Tie The Knot 2019 – The Dish With Ann
Executive Chef Linda Duerr with The Restaurant at 1900 and Lon Lane with Lon Lane’s Inspired Occasions give many couples options for memorable, festive dinners. Within the restaurant, Linda can create a spectacular dinner for a newly engaged couple or can provide delectable menu choices for a celebratory event. Lon can cater engagement parties, wedding showers, rehearsal dinners, and weddings of all sizes, whether they are in people’s homes, well-known establishments, or hip, new event spaces in Our Town. Both Linda and Lon are at the top of their games when it comes to creating extraordinary cuisine.
The Independent: How would you describe the food you prepare and what is your style of cooking?
Linda: I have experienced lots of trends. I would say at this point that my food is modern American, and our menu is liberally laced with all those layers. From the local food movement (we just started our own garden as well as sourcing from many local farmers and producers) and expanding cross-cultural influences, to the early influences in my career of nouvelle cuisine (my first chef was French in a Boston restaurant), and ultimately my own personal roots in New England where I grew up. I have only come to understand how meaningful the food of my childhood has become on the dishes I like to create today.
The Independent: What are some tips for couples who are planning a wedding?
Lon: We want everyone to have all their dreams come true when it comes to a wedding, but couples need to be flexible. Their dreams may not work in the venue, they may not work during a certain time of year. If they are not willing to be open to ideas and opinions, they may be setting themselves up for disappointment. We try to make it all about the bride and groom, so that when they are dancing at their 50th wedding anniversary, they would say to each other that they wouldn’t change a thing about their wedding. We also ask a lot of questions. What do the bride and groom want to accomplish? Where is their focus? Is it the flowers, the cake, the band?
The Independent: What has been a terrific dinner you have put together for a gathering?
Linda: I recently cooked a dinner for Shuttlecork, which raises money for The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. It was a tasting dinner for about 30 people, and I think the guests enjoyed partaking. The menu featured
lobster and peeky toe crab salad, cappelletti and pink peppercorn poached king salmon, juniper and bay cured duck prosciutto, black angus striploin, lamb osso bucco, sheep’s milk ricotta cheesecake, and spiced pistachios.
The Independent: What dishes tend to work at a rehearsal dinner or a wedding?
Lon: We try to get into the heads of the bride and groom and figure out what’s feasible for the venue. Are they beef or fish eaters? What is their flavor profile? The rest is just cooking, and we have strict processes. We don’t serve salmon hot. We do serve sea bass warm. We have also done theme-type food at weddings. We had a Harry Potter family style dinner with lots of tagines and braised meat and chicken.
The Independent: How do you account for your achievement as a chef?
Linda: The Restaurant at 1900 is an extraordinary group of talent that has all come together in one place. I feel very fortunate to be working with Beverage Director Doug Frost and General Manager Keith Goldman, not to mention the Karbank family, two wonderful sous chefs, and all of our terrific staff. Success as a chef requires caring—maybe excessively in some people’s opinion, vigilance, and a willingness to work hard and make sacrifices.
The Independent: What is the secret of your success as a wedding caterer?
Lon: I have a passion for hospitality and for making people happy, even at my own expense. I only have one shot at this. My motto is: promise them the moon and over deliver. It’s an awesome responsibility when people trust us and select us. We want to make sure the people who are paying the bills are happy. Often, we will act as consultants when it comes to the wedding cakes, florists, and linens. We tend to recommend vendors who are in sync with us, like coaches, trying to build a team of players. Because if the team is not together, there will be issues.
The Independent: What are some of your favorite signature cocktails you would serve at a special occasion?
Linda: My personal favorite is my own creation. I call it the Southern lemonade. It’s vodka (preferably French) and lemonade with a splash of bourbon and fresh thyme flowers.
Lon: For a summer wedding, we have done some interesting mojitos with dragon fruit and watermelon. We are always trying to tell the story of the bride and groom. At a rehearsal dinner, we had an Irish couple and made Irish Shandy. Or if the colors of the wedding were blush, we made blush-colored drinks. One time, we created black martinis and floated a white orchid.
The Restaurant at 1900
1900 Shawnee Mission Parkway
Mission Woods, KS 66205
Lon Lane’s Inspired Occasions
6306 Morningside Drive
Kansas City, MO 64113
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