We all agree that one of the best parts of a wedding is the excessive eating and drinking…right? Well, if your guests don’t appreciate leaving the wedding party with a serious hangover and bloating, fellow health nut and celebrity chef, Pete Evans has the solution.
Pete has partnered with luxury hotel, Fraser Suites to create a wedding menu that is part Paleo, but completely healthy. Think: cinnamon braised pork shoulder, slow cooked salmon and grass-fed beef carpaccio, followed by coconut panna cotta, raw cheesecake, cacao and avocado mouse.
Your boring diet food, this is not.
I sat down with the King of Paleo to discuss why he decided to partner with Fraser Suites. Let me tell you, this guy is a living, breathing example of health; between his clear blue eyes, Californian tan (in the middle of winter!?), perfect skin and killer smile, I’m seriously ready to have whatever he’s having.
Why did you choose to partner with Fraser Suites?
With my work, I spend about eight months of the year on the road, so I know how important it is to find a comfortable home away from home and get a healthy meal. When they approached me to collaborate and create a series of seasonal menus using fresh, locally sourced ingredients, I jumped at the chance. As a chef, I want to make sure people have as many nourishing, nutrient-dense meal options as possible when they’re travelling so they can feel, and perform, at their very best. I know when I’m on the road, for me personally, the food choices I make have a massive impact on my ability to concentrate, focus and keep my energy at its peak for as long as I need.
What are the benefits of choosing a healthy wedding menu?
Achieving optimal health requires us all to make a conscious decision with every forkful of food we put in our mouths so why should you have to compromise on your wedding day? A healthy wedding menu is as delicious and tasty, if not more so, than a traditional wedding feast. Plus it won’t leave you or your guests feeling tired or bloated at the end of the meal. Instead, guests will be full of energy and vitality and, most importantly, keen as to hit the dance floor and boogie the night away!
You use a dairy and gluten-free menu at Fraser Suites – why? Why should we steer clear of these ingredients?
The reason the menu at Fraser Suites is gluten and dairy-free is because my food philosophy is Paleo so its principles are at the core of every recipe I design. Paleo is pretty simply, really. All it means is eating nutrient-dense, wholefoods and living in a sustainable and holistic way that honours both ourselves, the animals around us and our planet. That’s why the menu here is dairy and gluten-free. It’s also because keeping dairy and gluten out of the equation is the most inclusive choice for any party of wedding guests. That’s because gluten and one of the two key proteins in dairy – called casein – are both “gateway allergens.” The types of casein in dairy and the type of gluten now present in our modern grains is particularly hard to digest and has been shown, countless times, to increase intestinal permeability – i.e. leaky gut. This increases chances of digestive disorders, inflammatory conditions and immune disorders such as allergies and sensitivities. Today, lots of people are finding that they have sensitivities to both dairy and gluten so keeping these ingredients out of the equation means every guest will be able to eat with relish on the big day itself.
How much control does the bride have over the menu? Can she add/amend dishes?
The bride has lots of control of course – it’s her big day after all! That’s why I’ve designed a series of dishes that can be put together in any configuration so the bride can choose the right options that will suit the palettes of her, the groom and their loved ones.
Do you believe weddings are a time for the bride to take risks with her menu, or should she play it safe?
Honestly, I think that depends on the bride and whether or not she likes to take risks. It’s up to her because every wedding is a very intimate, personal celebration. Weddings are also the ultimate celebration of love and, I believe, food is a way we can celebrate with our loved ones every day. The thing I love most about weddings is that the occasion brings these two elements together.
How does a wedding menu differ from that of a restaurant menu or dish?
A wedding menu should take you on a journey from the first mouthful of your starter right through to that final spoonful of dessert. It’s about creating special dishes that stand out for people because of the harmony of flavours, textures and the use of exquisite ingredients. It’s the time to indulge in classic favourites paired with something a little unusual that will have your guests raving about the food long after those final pieces of confetti have fallen.
What’s your favourite dish on the menu?
I have to say it’s the slow-cooked salmon on roasted beetroot and pomegranate salad. It’s the meal I often make at Christmas time because it’s a riot of colour, flavour and texture and it just looks so stunning on the plate.
If you got married this weekend, what would your dream wedding menu look like?
Seafood, seafood and more seafood. I love the ocean’s bounty and the water is such a big part of my life that seafood would be the star. And a raw blueberry cheesecake for dessert – the same one that’s on the menu at Fraser Suites.
How do you match wine with the Fraser Suites wedding menu? Are there staple rules a bride should know?
The best rules for food and wine matching to follow are to listen and be guided by your palette. If it’s a robust dish full of earthy flavours – such as a rich osso bucco or a spicy braised piece of meat – then a similar wine will suit or lighter wine goes with delicate flavours. But if you’re unsure those golden rules – such as red wine with red meat and white wine with seafood and chicken – will stand you in good steed.
What’s your number one tip to brides when trying to decide on catering/menu for a wedding?
Listen to yourself – you know what you and your guests will like best so be firm with your choices and don’t let anyone talk you into food you don’t feel comfortable with. Ultimately, the food that’s served up on the day should be a reflection of the flavours and ingredients you and your partner love most.
You refrain from using cane sugar in your menu – what are some alternative sweeteners that have become staples?
Sugar is sugar – whether it is cane or other sweeteners – but I choose to use organic honey or maple syrup as it is the least refined.
Where do you see wedding food trends going over the coming year?
All over the world more and more people are opting to maintain a healthy lifestyle. No longer are special occasions seen as an opportunity to over-indulge in rich foods. That’s why there is a trend towards using light, flavoursome ingredients and sustainable proteins from land and sea because people really do care about where their food comes from and how it makes them feel once they’ve eaten it.
Click here to book your paleo wedding at Fraser Suites.