Top 2016 Wedding Menu Trends

January 18, 2016

By: Pfister Executive Chef Brian Frakes

As Executive Chef of Milwaukee’s Pfister Hotel, I know that for decades, a plated, sit-down meal with the choice of a protein (meat or fish) or a vegetarian option was the wedding standard. In recent years, however, we are seeing a lot more creativity and personalization coming from our Pfister couples. From local favorites to comfort food, 2016 couples are looking for unique, creative ways to tie their own traditions into the food they serve.

Customization is Key
When we sit down with our brides and grooms to discuss their catering, we first ask what they are looking for and what we can do for them. That way, couples don’t feel like they have to be locked into standard menu options. In 2016, we are seeing an increased incorporation of traditions and cultures from both sides of the family. We recently did an Iranian/Mexican wedding in which we served food stations with items from each culture. Another way to customize your menu is memory re-creation. Think of experiences the two of you have shared as a couple, and discuss with your chef. We recently created hors d’oeuvres based on a couple’s favorite trip they took together to Tokyo. We ended up with a delectable black and blue ahi tuna with a carrot ginger puree.

Not just a wedding trend, localization is a huge food trend for 2016. At the Pfister, we like to be creative with our couple’s requests for local favorites, such as creating a Sprecher beer or Anodyne coffee glaze. Wisconsin-themed options are also a hit for 2016 weddings. Couples love serving a cheese display with local cheeses from their favorite Wisconsin city. Additionally, we’ve seen an increase in requests for using our Pfister rooftop honeybees to create a honey sorbet or dressing, connecting the historic hotel with the wedding for an extra special and unique twist the couple will always share. Of course, we can’t forget about gluten-free and other allergy requests, which have grown in recent years. We create all of our gluten-free meals in a separate part of the kitchen, using separate equipment and all of our plated banquet menus are 100% gluten-free.

Keep it Comfy
One unique trend that keeps popping up in 2016 weddings is that of comfort food – but at an elevated level. Short ribs in a buffet are “the new filet” due to their tenderness and delicious taste, but we take it up a notch by adding in that local beer or coffee. And our most popular dessert for 2016 is a S’mores Tart – traditional rustic flavors presented with a twist. Of course, nowadays nearly every wedding has some sort of late-night snack, typically inspired by comfort food. We are seeing a lot of sliders, topping-filled pizzas, candy stations, duck nachos, and mouth-watering pastries made in-house by our talented pastry chef. We also see the occasional late-night breakfast station complete with omelets and waffles.

Don’t be afraid to tell your chef what you like to eat and how you like to eat. 2016 weddings are all about incorporating your personal style, traditions, and taste into your menu for a special night you’ll always remember.

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