“…We pride ourselves on pure customization and enjoy creating menus for any flavor or region.”
Klassic Katering began as a dream for owner Karen Chapman over 17 years ago. As a teacher, social worker, school administrator, full-time mom, and the wife of a cancer patient, it was time for a change. Living in the south, BBQ seemed like the natural choice for a startup caterer, and so the fulfillment of her dream began. With a backyard BBQ grill in the trunk of the car, the success of selling KC’s famous pulled-pork sandwiches up and down I-10 came at the rate of less than $10.00 a day.
Soon after a friend asked Karen to cater one of Tallahassee’s premier events for more than 200 people. Over night KC’s BBQ transformed into what is now known as Klassic Katering, and Karen life changed forever. Her specialty is creating custom menus of all styles to suit each client’s taste. From the freshest seafood to the finest aged beef to the continuation of smoking their own meat, Klassic Katering does it all.
Now, years later Klassic Katering is honored to still cater that same event along with several hundred other events each year. The Klassic Katering team now includes an event coordinator, marketing and public relations professional, kitchen manager, chef, sous chef, bartenders and over 20 banquet staff members.
Cater.com: Your specialty is creating new and innovative menus and food presentations. Can you share an example where you had the opportunity to create a dish that really reflected the unique background, culture and/or tastes of a client?
Karen: We had a wedding where the Bride was Cuban and the Groom was Japanese. Their main course was two action stations, a Cuban Station and a Japanese Station. The Cuban Station included chef pressed Cuban sandwiches, black beans & white rice bowls, sweet plantains, tostones and chocolate Cuban cigars. The Japanese Lettuce Wrap Station allowed the guest to choose from different types of marinated meats, assorted toppings and sauces, then their selections were hand wrapped in lettuce leaves by one of our chefs. By designing a custom menu we were able to showcase both of their heritages and allow the guests to sample food from both of their cultures.
Cater.com: Where do you look for inspiration when creating new dishes? How much do the seasons and local farmers markets influence the direction of your menus?
Karen: Factors such as the current season and the client’s personal tastes has a big impact on new dishes. We like to use farm to table produce, as well as fresh & local seafood when the product is available. The quality of these ingredients makes even the simplest dishes that much better!
Cater.com: What are some signature dishes and flavors that you feel really reflect your region?
Karen: Since we are in the south most of our events tend to have a “southern chic” theme. Items such as Shrimp & Cheesy Stone Ground Grits and Brown Sugar Bacon Wrapped Sausage with Klassic’s own Raspberry Sauce, would top the list of preferred menu items. However, we pride ourselves on pure customization and enjoy creating menus for any flavor or region. This is what sets us apart from our competitors and the reason we love our clients. Every menu is different and no client is the same. Our chefs have become well versed in preparing diverse menu flavorings, and love learning new flavors as well.
Cater.com: The foundation of Klassic Katering was built on BBQ. Do you think that people can create great BBQ offerings in their backyard or is it usually best to hire a professional for best results? Do you have any secrets or tips that you’d be willing to share with our readers?
Karen: The art of BBQ takes time and practice. To guarantee the best results, we recommend hiring a professional who understands how to smoke and grill to perfection. BBQ styles vary from state to state and everyone cooks BBQ differently, so it would be really hard to give tips. My advice would be to hire a local professional that specializes in your style of choice.
Cater.com: What are some ways that you remove all of the stress from your client’s big day and allow them to be a guest at their own event?
Karen: In addition to catering, we also provide event planning services, bartending and rental coordination that can help take the burden off the client. By providing these additional services we are able to ensure that the entire event is executed to perfection. We will see to every detail.
Cater.com: What do you keep in your bag of tricks when it comes to troubleshooting at an event?
Karen: I always try to anticipate any potential problems in advance, troubleshoot them quickly, and utilize my staff’s abilities whenever we can. We prefer not to inform the client of a problem, unless absolutely necessary. If it can be addressed without having to upset them, we would prefer to do so.
Cater.com: If you were throwing yourself a party with no expense spared, what would your dream event look like?
Karen: If no expense was spared, I would use the finest china with the most beautiful décor and tons of fresh flowers everywhere. There would be a huge cocktail hour with a variety of passed high quality hors d’ oeuvres. The main course would consist of both chef attended action stations and small plates. I would finish the night with a simple and elegant dessert bar to treat everyone. I believe fabulous food is a crucial factor for a successful event. That, and of course a DJ who knows how to get the crowd moving!
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