Cater.com: What are some small details that can elevate from ordinary to extraordinary without breaking the bank?
Doug & Mary: At Classic Catering we believe small details are what make an event successful. Presentation is very important to us and is something that sets us apart from other caterers. We like to coordinate the buffet décor with the client’s theme. Examples may include color of linens, angles and elevations for food presentation, specialty décor items along with style and types of serving dishes.
Cater.com: Can you share a particular dish or menu that you feel really pushed the boundaries of your creativity or culinary abilities?
Doug & Mary: The Smoked Citrus Vodka Salmon is one of the most popular and beautiful dishes on our menu. Smoking salmon can be tricky as a beginner, because timing is everything. As with many menu items, this dish has evolved and can be a delicious hors d’oeuvres or entrée selection for any event. It is marinated overnight in a citrus and vodka rub. Then smoked at 150 degrees for 2 ½-3 hours. It is served room temperature with the traditional accompaniments and house made crostini’s.
Cater.com: You’re known for your imaginative menus and presentations. Is it possible to create an impressive and creative meal and event on a tight budget or is it better to stick with the basics?
Doug & Mary: An impressive and creative meal does not always have to be over the top. When you cater an event, the host is not your only client; you also have to consider the guests. When the guests are impressed, so is the host. In order to appease a large audience, you have to be realistic about the different taste buds to which you are catering. At Classic Catering, rather than trying to come up with the next big thing, we like to build upon the classic dishes that everybody knows and loves. We focus on quality with a Classic twist. For example, we hand make our Pancetta-wrapped Mac & Cheese Cups which are always a huge hit as an hors d’oeuvre. It is bite-size, convenient, and a classic favorite; who doesn’t like bacon and mac-n-cheese?!
Cater.com: Congratulations on celebrating your 23rd successful year in business, in addition to your 25th wedding anniversary! What key insights have you gained both about catering and running a business together as a couple?
Doug & Mary: For any couple, whether you work together or not, communication is the key. For our situation, we work hard to always be on the same page regarding our business goals, operations, financials, etc. It is also necessary to take time away from work to be a couple. Owning your own business makes it hard to step away, but making time for days off and vacations helps to refresh our minds and relationships.
Cater.com: If you could plan a no expense spared celebration for these incredible milestones, what would your event look like?
Doug & Mary: A fun and casual party at our house with all of our friends and family present to help us celebrate. We would book our favorite bands such as vintage Prince, ELO and BTO for Doug, and Jimmy Buffett for Mary. We would have crazy mouse races, casino style gaming, magicians and balloon artists, anything that will make our guests laugh for entertainment. The food would include all of the city’s food trucks, serving their specialties. That way we don’t have to cook and we can enjoy someone else’s food.
Cater.com: Classic Catering also offers bar services for private events. What are some important questions when it comes to bar packages that clients may not think to ask?
Doug & Mary: A question most people don’t think about is insurance and if the company is operating legally. You will want to make sure that they carry their state and city’s liquor licenses, and have separate bar insurance coverage. It is also important to have professional bartenders that are not only are skilled in pouring a delicious drink, but also are responsible to safely serve guests.
Cater.com: We know that you enjoy looking at various catering company’s websites around the country. What sites to you visit most often and what resources to you use to get fresh ideas and inspiration?
Doug & Mary: For catering ideas we like Food and Wine, Catersource and Food Network. We also will view different catering companies on The Knot and Wedding Wire. For personal inspiration, we follow Dr. Michelle Robin “Small Changes Big Shifts”, Arête High Performance Advisors with Tom Hill Institute, and Rising Above with John O’Leary. Anyone, no matter what growth curve they currently are on, should connect with these dynamic individuals who are consistently empowering people and changing lives.