updated 24 Dec 2010, 20:42
user id password
Mon, Jul 19, 2010
The Business Times
Email Print Decrease text size Increase text size
The Wedding Chateau
by Audrey Phoon

BRIDES beware: hiring The Wedding Chateau to take care of your big day could mean that the Best Dressed title may go to the dessert table instead. That's because the company, which specialises in design and desserts, is capable of turning out such stunning creations that one of its elaborate edible spreads was in May featured on the blog of American dessert and decor specialist Amy Atlas, the Martha Stewart of dessert bars who does projects for society folk and Hollywood celebrities.

Covering a table a couple of metres long, the baby blue and gold-hued sweet feast was backed by a gilded mirror and made up of tier upon tier of bonbons that included petite croquembouches, custom-wrapped chocolates, marshmallow kebabs and delicate macarons decorated with laurel wreaths and fleur de lis. It was a treat for both the eye and the palate, which is exactly what The Wedding Chateau owners and sisters Amal Sarah and Amal Najihah were shooting for when they began offering dessert bars last year as part of their repertoire (the company, which was set up in 2005, also does events including non-weddings and individual projects such as food favours and flower arrangements).

Says Najihah, a former pharmacist who quit her job some years ago to look after her children and work on The Wedding Chateau: 'We wanted to revolutionise dessert settings because we like to look at ourselves as trend setters. So we thought we'd do dessert bars, which is a growing trend in the United States. But we didn't want to the basic type because there are a lot of bakeries that do that - what we do, basically, is start off as designers; it's a different approach.'

The first dessert bar the sisters did for a client was particularly memorable, they say, because even though it 'wasn't that high-level and we didn't know what to expect, people were taking pictures of it and asking if the things could really be eaten'.

'They were wondering who did it and looking us up!' recalls Najihah with glee. Since then, their dessert bar service has become so popular that 'almost all of the people who have come to see us over the past year have asked about that', says Sarah, who holds a full-time job as a private banker and spends her evenings and weekends working on The Wedding Chateau's projects.

Each dessert bar, which must be booked between two weeks and two months in advance depending on the level of complexity, is conceptualised individually, usually according to the theme of the client's event, then realised in hand-drawn sketches before the actual date. The Wedding Chateau has so far done a Renaissance-themed dessert bar, complete with a bust of Michelangelo's David on the table; a Chanel-inspired one with black-and-white tweed-patterned ribbons and apple juice served in bottles that resemble the brand's famous No 5 perfume; and one in striking Venetian red and Tyrian purple decorated with lush red roses, among others. 'We get our inspiration from anywhere and everywhere, and we try to put that into food, into forms you wouldn't expect,' explains Najihah.

The company's dessert bars - which potential clients can suss out at its quarterly sample sessions - can cater for events of between 50 and 300 people and average about $20 a head, which is about three times the price of a normal dessert buffet. 'There are some who are still trying to get their heads around the cost - they have to know that it's not just about the food but the design elements as well,' says Najihah. But, she adds, 'a lot of our clients also realise that a dessert bar isn't just a dessert spread - it's another treat for their guests as well; a visual spectacle'.

That appreciative audience in mind, other food bars are also in the works for The Wedding Chateau. 'We could do a breakfast bar or a bread bar ... anything, really,' says Najihah. 'We're just into design and using food as the props. But of course, taste is important too.'

readers' comments

Copyright © 2010 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Co. Regn. No. 198402868E. All rights reserved.