We wouldn’t expect anything less than a delicious feast at Chef Michael’s Smith PEI wedding. But after seeing the menu, we can honestly say that he blew our expectations out of the water! Not surprisingly, his menu featured the best of the Island’s bounty.
Michael married Chastity last August and there was no other place for the big day than Fortune, PEI. As Michael said, “We could have gone to Toronto or Charlottetown…but that’s not how we live our lives. We’re proud to be members of this community.” The happy couple treated their families and friends to a lawn party on the grounds of their home and then continued the festivities with a reception at Fortune Community Hall.
The lawn party had guests playing croquet, bellying up to dueling Gin and Tonic stations – featuring two local distilleries, Prince Edward and Myriad View – and enjoying PEI’s famous Colville Bay oysters, two types of wood-fired pizzas and PEI craft-brewed JJ Stewart Root Beer.
Chastity – known to family and friends as Chazz – made sure there were gin and tonics at the party. She and Michael call them ‘Chazz and Tonics’; their spin on the classic has orange peel and muddled mint for bright, fresh flavour.
‘Chazz and Tonic’ cocktail recipe is featured in Michael Smith’s cookbook Fast Flavours. Get the recipe here. Image by James Ingram.
That was just the cocktail party! For the big dinner that night, lots of Michael’s friends who are chefs offered to cook but Michael wouldn’t have it. He wanted his friends to enjoy the reception. The chefs had their own table (how rowdy do you think it was?) at the wedding and there were lots of recognizable names to Food Network Canada from chefs featured with Michael on Chef at Large, Inn Chef, and Iron Chef America and also on You Gotta Eat Here! and Opening Soon. One chef that wasn’t able to make it was Top Chef Canada’s Jesse Vergen – a good friend of Michael’s! He had a good excuse though: he was filming season four of the series.
At the cocktail party, the Colville Bay oysters were served with a Bloody Mary ice, a recipe from Chef Michael Smith’s Kitchen cookbook. You can find the recipe here. Image by James Ingram.
A big decision that influenced the flow of the party was to have the dinner served family style. Michael feels that the most successful dinners are where the guests get to interact with their food, eating communally, passing platters, not sitting down to a plated meal.
If Michael’s friends didn’t cook dinner – who did? Michael and Chastity asked Chef John Pritchard of their favourite Island restaurant, Terre Rouge Bistro, to cook for them and their guests. Michael gave him a list of must-haves for dinner: beef tenderloin, tuna (if it was available), lobster (obviously), pork belly, and lots and lots of vegetables. Chef Pritchard took it from there and fleshed out the menu into a mouth-watering multi-course dinner.
Living salads from Becky Townshend’s Fortune Organics (Michael is good friends with Becky) were on all the tables. Guests could cut their greens and make their own can’t-get-any-fresher salads. The kids at the party loved this and were the ones who ended up harvesting the greens!
One of the wood-fired pizzas on offer at the cocktail lawn party was a homey apple cheddar version. Get Chef Michael Smith’s recipe here.
One of the biggest crowd pleasers of the evening was the wine cellar (not surprising, really). Over 200 different bottles of wine organized by country and grape were set up for the guests to peruse and pick their won. That’s a choose your own grown-up adventure story we love.
And then they all had cake – an orange scented butter cake with extra sour lemon curd and sour cream icing.
There was only person who could bake the wedding cake – Ann Marie Peters, a local baker from PEI. “It just meant a lot to us that Ann Marie made the cake,” said Michael. She is a good friend of the couple and also accompanied Michael to Vancouver as his pastry chef when he cooked for the 2010 Winter Olympics. About six weeks before the wedding, Ann Marie did some test cakes for the couple, knowing that Chastity wanted an orange flavour for the cake. The only feedback was to amp up the orange flavour – but other than that – Ann Marie’s cake was a sure thing.
Happy one year anniversary to the happy couple!