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Oct 12, 2007 01:42 PM

Ann Walker Catered Our Wedding and Did a Fantastic Job!

Our tasting here set her far apart from the other three catering tastings we attended. Ann herself ran the tasting from her kitchen located among some beautiful seminary buildings in Marin County. She was the most professional of everyone we met with, and it was obvious that were we to pick her, the day would run as smooth as silk. And it did - the servers were great, and Ann and her son provided excellent online communication leading up to the wedding.

Among Brazilian Room caterers, Shai's, Serves You Right, Schumann's Four Seasons, and Culinary Excellence were cheaper, but Ann Walker was still cheaper than half of the caterers on the list, and she was worth every penny.

Everything we tried we loved. There was not a single clunker on the menu (something that definitely could not be said for the other places we tried). Even though Ann believes strongly in seasonality and only has you taste dishes that are in season during the catering (which therefore might not be the ones you'd have for your event), everything tasted so good I felt I could put my trust in her for dishes we would not be able to try before the wedding.

At the tasting we tried:

-Spanish olives
-Marinated mushrooms (this and the olives were very good, but I didn't want to serve Spanish appetizers I felt I could get anywhere and weren't special enough)
-Nori with chicken mousse and wasabi creme freiche (I'm not a big meat mousse fan but this was done expertly well)
-*Chicken satay with cilantro peanut sauce (excellent with an unusual dipping sauce)
-Spinach empanadas (one of my least favorite apps but still really good; had another caterer served it during a tasting it would have made the final menu)
-Beef picadillo empanadas (very good)
-Duck confit spring rolls with cranberry apple chutney (this was one of my favorites but unfortunately it's not best served in August at the time of our wedding)
-*Shittake mushroom cakes with black bean aioli (loved it; very interesting flavors)

Entrees and Sides
-*Roasted vegetables with brava sauce (I never knew I liked turnips before trying this dish; the other vegetables were awesome as well and the sauce was amazing)
-Chicken with white beans and Madeira sauce (really yummy; we added it to our menu but ended up tossing it favor of steak)
-*Spinach and three cheese rolled pasta (very rich tasting but not too much so)

* = Good enough to make our wedding menu

We also added to our menu:

-Potato and pea samosas with mint chutney (our vegan friend loved these; they were very good)

-Heirloom tomato salad with marinated mozzarella and two basil dressing (my husband's and my absolute favorite dish)
-Crusty breads and sweet butter (brought in from another bakery)

-Hanger steaks topped with romesco butter (we got a ton of compliments on this dish but we thought the meat was a little tough; I'm not as familiar with this cut so maybe that's typical of hangar steak)
-Wild Salmon with a corn relish (good but didn't blow us away)
-Saffron risotto cakes with mushroom sauce (a great vegan option; this dish really grew on me and was one of the husband's favorites)

-Seasonal fruit salad (this was served with the cake and was very good; it was a nice not too sugary alternative for the non-cake eaters)

Ann suggested we add a seasonal fruit agua fresca since our wedding is in August. That sounded wonderful to us since we love agua fresca! She also recommended serving sangria, which sounded delightful. Our canteloupe agua fresca was on the bland side, but we really liked the sangria.

A foodie friend of mine used Ann Walker for her Brazilian Room wedding, and raved about the food. Apparently, Ann created a menu of Iranian specialties just for the occasion (my friend's husband is from Iran).

I'm just sad she doesn't have a restaurant so that I can eat my favorite dishes again after the wedding.

40 Kensington Rd
San Anselmo, CA 94960
(415) 460-9885

Alexandra's Persian-Inspired Wedding Food by Ann Walker:

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  1. Glad to hear Ann Walker worked out for you. I would stay far away from Culinary Excellence in Concord. Absolutely the worst caterer out there.

    2 Replies
    1. re: theSauce

      Weird, isn't it, that so often places with superlative in their names (Excellence, A-1, Fabulous, Gourmet, Delicious, etc.) aren't?

      1. re: theSauce

        Are you the one whose experience with them "ruined your wedding"? If so I saw that comment from you months ago when I did a search on Culinary Excellence and it caused me to stay away. What happened?

      2. We used Ann Walker Catering for our wedding in Sonoma County and we were thrilled with everything. First was the planning stage. We went to their kitchen and sampled a bunch of different foods to find the right combination we were looking for. Ann and Morgan were so helpful, thinking ahead of what would be in season at the time and coming up with some really unique dishes. Ann was such a huge help in deciding on tables, chairs, linen, dishes, etc. For the groom, these things are usually a bore, but they made it fun and pleasant.

        Next up was the site inspection. Morgan came up and checked out the ranch we were having the party at and drew everything out, made lots of suggestions, had us even change a few things to make everything flow more smoothly. He was a huge help to us.

        When the big day finally arrived, we had rain! It had not rained up there at the end of May in the last ten years. The staff arrived and asked me one time, "Do you have a Plan B for the rain?" I said no, and they just said "Ok, we'll make this work". They then did everything they could to keep things dry, keep things moving and flowing and keep the guests happy. Our wedding plans were completely thrown out the window and the whole day was as fluid as could be, trying to get lunch in during the breaks in the rain and keeping people warm with heat lamps. So many people came up to us during and after the wedding commenting on how nice they all were and how great the food was. They truly became part of the wedding and made our day possible.

        I could mention so many great things about them, but all you need to know is this. Great Service, Great Food, Great Attitude. A pleasure to work with and I hope to use them again for future events!

        1 Reply
        1. re: TheScoot

          Can you share pricing? She sounds great but my sense is that if you're willing to spend a lot, you can get great catered food. I can't afford to spend a lot and am wondering if it's still possible to get great catered food.

        2. link

          Ann Walker Catering
          40 Kensington Rd, San Anselmo, CA 94960

          1. If you speak to her again, can you ask her when Whole Foods, Woodlands or Mollie Stones will be carrying her addictive Peanut Cilantro Sauce again?

            She must have problems with the distributer because it goes in and out of availability in the stores.

            1 Reply
            1. re: MSK

              She no longer distributes the sauces. You can pick them up at the kitchen. just call ahead