Culinary Concerts, Inc.
Although I did have some communication issues with culinary concerts the end result is that they put on an awesome party!! I would recommend this company because they are good at what they do. The food is A-W-E-S-O-M-E!!! So, they have a little problem with communication but the food delivered is everything you could ever want or ask for. The communication issues really center around if you want something off the beaten path and the pricing of those things (one person will tell you one thing, while another is telling you something else). Its a little confusing and made me very uneasy but at the end of the day it came out exactly how we wanted it!! As a little advice, read every e-mail and double check that the menu they have is the menu you told them. With that being said the actual wedding day and event turned out amazing!! They had everything I wanted plus more. Kathy is a sweetheart and Nicole is the best event coordinator that you could ever meet! All and all I had the best wedding I've ever been to and I wish I could eat that food everyday!!
Culinary Concerts was the perfect vendor to cater our wedding. My venue only allowed events to be catered by a select few businesses and I am so glad Culinary Concerts was on that short list. I love that Culinary Concerts offers, in addition to completely custom menus, a variety of pre-set menus at different price points because it means they can provide gourmet food and fabulous service for all budgets. We started with one of their pre-compiled stations menus, but worked with the chef/owner to give it a some twists and additions to suit our taste/style and it worked out perfectly. Also, Culinary Concerts provided me with what was essentially a day-of-coordinator at no extra charge! She helped set up our personal decorations, run the ceremony, and keep our event on time all night. I gave them 4 stars for responsiveness because I had some difficulty getting in touch with them when I first put down my deposit, but I think they were going through some staff changes at that point and I had no other troubles after that. On the big day, the food was delicious and the service was great. I would highly recommend this vendor!
My husband and I are very happy that we selected Culinary Concerts as the caterer for our wedding at Eolia Mansion at Harkness Memorial Park. They offered a great value and delivered exactly what we asked for. The food was absolutely delicious and presented beautifully. Chris worked with us to stay on budget with simple, creative and delicious choices. We also cannot say enough good things about Nicole. She is such a hard worker, with a terrific personality and we couldn't have been more delighted with her assistance on our big day. She made sure that we actually got to sit down to eat and that we always had what we needed, from our favorite hors d'oeuvres to dinner to our drinks of choice. Our guests are still raving about the food, from the stationary and passed hors d'oeuvres to the delightful stations meal and the best wedding cake ever. They even sent us home with lots of leftovers which we enjoyed for days until we left for our honeymoon. We enthusiastically recommend Culinary Concerts!
Such a great choice!!! They were amazing! Chris the Chef had great ideas onfood choices for the wdding. He listened to my thoughts and made it easy to work with him. His food was delicious to say the least. I have a huge Italian family and I needed to make sure they were satisfied and they were... They loved everything he preparedfor the wedding. ll of the apptetizers were gre and un for both adults and kids. They had a great set up and it worked for all the picky eaters in the family. The catering manager Kathy is wonderful!!I loved her.. She made sure everything went smoothly and I never worried about a thing all night. The staff was great, always attentive to whatever I needed and made sure all of our guests were happy. Kathy stood by me the whole night making sure I was eating and my champagne glass was full! I would recommend them in a heartbeat. They have the culinary skills and the hospitality of a 5 star restaurant. Having a culinary back round myself my expectations were pretty high and they exceeded that. Kathy repeatedly said to me "I never saw such a happier bride" well it is very easy when you have a great person and staff making your special day everything you wanted it to be.... A special thanks to you, Culinary Concerts, and cheers to a job well done! Thank you, Mario and Maria Sgro..oh and Dante! xo
To Chris (owner and chef), Nicole (coordinator), and all the staff of Culinary Concerts...
Thank you for making my daughter's wedding such a memorable, beautiful experience!
I don't even know where to start, so maybe at the beginning...
Chris, when I first spoke to you on the phone, when I was simply contacting caterers to gather information...you went above and beyond! This was my first time planning a wedding, and you gave me information that I wouldn't have even thought of to ask! You were so open and helpful, with ideas and suggestions!
Nicole, when we met you for the first time, you were the same way...full of ideas, questions, suggestions...again, things we wouldn't have thought of! We felt so comfortable and welcomed by you! You seemed as excited and happy as we were!
You brought us along through every step of the wedding planning, and we knew we had nothing to worry about...that you had it all covered...so we never had any stress!
I was amazed at how quickly and completely your staff transformed the mansion into "Kathy & Bill's wedding"...everything looked beautiful! Thank you to the entire staff!
