Weddings Through the Eyes of a Chef – Peter Hennessey (Head Chef) Carrigaline Court Hotel
‘Weddings Through the Eyes of a Chef’
Peter Hennessey – Head Chef, Carrigaline Court Hotel
- Tell us about how you got involved in chefing. I originally started off as a Kitchen Porter and helped the chefs to prepare the food. I was then offered the opportunity to train as a chef, and accepted it.
- How do you decide on what to include on a wedding menu? The Seasons are very important, and I would try to advise wedding couples on that. Lamb for example is not recommended November/December. And also in December fresh Cod is a bit scarce. Vegetables would also be influenced by the seasons.
- What advice do you have for couples when it comes to deciding on their wedding food? Go with what they like and as above all what is best in season.
- How many weeks before a wedding should a meal tasting take place? Ideally 6-8 weeks is the best time as it then becomes part of the experience, rather than a box ticked.
- What’s the fanciest wedding menu you’ve created? Although a lot of wedding menus are very similar, in that the couple select the “safest option” when catering for their large number of guests, it’s always fun for us when we are asked to create a specific menu to tie in with a wedding theme. During the summer 2018, because of the Royal Wedding of Harry & Meghan, we had a wedding that replicated some of the dishes served. Nice light summery dishes culminating in a Lemon & Elderflower Wedding Cake dessert – a request which we were delighted to accommodate.
- What dietary requirement do you cater for? We cater for all dietary requirements. We once had a wedding that had a very large number of coeliac guests – they requested that their entire menu should be gluten free – we met with the couple and created a menu that was 100% gluten free from start to finish which did not compromise in taste in any way.
- What are the most popular main courses? I would say Sirloin of Beef and Seabass for the main course. Vol au Vent is always a popular starter choice and most weddings now opt for a Dessert Plate which offers a taster of three mini desserts suiting all tastes.
- What are the most popular desserts? Our most popular Dessert Trio would be Salted Caramel Tartlet served with Caramelized Pecan Nuts, Lemon & Lime Posset with Shortbread Biscuit and Raspberry & White Chocolate Cheese-Cake.
- Have tastes changed over time? This I feel is influenced more by the economy than taste. In the boom it was all fillet steak and prime Fish and that changed when the recession came – money management was a driving factor. But what I will say there is more of an emphasis on quality and freshness over the years.
- What’s the most unusual food request you’ve had for a wedding? Bacon & Cabbage for a Main Course and Chicken wings for the Starter.