professional to let the guests see me in a t-shirt, Diesels and flip-flops haha. The good thing about being a cook is that you only need to wear a chef coat and black pants. My friends on the other hand looked like they were getting ready for the prom - with the girls doing the opposite-sex look. The servers were in a tux shirt, bowtie and cummerbund. All they needed were corsages and boutonniéres. I instructed them on how to place the table settings and serve hors d'oeurves.

We then got right into the food prep. With a time checklist on hand, things were a breeze. I think the hardest part of an event is not the main course, but the hors d'oeurves themselves. We had four of them and they all had to go out at the same time.

Hawaiian Poke with Avocado Mousse on Wonton Crisps
Yes, I know I've done these a million times but they are definitely a favorite. Who doesn't like raw tuna!? The avocado mousse has the essence of lime and jalapeno and gives a final kick to this dish.
Dungeness Crabcakes with Roasted Red Pepper Remoulade
Ah - the "Tater Tots of the Sea". Again, who doesn't like crabcakes.

Smoked Salmon in Cucumber Cubes
The smoky flavor of the salmon mixed with horse-radish sour cream goes well with the cool, watery taste of hothouse cucumbers.

Thai-Grilled Shrimp with Chili Sauce
This is one of my catering boss's trademark hors d'oeurves. There's something fantastic about eating a shrimp lollipop haha.

As soon as the guests were seated, we had to jump right on the salad. I quickly made the vinaigrette dressing and roasted the pears.

Korean Pear Salad with Honey Vinaigrette
The sweet korean pears were balanced with the sourness of the vinaigrette.

For the main course, we served the option of meat or fish. These were actually very easy to prepare. LL was on the grill and earlier had seared them off so that we could hold them till service. Right before service, he threw them back on to reach the appropriate medium doneness. I like my steaks medium rare, but not everyone does.

Miso-Cured Chilean Seabass
This is absolutely my most favorite fish. It's moist and flaky. I marinated these in sake, mirin, sugar and some ginger (a friend suggested that ginger would add a nice taste). These took no longer than 10 minutes to cook in the broiler and were gobbled up quite quickly.

Bacon-Wrapped Filet Mignon
Bacon-wrapping anything is a sure hit. You can do it on chicken, pork and scallops. Maybe even bacon-wrap bacon. Mmmm. I served this w/ a red wine reduction sauce.

After the last dish was served, we all breathed a sigh of relief and congratulated each other on a job well done. The clients were very happy. The best part of the night was watching my friends pull together for this one event. It's funny seeing your friends in a serious light. Thank you to the crew on Saturday night for a wonderful night. And of course to my catering boss for passing this event down to me.

Next event: a wedding party for a very funny food blogger we all know very well... Daily Gluttony. Stay tuned.

Thanks for reading.

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