Nicole, you had everything timed perfectly and made sure we were always right where we needed to be.
Chris, the food was absolutely delicious...and the presentation beautiful! MANY people commented on how great the food was, from appetizers to dessert! And the warm cookies and milk...what a lovely surprise!
We are so happy that you were part of our celebration!
Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!
What can I say - Chris and the staff at Culinary Concerts are AMAZING! I would highly recommend them for any event. Chris created the most outstanding menu for our reception, which included many non-traditional foods making for a very unique culinary experience for our guests. Since we are foodies we really appreciated this level of detail. Nicole was a pleasure to work with coordinating details and was onsite providing a high level of service that evening. We have heard from many of our guests - not only about the various food offerings and what their favorites were but also about the staff and how wonderful they were that night. Many thanks!!
My fiance and I signed with "Culinary Concerts" a few months ago and since, have been VERY HAPPY with the professionalism and responsiveness of the whole team thus far. Our wedding is not till next year, and already, the chef and his creative collective (you know who you are Kathy!) Have not only been at my beck and call for every little question I've had, but have created a dozen menus for our consideration, BEFORE WE EVEN SIGNED WITH THEM! When we met with Kathy, we were greeted with, what seemed like endless samples of their delectable cuisine. The other two caterers exclusive to our venue, not only required us to reserve a formal tasting appointment, but also wanted to charge us 65 bucks, PER PERSON, just to taste the food. BOO...
Also, they have arranged a time for us to "Watch them in action!" We were invited to a sneak peak of an actual wedding reception, just to get an idea of how they perform. They are OBVIOUSLY confident and proud to show their skills to us and I can't wait.
I tell you, they have been amazing so far and I have total faith in the whole "Culinary Concerts" team, I can't wait to see what menu we finally decide on and how wonderful our wedding day will be!
Culinary Concerts of Madision catered my daughters wedding which was held at The Wadsworth Mansion in Middletown Ct. We had never done business with this group and hired them on a referral. I was very pleased with the overall experienced. The food was delicious, the preparation, staff were excellent and I wouldn't hestitate to use them again.
One of the biggest rollercoasters in life is planning a wedding. Moments after finding the wedding venue of our dream, the realization settled in that we needed to choose a caterer... and when it comes to weddings food is EVERYTHING!
Harkness Memorial State Park uses only five caterers... so the hunt began. After speaking with a few of the caterers, my husband and I were still torn. All the reviews were similar, and every vendor seemed professional. What made one better than the other? Then we called Culinary Concerts. Within moments, I felt as if I was talking to someone I knew all my life. The warmth and compassion for food and getting to know their clients shined through the phone. We chatted and chatted, and I found myself pouring my wedding frustrations and concerns over the phone. It was if I was talking to a good friend, not a caterer I just met. And with that... our caterer was chosen.
As our wedding approached, Chris and Nicole worked with my husband and I to create a menu of our dreams... well my husband's dreams. I married a good one ladies... he's the cook! (Doesn't help my hips though). Chris was able to not only add the food we desired but did so with a creative spin. He made lamb chops into mouth watering lamb chops. My Mom, who hates meat, even fell all over them!
Of course, no wedding happens without drama... our wedding the drama was a hurricane, Irene to be exact. She came through like woman in need of chocolate a week before our wedding and knocked out Chris and Nicole's power... But that did not stop them. They sat with as a few streams of sunlight shined in... Chris was determined to make our wedding and the menu of our dreams happen even though his kitchen had no power. Then, Chris created a plan to save our...
I would recommend avoiding these guys if you want to save yourself a boat load of anxiety. Chris, the owner provided us quotes with one price (knowing the details of the place close to 2 years in advance) – and billed us something completely different 1 week before the wedding. The contract was confusing; updates were made untimely, responses to questions often conflicted amongst the owner and staff and overall the communication was extremely poor. They may appear to be a good price compared to the other top rated caterers in the area (A Thyme to Cook, Gourmet Galley, etc.), but they stick it to you in the end – when you have no choice. I met with them a handful of times prior to the wedding, including a detailed meeting 3 months ahead of time to go through any changes. What was discussed in the meeting and what was billed 1 week before were two completely different things. We never received an updated quote – just a sloppy email with line items that did not make sense given the original contract. The food was good – but not worth it with the planning hassles. They are extremely unprofessional.
Vendor response to review
We approached this project and wedding for Justin and Diana just as we have for the nearly 1,000 weddings we have catered in our 25 year history – with a promise to over-deliver. We did just that. The client asked on day one if we could “throw in” things they liked – such as our 6’ vintage chalkboard – which we did. We also upgraded their settings from ivory china and stainless flatware to white china and silver – at no added charge - all in good faith. Little did we know, as this went on, that more would be asked for and expected.
