Meet Darren. I met him last week. Prior to our meeting, it hadn’t occurred to me just what an important role Darren will be playing on The Big Day. But I now realise that, with the obvious exception of H2B, the success of our wedding* probably depends more upon Darren’s presence than any other man (no pressure then Darren).
You see Darren is our chef for the day and without his culinary skills, there will be a ravenous mass somewhere deep in the heart of Warwickshire on 6 October.
When we booked our wedding breakfast at Compton Verney last summer, I remember feeling a flicker of disappointment at being told that the caterer, Amadeus, came with the package. No chance to bespoogle! And I erroneously assumed that because Amadeus is such a huge outfit, which had just scooped the Olympics catering contract, it wouldn’t be responsive to the culinary quirks of a somewhat smaller event later in 2012. I feared it would be too big, too bureaucratic, too corporate, to be able to offer any flexibility with regard to the set menus with which we had been provided.
But Mrs Moore-to-be couldn’t have been more wrong in her assumption about working with these Big Boys of catering world. For Darren the Chef, Sharon Lawrence, the Wedding and Event Co-ordinator and Paul Fleetwood, the Operations Manager, have demonstrated that ‘A’ listers can be remarkably responsive to the needs of even their most bijoux customers. We haven’t just been able to amend the Amadeus standard fare; we’ve been supported in creating a menu which is completely tailored to our tastes and preferences: carrot and clementine soup (using the very same recipe that I followed when I cooked for H2B for the very first time), followed by posh bangers (Regency sausages which comprise pork, apple and leek) accompanied by cheesy mash with roasted root vegetables and a red onion jus (or mushroom risotto for the vegetarians) and a grand dessert finale of sticky toffee pudding and vanilla pod ice-cream, drizzled with butterscotch sauce. Yum!
And if I was impressed with Amadeus at agreeing to this personalised menu, I was bowled over by the menu-tasting session that was subsequently organised for us at the NEC. I had imagined being presented with a scaled-down version comprising tiny samples. Far from it. It was a full-scale meal cooked by Darren, with Sharon making copious notes on every aspect. From the taste and texture of each dish to the shape of the plates and arrangement of the food thereon (ice cream globe balanced atop the individual sticky toffee pud or sitting snuggly beside it?), no element escaped scrutiny. Such attention to detail was staggering – even to Mrs Moore-to-be who is, you’ll be surprised to learn, a tiny bit exacting about such matters.
So I take my hat off to Darren, Sharon and Paul – Amadeus, you rock!
* Please note, ‘wedding day’ not ‘marriage’.