March 14, 2011

Gastro-Groom: another role for guys who kill it at the tasting

We've paid tribute to the e-Grooms and the MC Grooms out there ... but there's a large demographic of men that we haven't accounted for. I'm talking about those grooms who can't get out of the kitchen: men who cook, men who eat, even those men who are particular about the ingredients on their pizza. Men who dine, men who drink wine, and men who mix Coke and Orange Fanta at the soda dispenser.

Let us now honor those men who will listen to their stomach before they'll listen to their heart; the guys who think their taste palate should decide the color palette. Without further ado:

The Gastro-Groom

The ceremony wasn't THAT long, Paul.

One would think that the Gastro-Groom wouldn't have much to contribute to a wedding ... but one would be wrong. Read on.

  • Brunch. Gastro-Grooms are saddled with the gruesome task of sitting down with their Best Man and coming up with a "man cave"-like hang out for the morning of the wedding. It could be a restaurant; it could be a bar; it could be a driving range with an eighteenth hole diner. Whatever it is, it's the one aspect of the wedding that your bride has ZERO say in. So soak it up, Groom. This feeling won't last long.
  • Premium Selections. Anyone can handpick a couple liquors and beers and call it a bar ... but only a Gastro-Groom can do it with class. Do some serious research to make this task worthwhile. Experiment with cocktails. Select an assortment of beers to please different palates (an amber, a pilsner, a stout, a seasonal, a "lite," etc.). And chat with bartender buddies about quantities; most bartenders have a good sense of what people drink most often and how much the average person will consume in 4 hours. They'll also give you tips on what liquors need to and need not be premium.

We covered the spectrum with bottles of red and white on the table, sangria on passing trays, and Pacifico, Beck's, New Castle, Heineken Light & Brooklyn Lager at the bar. Photograph by Picotte Photography.

  • King of the Tasting. Gastro-Grooms don't just show up at tastings; they own them. Gastros dress up for the occasion, ask the right questions and rate the food on a rather complex Gastro-scale, which comes in handy when you can't remember which caterer had those sweet ass sweet potato fries.
  • Feeding the Jet Lagged. Not all hotels offer decent room service, and you don't want guests who've flown halfway across the country to have to resort to the $18 bag of M&Ms in the mini bar. Source out some awesome sweets (baked goods make a strong first impression), as well as some healthier options to re-energize your weary travelers, and let that be your contribution to the hotel welcome baskets.
  • Feeding the Bride. Wedding week is chaotic. It's 11AM one minute and 4PM the next. Assuming you're not as bogged down as your bride, be a good (pre)husband and make sure she's eating. If you're staying at a hotel, find a nearby deli or bistro and grab a couple to-go menus for the room.
  • The Smaller Meal. Gastro-Grooms don't do rehearsal dinners at the downtown banquet hall, unless that banquet hall is linked to a stellar, five-star restaurant. These grooms spend months scouting the perfect gastropub to match the occasion, conduct taste tests with the finalists and work with the special events manager to craft the ideal menu for a large group of people who have nothing in common (i.e. opinions on food).

Photograph by Picotte Photography
  • The Bigger Meal. Why would a Groom want to man up and take the reigns on the reception catering? Three reasons: (1) Getting to share that cocktail hour "concession stand" theme that's been brewing for a while. (2) The fact that the meal is one of the most memorable things about a wedding. If you score on food, you score major points across the board. (3) Making sure that the food pairs well with the beers you've selected. Yes, you know precisely where your priorities are.
  • Cutting the [Groom] Cake. Rather than doing a groom's cake (unless you're really attached to it, in which case -- go to it!), incorporate your or your bride's favorite final course into the evening's festivities. If you think you've got it in you to design an epic dessert bar, start sketching out ideas. Personally, I'd love to see mini-Wendy's Chocolate Frosties on passing trays with french fries to dip. If a Groom could make that happen, he would be tops in my book. Just putting it out there.

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