We will always respect any client’s opinions or constructive observations, however, we find this review to be completely unfair, untruthful, and borderline malicious. These are the reasons why:
# 1 The wedding was booked just 15 months in advance – not two years as the client states. We had done only one event at the venue. The client knew this, and therefore expectations existed that minor wrinkles would be worked out. We are certainly comfortable catering anywhere – that’s our work.
# 2 The client booked our services after enjoying a complimentary tasting at their first meeting. Our food was highly-praised and the clients affirmed they wanted a higher quality effort than the other sources they were scouting.
# 3 A highly-detailed estimate was provided in advance of their deposit – which they carefully reviewed - that included the specs of how much fresh shelled Maine lobster and dry sea scallops would be used in the preparation of a family-style risotto to be served alongside other family-style platters. We always spec out the most costly food items by weight, species, etc. Their raw bar was also priced this way. They had all of this in hand before placing their deposit with us.
# 4 The communications were plentiful. We have two departments; one for front of the house and another for menu and billing. The clients were met with in-person on three or four distinct occasions, there were at least two dozen emails; the client attended a kitchen open house party (which they loved) with their wedding planner – whom they FIRED just a few weeks before their event. They were clearly confident with our management of the event.
# 5 It was us, at the end, who were the target of the “stick” – as the client began to demand that we pay for tables and related items that the venue did not provide - clearly not in our estimate months in advance. Next, they wanted us to absorb the cost of setting up a second bar location – which was not part of the original agreement. We sucked it up and made it a wine and beer bar anyway – no cost to them. Lastly and most concerning, it felt as if they were attempting to pull one over on us by dictating how much they would be willing to pay for a “full bar” service they were adding just one week before the wedding. They said they wanted to pay for “half a bar” stating “of 150 guests, we only expect half of them to drink, so therefore, we only want to pay you for half” – which we could obviously not agree to. Procedurally, we bill our bars on an estimated per person basis and then reconcile the charges post-event. The clients ended up drinking like 150 people – not 75!
# 6 The “sloppy” email referred to was prepared personally by me. I don’t do anything “sloppily”, therefore that remark is crude and completely off-mark. The email sent was painstakingly detailed, and presented to them just a few days prior because of the lateness of additions that they insisted they wanted – but did not want to pay for. We feel that the client may have brought on the troubles themselves by waiting to the last minute to add on major items, and for firing their wedding planner.
# 7 Three days before the wedding we received an email from the clients with their direct apology for all the stress they had caused, and a profuse thank you, along with how excited they were about the wedding.
#8 I, Chris Bracken, chef-owner, was personally on the event, as was Nicole, and all of our senior staff. Everything we did was done exceptionally well, from King Crab Shooters on the Raw Bar to our Poker Chip Chocolate Chip Cookie Tower. All things were done on time. We felt we did a great job – and worked hard to do so, given the rockiness of prior week. At the end of the evening the family shared their pleasure and gratitude verbally with our staff.
In closing, the best relationships between a business and a customer must be first built on mutual trust. When good faith is present between the parties, both will succeed. In this extremely rare instance, it later became clear to me through the up-down planning, that this client simply may have had an issue with trusting anyone – including us.
However, we remained focused, over-delivered, and left that night with our heads held high. They enjoyed a great party, perfect weather, wonderful food, and terrific service. We wish them many years of happiness!
Chris and his wonderful staff stepped in when our original caterer was unable to handle my daughter's wedding - not the most auspicious way to begin a relationship, but they handled the situation with complete aplomb! Our event entailed a welcome dinner at the beach for 110 people and the reception at our home for 145 the following day. Having been in the wine business with professional exposure to many fine restaurants, our expectations for food were very high and both meals involved many choices at various stations. We were simply thrilled with the results and feel Chris and company met our very high standards. When we recently needed catering at our home for a gathering of 50 people, we naturally called Chris and I'm sure will do so again in the future.
