It Takes a Village

They always say it takes a village.  Or maybe it’s a group.  It could just be fate.  But I think it really is a community that cares and wants to see people grow.  

Many days, I stand in my kitchen alone.  It’s okay because I like to feel the love that moves from my fingers to my food.  It’s a process that a lot of people might not understand.  It something that comes from within, deep inside my soul.  But it is at the cost of alienating myself from people.  I can become a hermit, lost in the flavors and textures of creations I do for people.

This is why I value my community because they understand my passion.  I’m a novice to this community as many of them have been growing their trade for many years.  Yet they embraced me and welcomed me, despite the fact I have not the years of experience behind me.  They say people come in and out of your life for different reasons.  I have so many people that I believe are a reason I am where I am and most of you know who you are, whether you are still a part of my life or not.  You have all helped me grow and realize the road I should travel on.  

Kristin of Jollity was my first “real” client.  We did many parties together and she helped me to realize that small foods are great foods to have at your party and something that I love to do.  Although, not in my community any longer,  I still appreciate her help in the beginning.  Barbara, the creator of Virginia Wedding Week and owner of Style Events is the one who got me started in the wedding industry.  She took a chance on some pictures she followed and asked me to serve some of my food at a meeting they held.  It was one of the best and most

Ashley of Studio I do and Barbara of Virginia Wedding Week

important nights I’ve had.  I met so many amazing people that I would not have met if it wasn’t for her belief in me. I have to say I absolutely love this person for who she is and I hope she is always a part of my community.  Kelly of Inspired Events by Kelly and Ashley of Studio I do have had the trust and confidence in me for their important events and for that I am and will be always so grateful.  They are such a part of my community that I when I’m not working with them, I love seeking out just to say hi to.  And finally, Charles… my friend, my neighbor and my mentor.  As the owner of Blue Seafood, the help he has given me is probably more than he knows, and so appreciated.

Kelly of Inspired Events by Kelly

Where would any of us be without our people?  I’m sure many of you have thought you’ve done well at getting where you are on your own, but really has it been without those silent supporters that cheered you on?  Maybe it is just fate and we’re destined to be on that road no matter what.   Whatever the reason is, I am blessed to be where I am.  Whether we are “competitors” or acquaintances,  it is important to support and help grow each other.  In a world where “ME” comes first, where kindness is non existent, and neighborhoods are not really neighborly, I find strength in having that community around me.  

And that is why it’s okay if I’m alone sometimes.  I always know there is a village for me to reach out to.   

My Wish for Your Wedding Reception

I’ve been to several weddings over my lifetime. They have varied with budget and locations to eras and style. I have been to large weddings, over the top, intimate and styled. The one constant in all of these have been food. Yes, everyone wants to eat, and apparently, wants to eat well.

I went to a couple over the top weddings on Long Island. It must be something about the area. They love to eat! The first was a sit down with several courses. I can’t tell you what they were due to my escalating age and deteriorating memory and the fact the wine glass was NEVER empty. Luckily the people sitting next to me were a lot of fun because we were never able to get away from the table. The second had a reception that was geared to feed an army. Or, rather,  several armies. They had pasta stations, carving stations, meatballs, cheeses and even more. I thought it was amazing until someone mentioned we still had a full sit down dinner to partake in. The sit down was substantially subpar to the “snack” beforehand, and seriously, how much food can one eat in a four hour period? (I really should have eaten more of the pasta.) I didn’t even mention the Viennese Hour following this… gluttony at it’s finest.

Mini Twice Baked Potatoes

 

I’ve been to weddings with buffets but I can’t seem to warm up to food that has been sitting there and picked over by a multitude of strangers. A personal OCD situation but nonetheless, still unappetizing. People eat more than they need to or probably want to (hence the increased cost), but who wants to see full pans of food just sitting there? It’s like they’re calling out to you, “Come eat me! Don’t let me go to waste!” And of course, you must obey.

So many weddings and so many times I’ve been unable to talk to people because we’re stuck at a table eating. It’s not as fun as dancing and mingling, but we do expect a good meal. (yes, we’re there for the bride and groom too!)

Gouda Grit Cakes with Shrimp and Bourbon Glaze

Aren’t we there because it’s a celebration, a time to catch up with people you haven’t seen for a while or meet for the first time? You don’t want to sit all night, and especially don’t want to if the ones you’re sharing the table with have no personality!                                                           

As a caterer and owner of The Twisted-Fork, I wish more brides and grooms would choose to have finger food receptions or food stations. It’s so much more fun!

 

My specialty is making big food small, so I guess I may be a little biased, but hear me out. When you have a reception of finger foods or stations, you have a variety of foods to choose from which is great for foodies and is also more accommodating to guests with dietary restrictions.

You can mingle, talk and dance and people can eat when they want instead of being sent to the troughs at relegated times. More often than not anymore, this type of reception can be quite creative. Sliders, pasta or donut stations, mini potatoes stuffed like that big one you have at the steak house, and lasagne that can be eaten in one bite but with the same big flavor punch. For a caterer and foodie like myself, this is considered nirvana.            

Other than throwing out the thought of a traditional wedding meal, this plan can really work for anyone and everyone. It can still work with your budget and style. Your stomach will still be satisfied and your guests will still be happy. You can have tables and chairs for everyone but if your space is limited take away a little of the seating and this is a great way to have everyone attend comfortably.

Basil Cheesecakes with Tomato Jam

So please, do me a favor. Get that rubber chicken idea out of your head and start thinking of Mini Chicken Parmesan Meatballs or a Mashed Potato Bar with a variety of toppings. Put your own stamp on it and let your taste buds walk on the wild side. You’ll be happy you did and you’ll make me one happy caterer.

 

Love Was In The Air

Sometimes, like this past week, you watch true love in action. The royal couple put on a splendid wedding that didn’t disappoint. Other times, something more subtle might come along, albeit with the same level of love and passion. The only difference is, the entire world doesn’t get to view it.

I’m talking about the marriage of Mike and Annette. Two people I can now call friends. I had the honor of catering their wedding a couple of weeks ago. It was a small wedding, but can we say quality versus quantity because they didn’t want anyone there that didn’t matter to them. It was a ceremony that only included friends and family that have always been a part of their life, and that is why I was so honored to be a part of it.

I don’t know their love story, except that one day Mike had a sparkle in his eyes and he started talking about this girl. I met Annette once or twice before the wedding and thought how nice and how pretty, but I didn’t really know the depth of love they had for each other.

Until I watched them take their vows and dance the first dance.

I can’t say that I saw fireworks or stars, it was much more subtle than that. As I watched, it was more like a warm glow that filled the room, a beating of the heart, a goosebump that crawls along your arm and the tender look they gave each other. It was the love story we all want to feel in our own lives.

I was happy to be a part of this, to share my food that I made for them with the same intensity of love in my heart. I was fortunate to be a part of something so special. It was a wedding I won’t forget.

Chicken BBQ sliders
Mini Crab Cakes with Smokey Remoulade
starters

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