If you missed Catering in Lake Tahoe Part I please review here. Thank you!
After we got everything out of the Jeep, we finally got a little sleep in time to wake up and make it to the property for the walk through. During a walk through, you are able to talk with the staff and see where the set-up, plating and other equipment and cooking will have to be done on the day of the wedding. The wedding took place at the Valhalla at Lake Tahoe on the Tallac Historic Site.The ceremony was to take place on the beautiful shore of the southwest side of the lake and preceding events in the grand hall, just adjacent to the lake. We walked through the property and I took notes about the width of the space, table space, counters and refrigeration that we would need. We were told that we could plate outside and had a couple of chats about how the front of the house and the back would work together to get things out the best we could. The space was very small, so to the eye it looked as if it would be a little challenging, but we knew we would maneuver past the obstacles.
Once we finished the walk through, we stopped at a couple of stores and had lunch at Bert’s Café which was this awesome little diner on highway 50. I had a pastrami sandwich with potato salad, Brandon had eggs Benedict and we shared some biscuits and gravy. All the food was really good and the service was pleasant and attentive. We talked about the game plan, a bit about the food and menu, and what we’d be doing and completing the rest of the day.
After a nice double shot of espresso, we worked the rest of the evening prepping until the verge of insanity: peeling and slicing cases of potatoes and pears, blanching asparagus and purple carrots, mincing and dicing a plethora of veggies and fruits to accompany the immense amount of intricate details, so easily overlooked when people think of eating in general. But when two people are responsible for the ups and downs of the whole meal, those details are the first thing on anyone’s mind. I cooked for about 11 hours straight, which is not normal for me anymore, so indeed it took a bit out of me. Brandon steamed ahead hitting about 14 hours, including stints with high altitude brownie baking, which included a couple of batching to the round bin; roasting chicken; 5- Hour Energy hallucinations in the wee hours of the morning; and struggling with my potato and pear gratins, which seemed to have to cook for more than five hours—crazy—to be completely done without burning or scorching the cheese and cream. The oven was our worst enemy of the trip.
This is the menu we accomplished:
Cotswold cheese cheddar and chive cheese, blueberry vanilla goat cheese, goat Gouda, triple cream brie, manchego, dried bing cherries, rosemary salted candied walnuts, calabrese salami and red grapes
Bread basket and crackers
Three Passed Appetizers
Diced Mango, roasted corn, and watermelon with watermelon vinaigrette served in Endive leaf
Roasted Balsamic Chicken Greek salad with goat cheese and roasted pepper atop hot house cucumber slice with scallion
Sliced Herb encrusted fillet Mignon atop an open faced buttermilk biscuit, whole grain Dijon mustard, watercress and caramelized shallots
Plated Salad Course
Mixed green salad in butter lettuce cup with honey mustard vinaigrette, heirloom tomatoes, mandarin oranges, avocado and candied walnuts
Plated Entrée Choice of One
Grilled Alaskan Halibut served with pear and potato gratin, roasted asparagus and purple carrots with heirloom yellow cherry tomato, basil and white wine sauce
Roasted Chicken Breast stuffed with Calabasitas (Spanish style squash and cheese preparation) served atop pear and potato gratin, roasted asparagus and purple carrots with heirloom yellow cherry tomato, basil and white wine sauce
Roasted Poblano Pepper stuffed with Calabasitas (Spanish style squash and cheese preparation) served atop pear and potato gratin, roasted asparagus and purple carrots with heirloom yellow cherry tomato, basil and white wine sauce
Rocky Road Brownie Bites
Mini Coffee and Mint Chip Ice Cream Cones
Our day of executions started with the preparation of the final touches. We started at about 9:00 a.m. getting everything packed, finished prepping offsite and making the final adjustments, before we moved onsite. I candied walnuts and finished popping brownies from the tins and pressing and poking potato gratins for their final warming and cooking through, while Brandon took 75 8-ounce portions of halibut to grill. We cleaned up, situated and packed coolers and hot boxes, then packed the car to make it to our onsite cooking adventure around 1:00 p.m.
When we got on site we unloaded the car with the expectation of using outdoor space for plating and final touches, but as soon as I started to prep out there, a swarm of bees started buzzing around my prep station. Lucky for us, we had a side room that was not mentioned during the walk through, but we were able to plate and finish in that room—a godsend. The convection oven was still outside for our heating of the main courses. Two other people joined us to help do last minute touches and plating. I finished making sauces, making the cheese board, organizing elements of each course, tasted and plated, while Brandon overlooked the other two helpers and started heating the elements for the main course. We worked as a cohesive team, checking and rechecking each other with the least amount of bother the two of us could manage with one another, which can be a difficult task for the two of us at times. Overall, I think we had one of the best catering experiences I’ve ever worked. Kudos Bistecca!
Anyway, we moved from cheese to apps, got everything ready for entrees, worked and plated entrees, then cleaned up between and went to desserts. It all flowed pretty well with barely a hiccup. I love service for catering; it’s a natural high and a wonderful feeling of seeing everything come together. At the end of the night we packed the rest of our things, chatted about what we’d do differently and what we could do better next time, then made it back to where we were staying by 11:30 p.m. The next afternoon, we made the long trip back and it seemed like we had just arrived in Tahoe. The whole trip was such a great and satisfying experience—I’d definitely do it all over again.
As you can see I’m missing some pictures but cooking takes precedence over photographing when it comes to something like this. I hope you enjoyed this journey with us. If you have any catering needs or questions please feel free to contact me at Unrivaledkitch@gmail.com.