Rachel Khoo On Getting Creative With Your Wedding Menu

Written by Rachel Khoo

Rachel Khoo is a British cook, broadcaster and writer with her own food television cooking series, and regarded as an all round food expert.

bridebook.co.uk collage of rachel khoo's food
Photos by David Loftus, Laura Edwards and Keiko Oikawa

The Bridebook team definitely had a fan girl moment (or two!) when we heard the inspiring Rachel Khoo would share with us her wedding food tips. The brains behind the online lifestyle magazine Khoollect and multiple critically acclaimed cookbooks including The Little Paris Kitchen, Rachel is a tour de force in the foodie world to be reckoned with.

Pair that with on trend culture and style tips to the plenty and we officially have a major girl crush. Read on to get some awesome tips on how to get creative with your wedding breakfast that will make even the most traditional bride rethink her menu…

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bridebook.co.uk-rachel khoo portrait
By Lara Messer

With so many delicious canapé options and ideas out there, what are your recommendations to couples in deciding what they serve on their wedding day?

My philosophy on catering is ‘always keep things simple’ and stay true to your own ideas (rather than trying to please each individual guest). You’ll never manage to please everyone’s palates and tastes, but if you choose a broad selection of dishes or options to pick from then no-one will go hungry.

I also think it’s super important to stay in tune with your surroundings and pick food to suit your overall theme. For example, if you’re getting married in Italy, then plan a rustic family-style dinner at a long table, with Italian fare to match.

If you want to keep things casual, then why not go for a barbecue in the backyard – that way, you don’t even have to think about canapes. It’ll just be salads, delicious barbecued meats, and fresh fruit popsicles.

bridebook.co.uk pork belly dish by rachel khoo
By David Loftus
  • Always bare in mind what’s in season. Using seasonal produce will make it easy to source ingredients, keep the price down, and also make for a better tasting end result.
  • Simple is best. With any kind of entertaining I always say focus on getting the best produce possible and it’ll do the work for you.
bridebook.co.uk lentil salad by rachel khoo
By David Loftus
  • Pick foods that represent you and your husband. You don’t have to be fancy for the sake of it. This will make the menu more personal. I love the fact that Kate Winslet did bangers and mash at her wedding.
  • Remember: the food isn’t the most important part of the wedding, you and your guests are. So if everything doesn’t go your way, don’t stress – your guests honestly don’t care too much. They’re there to celebrate your special day and not to get a slap up meal.
bridebook.co.uk chicken roast dinner by rachel khoo
By David Loftus

What are some ways couples can get creative with their wedding day food to avoid the traditional and sometimes boring fillet and salmon dishes?

Some people love those boring fillet and salmon dishes, but I think most are far more adventurous in their eating these days and see weddings as an opportunity to sample new and exciting dishes.

Find a really great catering company, or venue with a brilliant kitchen, and allow them to be creative on your behalf (with your own input of course). Seek out your own inspiration – via food magazines, Pinterest, blogs, and your own heritage and traditions – and bring your ideas to the table. Make sure you incorporate local ingredients in your menu.

It’ll make your wedding unique rather than following a cookie cutter formula. You could use a local product for your wedding favours (e.g. a locally made candy), or serve fish caught by the local fisherman.

bridebook.co.uk egg dish with tomatoes by rachel khoo
By David Loftus

With your patisserie expertise, what are some good ideas for wedding cake alternatives that are perfect for a wedding celebration but still practically feasible?

Sometimes I think brides get a little carried away with their wedding cake, when infact, it’s often the most high-stress but often overlooked part of the wedding. So many times I’ve seen the dance floor full of guests, with a sad lonely cake left in the corner with barely a bite out of it.

My suggestion is to keep your cake simple and low-stress OR opt for smaller, delicate hand-held sweet items instead.

bridebook.co.uk strawberry sponge and cheesecake by rachel khoo
By Lara Messer

Here’s some nice alternatives that you and your friends can either make yourself, or can easily be assembled by your caterers:

  • Cream puffs or filled choux pastries (and no, you don’t need to stick these together with sugar syrup to create an elaborate croquembousch).
  • Mini cakes or cupcakes.
  • A tower of cheese (explained more below)
  • A pile of macarons (these keep for ages if stored correctly) A tiered cheesecake, or small cheesecakes.
  • A beautiful pyramid or pile of fresh fruit.
bridebook.co.uk tied ice cream sandwiches by rachel khoo
By Keiko Oikawa

What are some tips you can give to a bride who wants to make her own wedding cake?

  • Plan the flavour and style of cake you want to make well ahead of the big day.
  • Practice making the cake once or twice before you commit to making the ‘wedding’ cake. This also gives you the opportunity to perfect your decorating and icing.
  • Find a recipe that freezes really well – that way, you can bake it days or a couple of weeks ahead of the event, then simply thaw and decorate just before the big day.
  • If you’re not so hot on the decorating side of things, then enlist a friend to help. OR just bake the cake and pay a talented cake decorator to do the rest. You could also keep it naked and dress it up with flowers from your bouquet. A home-made victoria sponge with jam and cream can be just as stunning as a fondant covered traditional cake…and probably tastes better.
bridebook.co.uk pistachio and pomegranate cake by rachel khoo
By David Loftus
  • Choose flavours and textures that have universal appeal. Wedding guests range in ages and tastes, so it’s important to offer flavours that don’t just suit you.
  • Make sure your cake has a sturdy crumb to it and will stay fresh for at least a couple of days. There’s no point making something like a sponge cake that’s best eaten within hours of baking, or a crumbly number that will fall apart in your guests’ hands.

What is the most creative way you have seen food incorporated into or served at a wedding or event?

I’m a huge fan of cheese, so always get excited when I see a simple wedding cake that involve a few large rounds of the stuff piled on top of each other.

bridebook.co.uk cheese tower with white flowers
By The Cheese Shed

Want even more trendy inspo? Be sure to check out Rachel’s online lifestyle magazine Khoollect for everything from city tips, to produce growing guides, to irresistible recipes for the modern gal. 

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