Interview with Epic Chef Beth Domi

Summer is fast approaching, which means the busy wedding season is about to start. But what is trending? What should we be seeing for summer and autumn weddings in 2024? We interviewed Epic’s Chef Director, Beth Domi, to get you all the information from the heart of Epic.

Q: Chef Beth, thank you for joining us today! Let’s dive right in. What are the top food trends we expect to see at summer weddings in 2024?

Chef Beth: It’s my pleasure! For summer weddings, we’re all about embracing the abundance of seasonal produce and creating menus that burst with freshness, colour and flavour. One trend that’s taking off is the inclusion of plant-based and sustainable options. You don’t have to go completely plant-based, but having the option of adding more vegetable-based dishes is something we are seeing more of each year. Colourful fresh dishes that go beyond typical salads. Featuring locally sourced veggies, refreshing fruit-infused cocktails, and innovative plant-based canap├ęs that even the most devoted carnivores will adore.

Another trend taking the wedding world by storm is the rise of interactive food stations and immersive dining experiences. Couples are increasingly looking for ways to engage their guests and create memorable moments, and what better way to do so than through food? For example, a build-your-own taco station, where guests can customise their tacos with fresh and flavorful toppings, from zesty salsa to creamy guacamole to fiery hot sauces. Oh, and let’s not forget wood-fired pizzas. These are a must-have for summer weddings as well.

Q: Sounds delicious! Are there any specific ingredients or dishes you anticipate stealing the show this summer?

Chef Beth: Absolutely! With the warmer weather, lighter fare is always a hit. Look out for dishes highlighting vibrant herbs like mint and basil and juicy fruits like strawberries, raspberries, and peaches. We also see a rise in international flavours, with dishes inspired by cuisines from around the world, such as Middle Eastern mezze platters and Asian-inspired street food stations.

We’re also seeing a resurgence of interest in lesser-known seasonal gems like courgette flowers and heritage varieties of carrots and beetroots. These ingredients add a pop of colour to the plate and offer unique flavours and textures.

Q: Moving on to autumn weddings, what do you foresee gracing the tables as the leaves start to change?

Chef Beth: Autumn weddings offer an excellent opportunity to embrace the rich, comforting flavours of the season. We’re seeing a resurgence of classic British dishes with a modern twist, such as elevated takes on traditional roasts featuring locally sourced meats and hearty root vegetables. Warm, comforting soups and even pies are also making a comeback, perfect for cosying up on crisp autumn evenings.

One technique that I love to incorporate into autumn dishes is the art of slow cooking. Whether it’s braising, roasting, or simmering, slow cooking allows us to coax out the deep, complex flavours of seasonal ingredients, resulting in both comforting and indulgent dishes.

Q: That all sounds incredibly inviting! Are there any specific ingredients or flavours you believe will be particularly popular for autumn weddings?

Chef Beth: Autumn is all about indulging in the cosy, comforting flavours we crave as the weather starts to cool down. Dishes featuring earthy mushrooms, sweet and nutty squashes, and fragrant spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves are in for the autumnal season. Rich desserts like sticky toffee, velvety chocolate cake and spiced fruit crumbles will surely be a hit. Or tempt their taste buds with a slice of dark chocolate and orange tart, with layers of rich ganache and tangy citrus curd nestled within a crisp pastry shell.

Q: Lastly, are there any final tips for couples planning their summer or autumn weddings when selecting the perfect menu?

Chef Beth: My biggest piece of advice would be to embrace the season and celebrate the incredible diversity of British produce available throughout the year. Work closely with your caterer to create a menu that reflects your tastes and preferences while incorporating seasonal ingredients to ensure maximum freshness and flavour. Most importantly, remember to have fun with it! Your wedding day is a celebration, so let your menu reflect the joy and excitement of the occasion.