Wedding food from outer Space

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Professionalism, passion, creativity and respect for requests are key factors honoured by Ibiza private chef Mark E Watkins of La Grande Bouffe. Come hell or high water, he’ll make your Ibiza wedding menu happen – literally. Read his latest blog to find out how… and where!

‘Some years ago after eating my food as guests of a client of mine, Jaime and Roberta of Box 3 fame asked me if I could do the food for their wedding. The wedding was to be out on the spit of land with the torre on the end of it near Cala Conte. I was new to the island so Roberta said she would meet me at the bar on the way to the beach. I was used to being met and led to difficult to get to places but this felt like she was driving me into the sea.

The track went along the edge of a low cliff, bushes scraping the left side of my old and very excellent Saab and a 10-metre drop into the sea on the right. Finally we swung round a last bush and stopped. The spit was 30 metres long and 15 wide. Before us were the ruins of a torre next to one that was still standing. Around it were 15 or so people milling. Roberta introduced me. They were the sound guys, the lighting guys, staging guys, the transport guys and all other guys needed to stage this improbable wedding. How many guests I asked? 200 came the answer. Hmmmm. There was literally nothing there. Everything would have to be brought in. Wicked.

I went away and started planning the food. Soufflés were out.

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As the week went on the weather forecast got worse and worse. It was late September, prime diluvial moment, but still Jaime and Roberta ignored the augury and forged ahead. Fuck it, I thought, why not? Two days before the wedding however one of the guests arriving by yacht radioed to say that the forecast for heavy, heavy rain was 100 percent and that these maritime forecasts so close to a date were never wrong. Sadly they finally they saw sense and went on the hunt for a less remote spot. Covered too.

The next thing I know the venue has been changed to Space. A wedding in Space before the season had ended – now that was pretty good going 36 hours before the big day.

Now certain the thing would go ahead, I got to work and spent the day in the rain grilling peppers, aubergines, tomatoes, courgettes and other things on the bedstead in my garden. I got soaked through and the charcoal hissed throughout. My kind of cooking.

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The rain slowed and stopped just around the time I finished grilling. I showered and headed off to Space. The area I was allocated was a concrete forecourt with a flimsy tarp tied over an eighth of the space. I built an enormous charcoal barbeque, two beds this time, and whilst it got to the right moment I chatted to the chef from El Ayoun, who was supplying a cous cous. He seemed like a nice guy. We got along well. (So well in fact that he thought it would be nice to ‘borrow’ a knife I had been showing him. The knife was a wedding gift to Lucrecia and I and was engraved with our names. Tres charmant. But I digress…)

Darkness fell and the party started. So did the rain. I had to race the deluge; down it came slowly and steadily whilst I got the meat out swiftly and steadily. Forty seconds after the last fillet had been sent, God got bored with the shower and turned on the bath. The rain came down so heavily it put out a raging eight-metre squre barbeque eight metres in seconds flat. There was so much lightening I think He stuck His finger in the electric socket for good measure. Unfuckingbelieveable. And as I walked into Space to enjoy the party I saw a car floating down the street.’