Catering to You

Mexican Grilled Cheese. Photo by Matt Lien Photography

Mexican Grilled Cheese. Photo by Matt Lien Photography

When it comes to wedding food, a lot of guests have pretty low expectations. That’s because we’ve all had our fill of ho-hum chicken dinners with potatoes and green beans. (I don’t care if you add sliced almonds.) The good news is that today’s couples are raising the culinary bar and putting their focus (and money) on wedding fare. With everything from sangria-inspired gelées and food truck favorites to mac and cheese bars and s’mores stations, the options are endless. And keep in mind: the Twin Cities top talents are always trying to outdo themselves.

One of the newest catering companies on the scene comes from the creators of the critically acclaimed and award-winning Saffron Restaurant in the North Loop. Brothers Saed and Chef Sameh Wadi, who are also behind the World Street Kitchen food truck and WSK restaurant, are celebrated for bringing street style food from around the globe to Minneapolis. Adding to an already impressive resume, Sameh was the first Minnesotan to compete on Iron Chef America a few years back.

Into the Garden Station. Photo by Matt Lien Photography

Into the Garden Station. Photo by Matt Lien Photography

“I thought it was a prank when my brother called to tell me about Iron Chef. I was like a kid in candy store because I was always such a fan of the show,” says Sameh.

He didn’t win the title, but his passion for cooking helped launch his latest endeavor: W&W Catering. The dream team of sorts also includes big brother Saed, who lends his considerable charms as host and hailed local event and design planner, Geri Wolf, who brings her own unique philosophy to the table.

“It (catering) is really the marriage of food design and service. Food should be part of the entertainment and décor. With W&W we asked ourselves, ‘What can we offer that isn’t already being offered around here?’” Wolf says.

YumYum Rice Bowl Station. Photo by Matt Lien Photography

YumYum Rice Bowl Station. Photo by Matt Lien Photography

To compete in the dynamic and crowded food arena, W&W dazzles with signature dishes. Menus range from burritos all the way up to a stewed salmon with tomatoes and black olives. Everything is made from scratch. The company offers full-service catering, boxed meals, and drop-off service, as well as the World Street Kitchen food truck.

“Based on talking with several of our gay couples who have been clients, the quality of food is really important and they love the design element. Our ability to customize is also a big part of the conversation for gay weddings,” Wolf adds.

Coastal Station. Photo by Matt Lien Photography

Coastal Station. Photo by Matt Lien Photography

Tips to Consider Before Saying ‘I Do’ to a Caterer

In order to customize your menu and find the right fare for your wedding or rehearsal dinner, it’s important to ask a lot of questions and establish a budget. Geri Wolf serves up some helpful tips:

  • Share your budget range and discuss your priorities. What tops the list? Is it the style of service, quality of food, or presentation?
  • When comparing catering companies, check to see what is included in each estimate. Are servers and bartenders provided? What about China, flatware, and glassware?
  • Ask your caterer to visit your venue beforehand to determine any potential challenges.
  • Share décor ideas so it will be a cohesive wedding experience.
  • To save money, consider setting up an hors d’oeuvres buffet rather than butler passing. It lowers labor costs and embellishment platters offer a lot of bang for your buck.
  • Always have a plan “B” for outdoor weddings. If you don’t, it’s guaranteed to rain buckets.
  • What’s Saed’s advice to people when they hire a caterer? “You know, they have to believe in the people they hire; can they do the job that needs to be done? It’s not really about the price or how good looking we are, it’s actually about what can we do for them from the first meeting to the reception.”

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