A few years ago, Executive Chef and Owner-Operator Patrick Combs had a vision, inspired by an idea from his wife and business partner, General Manager Sarah Combs. He wanted to create a multi-course meal, with each course reflecting a different color of the rainbow.
We like to think that their vision was just waiting to come to life once the right management team was in place at Mountain Laurel Catering and Events. So after a very busy and very successful 2021 wedding season, Chef Pat said that he was ready to make that vision come to life. When we had our preliminary planning meeting and he described his idea; the room full of event planners, professional chefs, and wedding industry creatives just burst to life.
Don't get us wrong, we absolutely love creating beautiful wedding meals; but every now and then we need to let our chefs and decorators have a chance to flex their talents and showcase their creativity. For the team at MLC; the Rainbow Dinner was an imaginative venture to break up the monotony of the wedding season. And we got to treat some of our favorite vendors and relatives to a magical night of mono-colored courses and culinary creativity.
The A Team
Throughout the planning and logistics stages of the Rainbow Dinner, we worked very closely with more than a few different friendors to make the Rainbow Dinner come to life.
The Venue and Photogs
We asked our friend Stephanie Fletcher at Philter Photography if we could utilize her event space, aptly called “Source the Space.” As a photography-centered venue with a stark white aesthetic, this was the perfect place to execute our event. Stephanie, along with Emil Rodriguez-Powell of Slice of Lime Photography, and Landon Wise from Landon Wise Photography; created an incredible squad of photographers ready to shoot every aspect of the presentation and execution- from the kitchen to the table.
Lounge and Bar Rentals
Courtney and Drew Cerjanic from Sapphire Roads Weddings didn't just bring an incredible bar, lounge, fireplace, and more. They were also guests at the dinner!
Acrylic Chairs and White Farmhouse Tables
Country Creek Farmhouse Tables based in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania; provided our custom painted white farmhouse tables, and these incredible acrylic chairs!
For flower arrangements and floral design, we called out friend Kelly Bardon, with A Flower Party. She created our incredible hanging centerpiece, the amazing rainbow colored couch display, and all of the other floral and table arrangements!
The Other Details
All of our multicolored linen napkins were kindly provided by our linen partner- Premier Linens in Marietta. And Tents and Events in Annville filled in our other needs like glassware and some table top items!
Big thank you to Abby Kessler for the beautifully hand written menu canvases!
The Decor Vision
Behind the decor and aesthetic vision was our in-house designing extraordinaire and chaos coordinator, Front of House Manager Erinn Rowe.
Her Rainbow tablescape ran the length of the 25 person table and featured nature's purest rainbow! At one end of the table was a wall that displayed the menu, just as fine art would be displayed in an art gallery. The other end featured a white fireplace with large floral piece, and the other side of the wall was our full color bar; featuring a rainbow of flavored vodkas from Dead Lightning Distillery.
“I imagined this dinner as a black and white movie, or a painter's canvas, a blank slate… and just as the red ruby shoes’ scarlet color pops in the Wizard of Oz, I chose designs that would accentuate the creativity of Chef Pat’s idea and the flow of Source the Space, lighting up the white room with a flood of different colors and foods,” Erinn Rowe, MLC Front of House Manager.
Every two courses was paired with a wine picked out by GM and amateur sommelier Sarah Combs. She and Chef Pat also introduced every course and explained what was coming next.
It's a little harder than you think; to create a menu based around the rainbow. When Chef Pat started to write the menu he flew through the first five courses. “The menu was easy to write until I got to blue, indigo and violet… then I took a break from the menu until a few months later when Sarah picked a date for the event, and her deadline got me moving again.”
“It was a challenge for me in the fact that we kind of put the horse before the cart on this one, or as I like to say, we wrote the title of the book first and I had to fill in the rest of the pages. We had the idea for the title of the dinner and that was all, I had to work from scratch creating a menu from a theme,” said Chef Pat. “It took a lot of work, but once I had the finished menu in front of me I knew it was going to be a hit! With the collaboration of the Front of House staff and their eye for decor and atmospheric visual appeal I could not wait to get going!”
Amuse Bouche - Red
The dinner began with a red amuse bouche. We infused thyme with watermelon and presented it with a pink-peppercorn chevre mousse and a strawberry tuile; which is a small wafer that we placed sticking out of the top of the watermelon, like a sail on a sailboat!
First Course - Orange
Peaches, braised it with amaretto and maple were the star of this course. Braising is when you heat a meat or vegetable (or a fruit!) very slowly with oil and moisture in a tightly sealed container; in this instance, we vacuum sealed our peaches with the amaretto and maple braising liquid. We then paired this with an acorn squash puree and a nasturtium flower jam. Nasturtium flowers are small, decorative flowers with bold blooms and edible leaves! Then to finish off the dish, we added a sweet potato gaufrette, which is a type of crisply fried potato wafer in the shape of a waffle.
Second Course - Yellow
The yellow course was the perfect opportunity to bring in a diver sea scallop! A diver scallop is a scallop that is hand harvested from the bottom of the ocean by a professional diver… these aren't your mamas farm raised scallops! These scallops were paired with a saffron-corn puree and a baby golden beet. To bring it all together, our chefs smoked egg yolk and added a grapefruit-saffron gastrique!
Did you know...
Saffron is a spice derived from the “saffron crocus” and is used in many dishes as a coloring agent. It really brought home the golden-yellow hue of this dish!!
Third Course - Green
The “Not a Salad” course. Instead of giving in to the obvious choice of a leafy green salad, Chef Pat went with sous vide stalks of asparagus and tarragon-butter English peas with scallion oil.
Did you know...
Sous vide is a type of cooking also known as “low temperature, long time” cooking. The asparagus is vacuum sealed in plastic bags with butter and herbs and is cooked submerged in carefully heated water. Under pressure and in the heated water, the asparagus is cooked at a very specific and closely maintained temperature for longer than it normally would be so it becomes infused with the butter and herbs and cooked to perfection while retaining moisture and taste.
Fourth Course - Blue
The fourth course was our entree course; displayed on a very cool, curved blue plate. For this course we served a blue cheese butter poached halibut with a blueberry ginger creme.
Did you know...
To poach a fish, you submerge the fish in the sauce of your choice and heat it at a low, steady temperature. Poaching is used to cook more delicate proteins, such as chicken, eggs and of course, fish.
Fifth Course - Indigo
Following our “blue” course, we then moved onto our indigo! For this, we served purple basil pesto, port wine derby cheese, heirloom tomatoes, and cherry wood smoked extra virgin olive oil. Chef Pat smoked the oil on-site and personally poured the oil table side onto each of the dishes.
Did you know....
Port wine derby cheese is cheese marbled with a port wine infusion, and that created the purpley indigo hue of the cheese.
Sixth Course - Purple
Ah dessert... cue the elderberry-white chocolate mousse with lavender sugar crystalized concord grapes and brown butter financier cake. Financier cake is a small almond cake flavored with brown butter. We served this course right on an artist's pallet to really bring home the artistic feel of the dinner and underline the creative aspect of the whole event.
On to the Next One!
This event truly emphasized the creativity and teamwork that drives Mountain Laurel Catering and Events, and we could never have pulled it off without such a solid team with great leaders at the helm! Chef Jordan, our chef de cuisine, and Chef Pat and their team cooked all of the food to perfection. Erinn and her team delivered a flawless performance when executing the service side of the event.
Here at MLC we love to escape the ordinary and bring the extraordinary to you and your family in any way that we can! We work hard to flex our creative muscles and show off a bit any opportunity we have! Keep your eye out for our next creative venture!!