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Photographed by Alyson Bowman

Food and drink are integral ingredients to a successful wedding, and from the moment your “I do’s” are done, they will be the most important thing for many of your guests. With this in mind we’ve reached out to some of the state and region’s best chefs asking them to provide suggestions for their favorite wedding dishes. The results of our informal survey have resulted in an epic multi-course meal complete with beverage pairings that will leave your guests wishing your wedding was a restaurant they could book a table at again and again. From meat to vegetarian and coffee to cocktails, our list will give you some ideas and options for planning your own wedding feast. It will also let you put a face with the plate and see some of the chefs and talented catering staff working behind the scenes at weddings you’ve been to, and maybe, just maybe, the culinary artist who will help feed your guests on your special day.

Forks & Fingers  |  Greenwich and East Haven

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General Tso’s cauliflower, Vietnamese chicken meatball, and fluke crudo“We created General Tso’s cauliflower because with the influx of vegetarian and vegan weddings we have been catering, we wanted to come up with a unique and flavorful dish that would appeal to everyone. The Vietnamese chicken meatball over chili glass noodles is our bite-size version of something you would find at an open-air market cart in Vietnam. From pier to plate and farm to fork, this refreshing fluke crudo features everything local.”  — Mark McKinley, executive chef and co-owner


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Goats N’ Roses, Marlborough  |  Spicy Bean, Glastonbury

Kimchi fried rice with spicy pickled cabbage, farm-fresh roasted vegetables and scallions, topped with an over-easy egg: “This dish is ideal for the adventurous bride. Our idea was to take a crowd favorite, traditional Asian fried rice, and elevate it to the next level by incorporating a rather unconventional yet mouthwatering ingredient such as kimchi. This authentic Korean pickled cabbage is gaining more and more attention due to its health benefits and distinct taste. Its spicy, tangy flavor perfectly complements the sweet teriyaki hoisin sauce we mix into the rice, an ideal marriage between savory and sweet. This dish is also dairy free, gluten free, vegetarian, and can easily be made vegan if one chooses to remove the egg.”  — Juliette Denis, co-owner, and Kathy Denisiewicz, chef/co-owner


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Riverhouse Catering  |  Haddam

Red wine-braised short rib: “Whether braised in housemade barbecue sauce during the spring and summer or glazed with a comforting red wine demi during fall and winter, our short ribs slowly melt in your mouth. One of our most-requested menu items, this entrée will be fondly remembered by all guests who enjoy it on your special day.”

— Kirsten Pechout, catering sales manager, and Brandie Villanova,executive chef (pictured)


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Artisan  West Hartford and Southport 

Lobster cioppino: “The lobster cioppino is our (New England) version of the classic San Francisco soup. Instead of being a tomato-based soup, we use a creamed lobster base. It is served with East Coast fish such as Maine lobster, Chatham cod, Nantucket fluke, Bomster Stonington sea scallops and, of course, fingerling potatoes and chorizo to be truthful to the Portuguese origin of the dish (even though to this day Portuguese and Italians still claim to be at the origin of this dish).” — Frederic Kieffer, executive chef

Riverhouse Catering  |  Haddam

Red wine-braised short rib: “Whether braised in housemade barbecue sauce during the spring and summer or glazed with a comforting red wine demi during fall and winter, our short ribs slowly melt in your mouth. One of our most-requested menu items, this entrée will be fondly remembered by all guests who enjoy it on your special day.” — Kirsten Pechout, catering sales manager, and Brandie Villanova, executive chef (pictured)


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Porrón & Piña  |  Hartford

Sour cherry macarons, blackberry pistachio cupcakes: “Let’s face it, the first thing you remember about your wedding dinner is likely the last thing you ate — dessert. At the end of the meal, you’ve had a lot to eat. A dessert that reawakens your palate with a sour bite and a dash of protein fuels your feet so you are free to let loose on the dance floor without feeling weighed down. Pastry chef Kristin Eddy and I worked to strike the right chord between classic expectations — macarons and cupcakes — and unexpected flavor combinations like the tart blackberry and smooth pistachio.”  — Tyler Anderson, owner and executive chef (right), and Kristin Eddy, pastry chef


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Three Meadows Spirits  |  Millerton, New York   |  makers of Peony Vodka

Thai the Knot: “Peony Vodka’s subtle botanical flavor lends itself perfectly to the use of herbs, for a bright, fresh twist on the traditional wedding cocktail. Herbs represent centuries of tradition and loving sentiments for the bridal couple, and bring wonderful, therapeutic fragrances to the wedding day. Although most of us probably best know basil as a flavor-booster for food, in Roman times it was a symbol of love. In Italy, if you give your intended a sprig of basil, it is believed they will fall deeply in love with you and never leave you, so it’s the perfect symbolic drink for a wedding.”  — Leslie Farhangi, owner


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Simpson & Vail  Brookfield

Victorian Earl Grey tea: “Earl Grey tea is one of the most renowned tea blends. This blend contains roses, which are associated with beauty and love; lavender, representing refinement, grace and elegance; and rosemary, a symbol of remembrance.” — Jim Harron Jr., co-owner, with Cyndi Harron, his sister, and their parents, Jim and Joan Harron


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Shearwater Organic Coffee Roasters and Shearwater Coffee Bar |  Fairfield

Running Rapids Cold Brew: “A chilled glass of Running Rapids Cold Brew is perfect for weddings to keep everyone well caffeinated and cooled down for the festivities. Served straight over ice, you can savor the creamy, delightfully smooth coffee without any bitterness. For a special cocktail, blend with some Black Button bourbon cream.”  — Ed Freedman, owner

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The senior writer at Connecticut Magazine, Erik is the co-author of Penguin Random House’s “The Good Vices” and author of “Buzzed” and “Gillette Castle.” He is also an adjunct professor at WCSU’s MFA Program and Quinnipiac University