I got the chance to sit down with Event Designer, Jessica Stapp and Innovation Chef, Jenna Johansen to really learn about what sets them apart from other caterers and how they've maintained their flawless reputation over the last 32 years.
What is the first thing that you ask a couple?
JS: I usually have some background information such as where they’re getting married and what their date is, so I have some preliminary information. I always ask them what their style is and what their favorite restaurants are. It gives me a really good idea of how they dine and what is realistic as far as what they spend on dinner for themselves. Understanding how they eat is always very important when it comes to putting together their menu.
What can couples expect from their tasting?
JS: We send a customized proposal and once we feel that our client is ready for a tasting, we bring them in. It’s a one on one appointment with myself and our chef, Jenna, and they get to bring up to two additional decision makers. It’s a complimentary tasting but, at the time we schedule the tasting, we hope that they feel really good about the menu that we’ve already put together for them and they’re just coming to the tasting for their final stamp of approval. So they’re actually tasting their wedding menu. We like to schedule the tasting in the same season as their wedding so if they’re planning a year ahead, we can get that in really early and then just circle back a month or two before to talk about their guest count and consider rentals.
We coordinate the rentals through their desired rental company. Since we do it every day, we know how much glassware they need, which linens they want and make sure that, based on their menu, they’re not forgetting anything. We coordinate all the rentals for our couples.
JJ: When I come out and do tastings with people, it’s not going to break my heart if they don’t love the meal. If they want to change it entirely, I work with them to make sure that it’s something that they really love and are looking forward to.
How do you go about creating that menu?
JS: First, I have a conversation about the format that they want it in – buffet vs. seated. This year we’ve seen a ton of interest in stations and small plates. We’re seeing a lot of chef attendants on the floor and engaging with the guests. A lot of our foodie clients love that idea and it’s something in between a really casual buffet and a seated dinner. It serves as a perfect middle ground.
JJ: If a bride wants to offer up a family recipe, that’s something that we do a lot. My job is to make sure that the menus that we’re doing are something that the brides are really excited to come back and eat again after their tasting for their wedding. We also want to make sure that it’s a good representation of the two of them. I love my job – it’s all about creating new items and making sure that people are excited to serve them. I also love helping the client create their own personal experience and what’s unique to them as a couple. Anyone can create a great menu but it might have nothing to do with reflecting the bride and groom.
What sets you apart?
JJ: We are a chef driven company for sure. Innovation, new items and trying to stay fresh are all very important. Our clientele is younger so we really try to focus on keeping it fresh and interesting for them, while still maintaining our clients that have been with us for over 25 years and keeping them comfortable with some of the old favorites. Without getting complacent, we try to stay ahead of the trends and create the trends. If I look for something and I can’t find it on Pinterest then that makes me very, very happy. I try to stay ahead of the curve and be innovative.
JS: Our team, having Jenna, the experience of 32 years in business and just the clientele that we’ve maintained over the years. I think our food is awesome! We are the biggest catering company in Denver with the most outreach. We do our best to represent the couple and if that means including family recipes, we make it happen.
Do you have any advice for the bride & groom?
JS: Definitely make sure you eat! I feel like they are always up and out of their seats socializing and I just want to feed them. And of course to enjoy the moments because there is so much planning that goes into it and then the day goes by so quickly.
JJ: Trust your caterer. So many people stress about the food and flip flop about decisions. I see the happiest brides are the ones who make a decision, then cross it off their list and be happy with their selections.
What inspires you?
JJ: I’m definitely inspired by the seasons. You eat with your eyes before you eat with your mouth. So we need to have really gorgeous food. I’m always thinking about things I can incorporate into a dish or a plate to make it visually stunning. Simple salads with gorgeous dressings and stuff that you want to try. And I like stuff that’s cute. We also kind of move with trends and I think we’re still on comfort food and cute food. If I haven’t seen it before, I’m inspired to make it. I like to tie the menu in with themes.
Epicurean Group is a definitely a force to be reckoned with. See more of all the amazing things that they to offer here!
See you next Wednesday for more musings with Emma & Grace Bridal.