Vendor Spotlight-The Chef and I

Today, we're talking about the fabulous catering services of The Chef and I. The company is run by husband and wife team, Chris and Erica Rains and their top priority is making beautiful food that will last in everyone's memory on the wedding day.

How did you get into catering?
Our chef, Chris Rains, has been an Executive Chef in Nashville for 20 years. His ran kitchens at theWildhorse Saloon and the Sommet Center (now the Bridgestone Arena) and fed everyone from the Predators to rock stars. Erica Rains has worked in marketing and media with emphasis on events for 15 years. Erica and Chris met, fell in love (yes, love at first sight), and started The Chef& I in early 2008. The rest is culinary history.
What are some different options that you offer brides?
-We offer a different culinary experience with our interactive stations. Executive Chef Chris Rainsand his sous chefs interact with guests on a more personal level, sharing tips and recipes, visiting with family and friends and becoming part of the event.  Crostini bars, carving stations, fresh pasta station, cake shots bar, shrimp and grits presentation and interactive cheese boards are some of the choices for brides.

-A feature that is exclusive to The Chef and I is the Strawberry Injection Bar. The chef and Iinvented it in 2010, and it has gained a lot of media attention. This is taking the place of groom’s cakes or candy bars in many weddings lately.

-Our chef does a great brunch-to-order for bridal showers, rehearsal brunches (the meal is beforethe rehearsal instead of after), and even early wedding receptions. Each guest is attended to andan individual dish is prepared for each of them. Perfect for smaller groups!

-We offer a complimentary cake cutting service, and complimentary wedding night package forthe bride and groom to take home.

-A complete, plated, formal, sit-down service is available and all of the servers and bartenders that work for The Chef & I are ABC certified, professional, and attentive. Our team is what makes us great, and we love utilizing our amazing staff to bring the level of service expected.

-Some brides choose to have only hors d’oeuvres, and we offer a menu that will still leave guests feeling like they had an amazing culinary experience, and it was easy to eat and mingle at the same time!

-We love doing family style receptions, and have done quite a few lately. From a rustic southern meal to a sophisticated ‘foodie’ scene, this is a fun type of service that really gets guests interacting with each other.

-Full service bartending, set up, and custom cocktail creation for the bride and groom are available. Champagne service and non-alcoholic fun options are part of many packages.

-The Chef and I also handles cakes, linens, china and glass rental, venue relations and contract management, budgeting consultations, full service wedding planning, wedding attire, transportation, rings, officiant services, honeymoons and gift registry through our partner vendors. If the bride wants to do less, The Chef and I often does more.


What are some new things you are working on for 2012?
For 2012, The Chef and I is working on their own location where they can host rehearsal dinners, bridal parties, and receptions for up to 75 onsite. A demonstration kitchen will allow the chef to create cooking class parties, demonstrations, and be accessible for guests in a beautiful culinary environment.

Also, The Chef and I are making their national television debut on GAC on April 25th at 9pm. Look for them with their temporary employee for one day, supermodel Niki Taylor as they show herthe ropes in the catering world on the hit television series, “Day Jobs”.

The Chef and I are working on a culinary reality television show that they will also shoot at their new location, and involve the client. Brides can have their bridal showers here and be on tv at thesame time!

What are you seeing as popular in catering in 2012?
We’ve seen many more caterers start picking up the idea of stations that include things like mac n’ cheese and mashed potatoes, and we’re starting to see more creativity in the local catering world. We like to stay on the cutting edge of trends, and anticipate what’s popular-we like to be thought of as innovators, so we actually try to do things a little differently; and share our vision with our brides.

What catering trends do you wish would die?
Any sort of carved fruit (carved watermelon that looks like a flower or bird for example) seems to be outdated. Also, chocolate fountains seem overdone.
Tell me why brides should choose The Chef and I.
Brides should choose The Chef and I Catering because we work within the budget set forth by theclient while presenting them with a menu they’ve never seen before. The chef writes a new menu for every bride, every time. We use local, fresh, organic produce, meat and other foods as much as possible, frequenting farmers’ markets, and learning about where our food is coming from. We pass that information on to our clients. We often cook gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, and are familiar with other dietary or cultural needs and cuisines. Also, the minute you speak with The Chef and I about your needs, we do a courtesy hold on one or multiple dates for you. This courtesy hold will alleviate any stress from you feeling hurried so that you don’t ‘lose’ the date. Once we’ve talked, your date is safe with us until you make your decision.

Also, The Chef and I never charges for tastings. We hold tastings several times each month, andcan arrange for private tastings with as many guests as the bride would like to bring. Chris and Erica Rains value their clientele, and are much more interested in developing long-term relationships than developing short-term profits. We are totally flexible, and will allow you to change your number of people or anything else up to five days before your wedding. Both Erica and the Chef are always available to speak with directly via email, phone, or text.

Lastly, brides should choose us because we love working with people in love. We have our own amazing ‘second-chance’ love story, and we’d love to share it with you sometime.

Lots of yumminess going on at this company! Having someone like the Chef and I working with a bride on her wedding sounds like a satisfying experience. Not only do they make beautiful and creative food but they really care about the bride and her big day.

Some personal questions about Chris and Erica:

Mac or PC?  PC, although the Ipad is looking pretty tempting.

Tea or Coffee? Coffee. At least one pot a day! Love gourmet coffees and adding fun things to our coffee! (We have a really neat interactive coffee bar too, that stems from our coffee addiction.)

iPhone or Blackberry? Neither! Android Devices right now.

Favorite Song Right Now The Chef’s favorite song is “I Was Born to Love You” by Queen. And that’s the song they played when Chris and Erica were pronounced man and wife. Not a dry eye in the place.

Erica’s favorite song will always be Into the Mystic by Van Morrison.