My husband and I got married last July 28th (2011) at Eolia Mansion on the grounds of Harkness State Memorial Park in Waterford, CT. Nicole and Chris were outstanding in service, professionalism, responsiveness, and flexibility from the very beginning. They truly listened to what we had in mind as related to the food stations we had and the overall atmosphere we wanted to create on all levels. We had some creative food and drink items at our reception and they made it work beautifully! We still have people telling us how fresh and delicious the food was at our wedding. It was so special and they made that happen. Most importantly Chris and Nicole were so pleasant to work with and made us feel most comfortable both before the wedding and on the wedding day for sure. We actually planned on personally sending them a thank you note on our one year anniversary because of the wonderful memories they helped us to create on our special day. :-) With Sincere Appreciation and Gratitude, Roy and Louise Seitsinger
Culinary Concerts was so amazing and responsive. I felt that they shared the vision of my wedding and made my dreams become reality.
In the planning phase, Chris was very responsive. He listened to what I wanted, and his suggestions built around my core needs and vision. My calls and emails were returned promptly, and I always felt that my wedding was as important to Culinary Concerts as it was to me.
The food was fantastic! My guests repeatedly commented that the food was exceptional, nothing like standard "wedding food" that they have come to expect at weddings.
The staff were perfect, executing great service while able to stay in the background.
Cost was on target and within budget. Chris did offer options to me that would change my price point, sometimes as a reduction and sometimes as an increase. Any time he made a recommendation, he explained why he was recommending the change, and then allowed me to make the final decision.
I would wholeheartedly recommend Culinary Concerts.
Working with Culinary Concerts was an absolute dream. Chis and Nicole were creative, professional, organized and flexible. Every little detail was taken care of, the service was tremendous and the food was to die for. They made our reception a night my husband and I will never forget!
Rock Star team, led by our "front of house" Nicole and "back of house" and chef extraordinaire Chris. We were so happy with every aspect our our big day and are still getting accolades for our caterer choice. The food was beyond fabulous: cooked perfectly, an incredibly innovative and unique menu, the service and staff that was impeccable, flawless execution, the superlatives are endless. A little pricey but you absolutely get what you pay for with the CC team. Sometimes the response rate was a little slower than we'd have liked in the planning mode but once everything was nailed down it was smooth sailing. We purchased one of their limited time summer menu packages and had a great choice of items to serve, and a decent alcohol selection, though we decided to upgrade a bit there and spent a bit more than the published package price, but it was worth it in the end. Highly recommend them for weddings and any other catered affair.
the lobster bake was the best
Getting to know us…
In an age of immediacy and never ending short cuts, Culinary Concert’s Chef/Owner Christopher Bracken pushes against the tide in the most positive way. With almost a quarter of a century of providing fine dining experiences to myriad audiences, his dedicated and committed ensemble of players take exquisite care in the execution of each and every event, and have become one of southern Connecticut’s leaders in the catered fine dining scene, collaborating with clients of local, national and international fame on many of the area’s most important social, corporate, private and cultural event.
Our menus are carefully designed, filled with passion and enthusiasm; our food prepared from scratch with skill and vision. Our staff is arguably the best in the business, and our resources endless in supply and imagination. “No” is never an option and every event is as important as the last or the next.
Client meetings are collaborative between you, the Chef and/or one of our knowledgeable planners. Themes and ideas are shared, favorite restaurants and past weddings attended discussed. Travel and family foods are brought into play, in order to become familiar with your style and tastes, likes and dislikes, so that a menu befitting of the occasion is crafted.
Only the finest, freshest ingredients are used – sourced locally whenever possible. Seasonality plays a large part in designing your flavor profile – color, texture and taste are all considered. It doesn’t come in the door, if it’s not right. We never compromise on quality.
We work diligently to expertly pair food and wine ensuring that each compliments the other. Signature cocktails and plentiful and refreshing scratch-made, non-alcoholic beverages are always well-received offerings. Culinary Concerts is licensed by the State of Connecticut to purvey product and serve your guests.
Our kitchen at its core - is green - just like our “pear” skin. Foods are prepared and customers served with a dedicated commitment to preserving the planet through recycling, reducing waste, buying environmentally preferable products and a long-standing mission of "maximum efficiency and maximum “yield" with minimal impact toward energy use and avoidance of non-sustainable consumables.
We are designers from the plate to room – able to offer items from a considerable inventory of our own fine English white china, silver flatware, crystal stemware and 100% Egyptian cotton napkins, to French baskets, white porcelain, a plethora of platters and serving trays – even wood burning grills and antique tables.
If it’s not in our inventory we invite you to peek into our “Little Black Book” connecting you with professional resources for stationary suites, room design, lighting, flowers, entertainment, site support, valet parking, etc. With our team in place and entreé to these contacts, each detail of your event can be managed and coordinated in one central location by our talented team.
Our goal is to over-deliver at every turn and we promise you an extraordinary event that will exceed any and all expectations.