Grill power

Certainly Cinnamon caterer Scott Colwell takes the guesswork out of grilling so you can get the perfect wedding day char without going down in flames.

1. Why go with a BBQ-style meal?
It’s a great way to ensure your meals are hot and cooked as fresh as possible. You can incorporate it in most plated dinners, buffets and stations. One of the most difficult jobs of a caterer is ensuring quality food that doesn’t taste like it has been sitting in a food warmer for hours and the grill more than helps. It becomes the focal point of the meal. Nothing is more exciting than seeing flames dance over fresh seafood or the aroma of fig marinates and sauces.

2. What are a few must-have BBQ items?

The great thing about using fire to cook is that you are only limited by
your imagination. Last year we had a client who wanted traditional cooked
smoked salmon. We built our own hardwood board and naturally smoked them on site over a backyard fire and served it along with fresh made mango chutney. Likewise, we did a wedding on the South Shore where they wanted thick grilled local halibut. We grilled it over hardwood charcoal with a simple lemon and olive oil drizzle and it turned out amazing.

3. What are some easy ways to incorporate local ingredients?
We are well positioned here in the Maritimes with an abundant supply of
fresh and local ingredients, from seafood that can be traced back to the
boat it was caught on, to produce and meats from the Annapolis valley and
beyond. One thing that we like to offer is local smoked ribs finished on site with homemade Alabama-style sauces. Sticky grilled ribs are fun for everyone and delicious, plus they are easy to transport and don’t require different levels of cooking like steak would.

4. What are some ways to make a spread more vegetarian- or vegan-friendly?
You can grill things like local tofu in black bean sauce and curry or mushroom or go with Spanish onion and pepper kabobs with green and red pesto. And don’t forget about grilled corn, or eggplant—they are always a treat during the hot late summer evenings!

5. What are some important details to consider when planning a BBQ?

Start with a consultation. Find out what type of food you want to grill and then build a custom menu. Talk about weather, where the grill will be in relation to the venue—you don’t want your bridal party smelling like smoke! Talk about timing concerns. For example, if everyone wants steak, and they want it cooked to order this can take upwards of an hour or more for 100 guests! Discuss grills. The most popular is gas. Although cooking over hardwood charcoal gives the tastiest flavour, it can really be time sensitive. You have to consider the time it takes to get the charcoal ready and wind can play havoc on your heat levels. Gas on the other hand is consistent and most commercial grills will have space for multiple food options.

Scott Colwell and his wife Donna Colwell have been operating the family-run Certainly Cinnamon wedding catering for over 20 years. They average 60 plus weddings per season, operating three teams simultaneously throughout mainland Nova Scotia.

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