Terra Cuisine is a chef-owned Boston area catering company committed to providing delicious food that is locally sourced when available, and our menus are inspired by what’s in season.
Their influences come from the cuisines of New England, the Mediterranean and around the world. They cater a variety of events, from casual family celebrations to weddings to corporate events. Whatever your tastes, the Terra Cuisine team will create the perfect menu and presentation for the event.
Cater.com: What are some signature dishes that someone visiting New England for the first time should try?
Jane: The lobster roll is the first thing that comes to mind- you will find it everywhere. Seafood is very popular and extremely fresh, especially in the summer. There is so much of it here, especially shellfish- if you walk along the beaches on the north shore of Massachusetts, you will see beaches literally covered with purple mussel shells. Fish and chips, and any sort of fried seafood, show up in most restaurants, and scallops are usually very fresh and chowder, or course. It’s never, ever the red kind. I’ve also found that people really love their maple syrup here- even on savory food like chicken, seafood, and veggies. Dozens of apple varieties grow here in the fall. I love all of the local cider in the fall and pumpkin everything- pumpkin pie is not just for Thanksgiving.
Cater.com: What’s your favorite thing that you’ve bought at the farmers market in the last week and what are you going to do with it?
Jane: I bought some fava beans and asparagus. The fava is going in a ragu for olive oil braised artichokes, along with some fresh veggies, herbs, white beans, and homemade preserved lemons. It’s a classic Turkish dish with local ingredients. The asparagus will be for a shaved asparagus salad.
Cater.com: We love that you’ve started to learn more about foraging. What are some local ingredients in the area that you’re hoping to use in future menus?
Jane: I’ve just started learning about foraging, so right now I’m mainly eating what I find myself. I recently discovered that chive grows almost everywhere. Once you recognize it, it’s hard to walk in a wooded area in the spring around her and not find it. I also like garlic mustard and knotweed. Knotweed is a highly invasive weed that is only edible for a few weeds in late April/early May that tastes similar to rhubarb- it’s really sour.
Cater.com: You’re the only caterer in the area with such an extensive and creative selection of vegan and vegetarian dishes, while still offering amazing meat based dishes. Can you talk about the art of creating interesting vegan menus that also will appeal (and delight) the most steadfast carnivore?
Jane: I think my main advantage is that I am not a vegetarian myself, so I know what most meat eaters will like. I really hate vegan restaurants that try to imitate meat products. I’ve seen vegan chicken cutlets, vegan meatloaf and vegan hotdogs. I know what meatloaf is supposed to taste like, and that’s not it. It doesn’t satisfy my meat craving, it just reminds me that I’m not eating real meat. I prefer to just make things that taste like what they are, but keep the flavor combinations interesting. Many conservative eaters will label vegan proteins like seitan, tofu, and tempeh as “weird”, so I actually don’t use a lot of those products. Often if we know a party will have some picky meat eaters, we will do something more familiar like pasta for them and then mix that with more interesting dishes. There’s so much interesting vegetarian food around the world to get inspiration from. I take panisse, a Mediterranean French chickpea cake eaten as a snack, cut if bigger, then add an olive relish and Spanish Romesco sauce. I do a lot of tarts, which are always beautiful and can have all kinds of flavor combinations. We do some a lot of Middle Eastern foods- tagine, rice dishes, filo pastries- also Asian foods, Mexican foods, Italian- there’s a lot of cuisines to pull from. Mushroom dishes also add something a little hardier.
Cater.com: You’re entering an exciting stage of growth and are in the process of bringing your recipes to stores and supermarkets in the near future. What have you enjoyed most about the researching and planning stage of the process?
Jane: Owning a catering company was a major career change for me, so there was a lot to learn in getting this business set up. Selling food in stores is an entirely different enterprise, so there’s a lot to learn all over again. I’ve enjoyed narrowing down which products we will sell and coming up with fun names. I’ve been learning more about canning and making things like sauces shelf stable. I’m always cooking everything at the last minute to keep food fresh, so having one of my recipes made and in a jar ready to go if I need it is pretty awesome.