Shaadi Obsession!

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Well, the ear cuff trend is certainly in right now - though I prefer it paired with a long earring for those of us with a second piercing.

Here are a couple I love right now, available by Indian designers, as well as locally in the US (at much more reasonable prices)!

Cuff 1 via Art Karat

Cuff 2 via Pernia’s Pop Up Shop

Cuff 3 via Francescas

If you’re feeling creative, check out this ear cuff DIY here!

Artist Spotlight ~ AMR Catering

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I had a chance to interview AMR Catering’s Aarti Mahtani Raman on her amazing catering business. AMR Catering is your go-to caterer for showers, cocktail parties, birthdays, engagements, weddings and more! Specializing in Indian-American fusion desserts – dessert bars, cakes, party favors and more – they offer our clients a completely customizable client experience – no two menus are alike.

With Chef Aarti Mahtani Raman’s background in Culinary Arts, working in restaurants and bakeries in the tri-state area, AMR Catering takes what you know and love about both American and Indian flavors and staples, and heightens them to another level – fusing flavors into a creative culinary experience. 

All items are hand-crafted, exceptionally unique, and they take pride in creating bold and dynamic flavors. With both savory and sweet experience and accolades, AMR Catering is a one stop spot for your next event. They’re more than happy to create special menus based on dietary restrictions, allergies, cuisines, and/or your favorite ingredients.

Here’s what Aarti had to say!

How do you create designs for your clients? Is it a collaborative effort or do you give the bride/groom some ideas?
It depends on the client…if they are more into flavor combinations than designs, than I definitely try to get a feel for what they like, dislike, etc. and go from there and create designs (for cakes, cupcakes, desserts bars, etc.). Some brides or party planners are definitely honed into their theme and know exactly what they want (some have an idea), they either send me images of dessert or cake ideas, or I send them a sketch of a cake, customize it, and go from there!

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What would you say stands out about your creations? Taste/creative design, etc.?

I think both taste and design are important…if something tastes good but doesn’t look so pretty, it’s somewhat of a disappointment. But conversely, if it looks so pretty that I can’t wait to eat it and it doesn’t taste good at all, I’m furious. I’m also a crazy dessert-aholic so a lot of personal feelings go into my dessert creations (and consumptions!)

For me, I really enjoy creating Indian-fusion desserts, primarily dessert bars, party favors, etc. There’s something unique and fun about eating a cupcake, a cake pop or a bite of cheesecake, and feeling like you’re enjoying something ‘familiar’ when it comes to the Indian spices that are used. A Cardamom Cheesecake, a Strawberry-Rosewater Cake Pop or a Chocolate Chai Cupcake are amongst some of (but definitely not all of the flavor fusions) that I enjoy creating. For a dessert bar, especially for a wedding, it’s a great way to incorporate American desserts and it allows both your friends and family to enjoy it, for similar and different reasons. A lot of brides are now looking for Indian-fusion dessert bars instead of buffet-style Indian sweets to end their big day.

Another thing that I love is that I create everything myself – all tarts are handmade, all cake pops are hand rolled and dipped, and everything is created with attention to detail and thought in mind. With that, I love that I’m able to create custom items – whether it’s a custom design on a cake, a custom flavor combination (think Signature Dessert as opposed to or in addition to your Signature Cocktails at your reception), or custom varieties taking into account allergies or dietary restrictions. My menus are just a template – I’m up to create anything and love to challenge myself to do so.

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How long does it typically take for you to prepare for an event from the design to the execution?

Because everything is hand-crafted, it takes at least a few days to create a dessert bar and/or wedding cake and I only take on a few orders per week. Though, I appreciate orders at least two weeks before the event date. It gives the client and myself some time to go over design, create customized options, source special ingredients/equipment, etc. And of course, if more time is given, further customizations and free tastings are always available!

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What is the most interesting/crazy catering request you have received?

Hm, I would say that I tend to overstimulate clients with my lengthy menus and customized combinations that I start spewing out, so usually, clients are really open to using my judgment and creatively, and just want a vibrant, fun, varietal and delicious menu. With the “if you can dream it, I’ll bake it” notion, some people take advantage of that and I love that – it pushes me creatively. There was one time my client (and really good friend) asked me to create a signature dessert for her engagement party…all she said was that she loved pumpkin, white chocolate and coconut and wanted it all in one bite size dessert. Thus, the Pumpkin Cheesecake with a Coconut-Gingersnap Crust and White Chocolate Mousse was created…and it was so good!

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Do you cater outside of the Philadelphia/New Jersey/NYC area?

Absolutely! NY, NJ, PA, DE, DC and VA.

Anything else you may want to share?

Aside from cakes, dessert bars, party favors, etc. I also have a Culinary Arts background and cater dinner parties (up to 40 people) both family style and coursed/plated, cocktail parties (up to 75 people), and create custom cocktails. While I specialize in Indian-Fusion, I have training in all cuisines.

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Thanks for the feature, Aarti! Check out AMR Catering for your wedding or upcoming party!

‘Like’ them on Facebook: www.facebook.com/AMRCatering

Follow them on Twitter: @AMRCatering

Contact: Aarti Mahtani Raman, Owner & Caterer

Email: aarti@amrcatering.com 

Phone: 732-910-5012

Catering Website: www.amrcatering.com

Locations Serving: NJ, NY, PA, DE, DC & VA