Hello fresh (food)! Epicure @ City Hall’s Chef Ben Swinbourne shares his insider tips for the perfect summer wedding menu

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Summer is nearly here and, of course, that means fabulously fresh summer food! At least, that’s where our thoughts went. Nailing the perfect summer wedding menu is a bit of an art, so we asked Chef Ben Swinbourne from Epicure @ Brisbane City Hall for his insider tips…

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What are the three most important things to keep in mind when planning a menu for a summer wedding?
Using seasonal produce will almost write the menu for you. Keep it simple yet exciting and let the ingredients speak for themselves. When I’m writing a summer menu I obviously lean towards lighter dishes – but not lighter in volume, lighter in composition. I try to stay away from heavy cream-based sauces and heavily reduced stock-based sauces.


Crispy barramundi fillet with cauliflower cream, celery, green tomato and watercress sauce vierge

What are some different serving styles that you think work well for summer weddings?
While the classic three-course dinner is still the most popular style, we are seeing a slight shift to a more casual wedding. Cocktail weddings are a great way for all your guests to be able to mingle and feel more relaxed. It’s also a good opportunity for you and your guests to feast on a wider variety of dishes. Don’t stress about there not being enough food as your event coordinator and chef can advise on choosing the right amount of canapés, and substantial canapés.

What’s the biggest mistake couples can make when planning a menu for a summer wedding?
When couples are choosing their menu, it’s a good idea to take into consideration your guests dietary and/or cultural food requirements. This can help make your evening a seamless event for everyone. If you are choosing an alternate-drop dinner, consider a vegetarian option. Trust in the advice of your event coordinator and the chef.


Chocolate yuzu –rich chocolate mousse, yuzu curd, salted caramel, sunflower sable

What are some go-to flavours or dishes that guests and couples always love at summer weddings?
Summer screams seafood. Whether it be in the form of a fresh sashimi-grade tuna tartare or simply grilled prawns, any decent venue will have seafood options available. Why not arrange for an oyster and champagne bar on arrival?

What are some flavours or dishes that you’re excited to work with this summer?
There are a few really exciting Australian-made Japanese products being produced. We are using an awesome freeze dried red miso powder to tie in with our spanner crab and pressed sushi rice salad. The dish is so fresh and perfect for summer.

Looking for a foodie venue with amazing fare? Check out Epicure @ Brisbane City Hall to get inspired and our local wedding directory for more!