Watermelon with olives, giant truffle-filled ‘crisps – would you dare to be different with your wedding canapés? We’ve had our fair share of soggy bilinis, miniature pies, and out-there experimental puffs and weren’t convinced, but after tasting a selection from Ian Daw, head chef for events at The Ned, we savoured triumph. Because Ian is a food mixologing wizard. No more boring smoked salmon with cream cheese for us; we’re sold on bold, standout combinations. But only in the hands of someone who really knows their onions (excuse the pun), because it doesn’t matter how good or local your ingredients are, some pairings just don’t work, and where other chefs may create canapes that sing in tune, Ian creates bite-sized orchestral symphonies. We asked him to let us in on his secrets…

Make the Simple Incredible

“The best thing about working with food is taking something simple and making it incredible, and there are a few different ways to do it. I love to take meals that I’ve really enjoyed and turn them into a canapé. Some examples are mini Yorkshire puddings with beef and horseradish cream or gruyere cheese soufflé with grape chutney. The team and I create the dish, try it together and then think about the size, flavour, colours and taste. Then we just go from there.”

Wow with Taste, Texture and Appearance

“Canapés are only supposed to be a bite, so you need to wow the guest with the flavour. Colour is important but so is the look of a canape, the taste and the texture. When I was executive chef at Rocket (private event caterers) we did a lot of fashion house events and that taught me a lot about the size and appearance of canapes, I now use that knowledge for our wedding canapés.”

Choose Flavours that Marry

“I don’t think it is – for me it’s about making sure the individual canapé flavours marry. Sometimes guests will love the vegetarian canapés, when they’d never usually order a vegetarian main dish.”

Play with Diversity

“Asian cuisine is a big influence for me – it can be really clean and the flavours are so diverse, so I’ll use Asian techniques to lighten dishes for example, or to augment the aesthetic.”

Great Canape Ideas

Want some professional canapes inspiration? Take a look at Ian’s suggestions for some showstopping summer wedding canapes and some winter wedding canapés with a hint of vintage wedding flair.

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