|How should a couple prepare for the first meeting with you?
Mahani: They should know the guest count, and whether they prefer a buffet or plated sit-down. Also, understand your budget. And trust the expertise of the chef and the catering team.
Shah: Meeting with a caterer is not a trivial task and so preparation is very important. Establishing a good relation from the start by showing the courtesy to make an appointment goes a long way – this way the caterer can allocate a sufficient amount of time to accommodate you. Before coming in for the meeting, having a concept for the menu and new ideas that you may want to have incorporated allows us, the caterer, to envision and develop a remarkable culinary experience for your special day.
How do you work with clients to ensure their vision for the culinary experience at their wedding comes to life?
Mahani: We show pictures of past wedding receptions, and participate in the tasting. We also review the overall timeline for the evening including the champagne toast, first dance, announcements, etc., to ensure the proper flow of the dinner so that the food quality is not compromised.
Shah: We take our work seriously here at Chowpatty Catering. Bringing the client’s vision to life requires more than just a cookie cutter package deal. We make an effort to get to know our clients, asking them about how they met, their favorite foods, and how they imagine that the food will be served on the day of the event. We also give them concepts and ideas to build off of. With over 25 years of experience, we’ve mastered constructing exactly what our clients are looking for.
What would be your favorite three items on your dream menu?
Mahani: My must-haves would be Chicken Lababdar; Tandoori Sea Bass with Spicy Garbanzo, Bermuda Onion Ring and Fresh Pomegranate; and Palak Khumb Paneer.
Shah: Our favorite three items are not only crowd favorites, but recreations of classical dishes changing the way you eat Indian dishes. Number one is the Paneer Makhani Ravioli – a fusion of Italian and Punjabi dish – each bite savors the spices of the gravy contrasted with the tenderness of the ravioli. Number two is the Papdi Lot Pops. It’s your classical Papdi Lot served in a bite sized portion on stick with a side of dipping oil. Number three is The Pani Poori Bar – various flavors of Pani from Guava to Mango to Classic with India’s favorite snack.
About the Author
Rina Shah is the CEO and founder of The Arpan Group, a boutique ad agency and public relations firm that specializes in capturing untouched ethnic markets.
From press releases and media kits to marketing materials and by-line articles, The Arpan Group customizes solutions based on the client’s needs.
For more information, visit www.thearpangroup.com or call (703) 651-6670.
|Neeraj Mahani, Executive Chef
Loews Don CeSar Hotel
3400 Gulf Boulevard, St. Pete Beach, FL 33706
|Neil Shah, Vice President/Executive Sales Director
1351 Oak Tree Road, Iselin, NJ 08830