Thank you to Kristin Andrews at District Weddings for featuring Root & Stem Catering
Root and Stem Catering loves foodies. If you want nothing more than a delicious, seasonal, local meal for your affair, look no further than the catering company started by a couple of foodies themselves. Craig Currie of Root and Stem tells us about his favorite dishes and his food philosophy:
How did Root and Stem Catering get it’s start, and What is your food philosophy?
Root & Stem opened in January of 2011 when Zac Culbertson & I decided to really combine our talents and years of experience. Root & Stem’s philosophy surrounds great, seasonal Mid Atlantic foods. We are food forward, but work completely with each & every client to get them the event that they are looking for and dreaming of. We are also very conscious of our environment and are certified green company that sources all products from responsible vendors only. We really feel catered food gets a bad rap for being “rubbery chicken” or bland & tasteless. We are both foodies at heart and don’t want any couple to sacrifice flavor at their wedding unnecessarily.
About how far in advance do you recommend couples start planning a menu?
The actual menu planning, I don’t like to put any pressure on the clients to get that done. We are a local, seasonal catering company so for us to push our clients in Winter to make selections for late August it might not be ideal for them. Of course, we do recommend advance planning for choosing a location, caterer and the major details, but the menu can be done at the clients discretion. Each couple is different and we respect that and will work to what they want. I remember a client that we did a 5 course menu where guests could pick a craft beer pairing or wine pairing. This type of menu needs some time to plan in advance. But not every wedding is or needs to be that, so there is no hard fast rule in my book. Each bride I have dealt with is juggling so many other things, not just in their wedding, but in their lives that I try not to stress them out with making menu decisions that far in advance. On the other hand, I would make sure we have a final menu planned at least a month out.
What is your favorite entree produced by Root and Stem?
This changes often, but since we served it New Year’s Eve at an event it’s fresh in my mind. Butter Poached Maine Lobster served on Sweet Potato, Leek & Swiss Chard Bread Pudding with Vanilla Buerre Blanc.
We break the lobster down and separate the tail and claw meat. We sous vide them separately because the claw meat needs a longer cooking time at a higher temperature for best results. Cooking them sous vide in butter allows for a perfectly cooked lobster dish and we serve it over a rich, savory bread pudding with fall & winter flavor. The leeks, sweet potatoes, swiss chard, cream and butter are all local and organic. The brioche is made in house, also with organic ingredients. The sauce brings out the lobster & sweet potato flavors and the whole dish is finished with some mâche leaves.
What is your favorite winter seasonal food?
Winter is always a time for warming comfort dishes. Slow braised meats like short ribs or pork shoulder are made for this time of year. My favorite dish we do in the Winter now is a Duck Cassoulet. We use a lot of different duck for this, we use an all-natural smoked duck bacon, organic duck sausage, duck leg confit and we also crisp up some duck skins for cracklings. The duck is slowly simmered with cranberry bean, gigante beans, onions, leeks, carrots, turnips, herbs and red wine for hours. Then we top it with a golden brown puff pastry dome and some of those duck skin cracklings. It is a dish that is comforting, but really refined as well.