Published September 5th, 2016
French’s Point Estate is thrilled to continue a new series of blog posts spotlighting amazing Maine wedding vendors that help to make weddings at our waterfront wedding venue not only successful but truly the embodiment of the experience our clients strive to craft for their family and friends. This series will showcase some of the best providers from our vibrant, talented, dedicated wedding industry community we are so proud to be a part of here in Maine and New England. This group of professional wedding vendors understands and adheres to our guiding principles for the service we endeavor to provide our clients: Be Responsive, Be Kind, Provide Excellent Customer Service, Provide the Very Best Product/Service. Because of these wonderful people, the celebrations here are French’s Point Estate are the stuff of which dreams are made!
I consider myself blessed, for many reasons. One of the things for which I am most grateful is the amazing, crazy-talented, wedding vendors we have here in Maine that is dedicated to providing the best service and experience to couples choosing to marry in Maine! This could not be more true of one of my favorite catering companies: Dandelion Catering Co. I describe owners, Christian and Christine Hayes, to my couples as passionate, professional, rock-star food artists with the best quality food and service available in new England. They have built a kick-butt business while raising a beautiful family, two things of which they can be very proud Heck, I am proud just to know them! Their food is carefully sourced, always fresh, handmade, thoughtfully prepared and artfully and authentically presented. Their staff has an ever-present team mentality… and they work HARD for their clients and with the rest of the vendors on your wedding team. Each time we get to partner with Dandelion Catering, my soul shines a little brighter. I know all of my clients that choose them will have the very best experience. Just take a look at their reviews. Follow them on social media… their food photos are drool-inducing.
Unique. No smoke and mirrors, just a pure passion for cooking, food, community, family and service. Meet Dandelion Catering.
What inspired your passion for catering?
CHRISTINE: I’ve always loved entertaining. I was passionate about food (I went to culinary school) and the idea of combining food and entertaining people was really appealing. I started working in the catering industry in college, as a server, and it was so much fun. I loved going to different places and being involved in these really big celebrations. I just sort of fell in love with it.
CHRISTIAN: I think, for me, it’s a couple of things. After working in restaurant kitchens, I began to really appreciate the settings that catering events allowed us to work within. To be able to lift your head while searing a piece of fish and see the rocky coast and ocean that the fish came from, directly on the other side of your burner, is pretty surreal. After working in windowless kitchens for 12-hour shifts, it’s quite a dichotomy between the two environments.
Also, another factor is that most times we are working for clients on one of the happiest days of their lives after working with them for, sometimes, a year and a half in advance. There’s a different type of connection there than what you would get with a diner in a restaurant. Your relationship with them grows through the planning process, and you truly feel like a part of the celebration, and the food shows that. I can think of so many times I’ve seen Christine get tearyeyed after watching a couple tie the knot. It’s awesome.
What food items would you suggest to a client hosting a destination wedding in Maine?
CHRISTINE: Incorporating lobster (whether in a creative appetizer or the more classic lobster roll or lobster bake) is the obvious choice, and the seafood, in general, is fantastic here. Then there are some other standout seasonal ingredients that we love to use; things like heirloom tomatoes, strawberries, blueberries. We love including these items in a unique way on a couple’s menu.
CHRISTIAN: Definitely seafood. Every week we are getting fresh fish in, from giant Maine mussels to filets, lobsters, clams, scallops, even Maine seaweed for salad. I think if you are truly making Maine your destination wedding location, then that’s the obvious direction. We understand that large groups of people who aren’t from this region might not share an all-encompassing love for seafood, though, so it’s all about creating a menu that incorporates it but also allows for our other amazing resources to shine through. From amazing produce to Maine lamb, foraged mushrooms, dairy and cheeses, and of course, the hogs, we’ve got something for everyone.
Please describe your ideal client.
CHRISTINE: We love working collaboratively with couples to create a menu and service that is unique to their tastes and celebration. We’re happiest when clients provide us with some direction on their favorite dishes, but also trust our style and expertise. Working with folks who have a similar passion for food and eating well is always a treat.
CHRISTIAN: I agree. In a perfect world, the client has checked us out a bit on our website and Facebook, and has gotten an initial understanding of who we are, because I feel like that goes a long way. It helps to understand where we’ve come from, what we do, and what our philosophy is behind running a business and working with food. I think we’ve done a great job of painting an online presence that represents truly who we are, and what’s important to us.
How would you describe your wedding fare and service style?
CHRISTINE: We focus on highlighting local and seasonal ingredients. There are a ton of small-scale family farms in Maine that are doing incredible things with livestock and produce and it’s our pleasure to be able to support them. While we do occasionally source from outside of Maine to accommodate special menu requests, our typical menus tend to highlight those local ingredients and we encourage our clients to embrace that.
With our staff, we aim to strike a good balance of providing excellent service and a personable, lighthearted attitude. After all, weddings are joyful occasions and we want to contribute to that atmosphere. Most of our waitstaff has been with us for many seasons and we’ve cultivated a really fantastic, friendly team of very hard workers. We get a lot of feedback from couples that our staff not only provides a great service but also contributes to the celebration.
CHRISTIAN: I think our food is incredibly simple and fresh, but with character and personality. No smoke and mirrors. I would much rather cook, serve, and eat a Julia Child dish than something with modern gastronomic tricks like foams and tweezer placed parsley. We offer a rustic and wholesome portion coupled with a refined aesthetic that I’m super proud of. Colorful, beautiful food that allows its fresh ingredients to do the talking.
Our service is amazing. Over the years we have grown a team of invested, brilliant people who care about the company and client alike, and that is reflected in our execution. It’s enormously humbling to see people care about providing a quality service like they do.
Please provide an all inclusive sample menu with pricing per person for hors d’oeuvres and a two-course, seated, plated meal.
Below is an example of a menu that we might suggest for a summer wedding on the coast of Maine. Please inquire for pricing!
Stationary Hors d’oeuvres
Cheese Board: wide variety of artisan cheeses, crackers, grissini, herbed and peppered salamis, chorizo, sopressata, smoked mussels, pickles, nuts, olives, melon and fruit, preserves, spinach artichoke dip, freshly baked artisan bread
Passed Hors d’oeuvres
Spinach and mozzarella arancini skewer with grilled eggplant romesco and sorrel sauce
Maine lobster rangoon with balsamic chili sauce and cashew
Panko fried buttermilk rabbit rillette with onion jam
Heirloom tomato wedge and chopped basil salad with pickled red onion, crumbled chevre, smashed pistachio and balsamic
Freshly baked house baguette with whipped Kate’s butter
Grilled sirloin filet with wild mushroom ragout and crispy fried shallot on potato puree
Pan seared halibut with asparagus and pea shoot, citrus braised fennel and tomato saffron mussels
Wild mushroom penne rigate with baby spinach, baby kale, caramelized cipollini, toasted pine nut, and housemade ricotta
All photos by Emilie, Inc.