I was so thrilled to have the opportunity to catch up with Phoebe, one of Chef’s Choice Catering’s Catering & Sales Coordinators, about all things food for spring! Laura and The Lily Crew have always told me what a pleasure it is to work with their amazing staff and to enjoy their delicious food. When I attended a private event hosted by Chef’s Choice, I remember truly enjoying getting to know everyone on the team better and indulging in the amazing and ever-creative culinary creations! As one of our select caterers here at The Marmalade Lily, we value their attentiveness to the details and out-of-the-box thinking…I think you will sincerely enjoy learning more about the creative ideas from Chef’s Choice Catering for your perfect spread for a spring wedding or your next big event!
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Q: Thank you for agreeing to our little interview about catering today, Phoebe! We love everyone at Chef’s Choice and our brides just love your food and service. So what catering topic will you be enlightening us about today?
A: So the flowers and blossoms are blooming all across the Queen City at the moment, which means wedding season is fast approaching. As we gear up for another successful summer of wedding receptions, rehearsal dinners and bridal showers, we’re taking a closer look at some of our delicious dining options, from on-trend salad stations, to farm-to-table inspired menus.
Q: Awesome! So with that, tell us more about creating “The Perfect Spread for Spring Weddings!”
Over the last couple of years, catering trends have seen everything from donut walls to sushi stations, and the variety and scope of dining options available for wedding guests is expanding and improving year after year. One big trend that we’re excited to experiment with this summer are mix-and-match stations! By giving guests full creative control over the meal they choose, we’re inviting in an elements of fun, whimsy and theater. A popular option on our Stations Menu list is our Salad & Veggie Bar which combines fresh, seasonally inspired salads with your choice of Mediterranean grilled vegetables in a balsamic vinaigrette dressing, or a hearty orzo or couscous salad. We also have crowd favorites such as mixed fruit and berry salads with yogurt dipping sauce, and fresh crudité platters. Our ever expanding Stations Menu now features on-trend items such as chicken and waffles, gourmet mac-n-cheese, and a new and innovative station- layered Mason jar salads. Packed with the best seasonal produce, we’re delighted to now offer this “grab and go” style salad. Popular items include a layered Caprese Salad with grape tomatoes, mozzarella balls, fresh basil and baby spinach, or the Grilled Summer Chicken Salad with sliced strawberries, shaved parmesan, walnuts, and citrus vinaigrette. We design the layered salads with the dressings on the bottom, guests simply grab the salad they want, shake and enjoy!
“Grazing Stations” make for an exciting alternative to passed appetizers, especially if you have a more modest guest count and budget. These stand-alone displays can feature anything from our platters, trays and displays menu, as well as our hors d’ oeuvres menus- hot or cold! Carefully crafted displays will be constructed featuring décor and props from our warehouse inventory, which will delight and inspire your guests. Looking to play on the beautiful, rustic vibes of The Marmalade Lily? We’ll be sure to stock up on wooden platters, lanterns and stunning floral arrangements. During tasting sessions and follow up meetings, our dedicate sales team will work with you on perfect the image and presentation, being mindful of your chosen color themes and flower choices. Popular menu items for a grazing station include our Murray’s Gourmet Cheese Board (served with a variety of fresh fruits, crackers and breads), our Grilled and Chilled Vegetable Platter (asparagus, zucchini, squash, Portobello mushrooms and red peppers, grilled to perfection with a balsamic reduction), and our trio of hummus – traditional, roasted garlic served with an olive tapenade and crumbled feta, and roasted red pepper, all served with pita chips and assorted breads.
Looking for something a bit more familiar? Our extensive buffet menus range from traditional home-style dinners such as Glazed Kentucky Ham with Country Style Green Beans and Traditional Mash, to sophisticated entrées like our Carved On Site Beef Tenderloin with Herb Port Wine Reduction, or our Citrus and Jerk Seasoned Pork Tenderloin, served with a super summery Pineapple Mango Salsa. By far the most popular entrée choice (available in our Select, Gourmet, and Ultimate Fare Buffets) is our Grilled Chicken Breast with Citrus Buerre Blanc Sauce, which we often pair with our Seared & Braised Boneless Beef Short Rib. This delicious combination of meats and sauces plays well off one another, with the zesty lemon sauce packing a punch next to the burgundy beef stock. Why not pair this fantastic dual entrée selection with our seasonal roasted vegetable trio and some creamy three cheese mashed potatoes?
A big wedding trend that we’re really excited for is dessert stations! Though tiered cakes are proving as popular as ever, we’re seeing an uptick in couples requesting smaller dessert bites to be served at their receptions. Our in house pastry chef, Chef Bob, loves creating and baking new items, often redesigning our full sized plated desserts into mini versions. For the chocolate lovers amongst you, why not add a tray or two of our chocolate covered Oreo cheesecake bites, edible chocolate mousse cups, or for any OSU fans…try our mini Buckeye Tarts! For those with a super sweet tooth, we have mini lemon and blueberry cakes with herb mascarpone, Key Lime tartlets, raspberry swirl cheesecake bites and much more. With fall weddings starting to book, we have a fantastic autumnal range featuring pumpkin spice cheesecake bars, apple streusel bites, and a heavenly white chocolate and raspberry shooter. Available as standalone stations or in combination with a coffee station, our dessert bites are guaranteed party pleasers, no matter your crowd!
Q: As one of the companies Sales and Catering Coordinators, could you tell us a little bit about Chef’s Choice Catering in a nutshell?
A: Of course! It’s been close to 25 years since we branched away from just providing culinary and catering support to Kroger and began establishing ourselves as one of Cincinnati’s premier off-site catering companies. In addition to providing day-to-day services to corporate and non-profit clients, we’re proud to work with, and at, many of the Queen City’s most established and loved wedding venues. We specialize in making sure that your perfect day is filled with amazing memories, spectacular food, and outstanding, high quality service. From the first phone call to one of our Event Specialists to the cutting of the cake at your reception, we will be there to ensure you and your guests are listened to and looked after. Our dedicated sales and operations team have years of hands on event and wedding experience, handling an average of 80 weddings a year all across the tristate. Lead by Allison Linkhart, who served as a sales coordinator for 7 years before stepping into the sales manager role in early 2019, our sales coordinators Phoebe Male and Jenna Belting manage the vast majority of our weddings, and will be your first point of call when enquiring. Each member of the sales team has her own group of venues that she manages exclusively, meaning you will work with a sales manager or coordinator with a wealth of experience at your chosen wedding venue. Our commissary is located in the heart of Blue Ash, allowing us to service Northern Kentucky, all of Greater Cincinnati, parts of Indiana and a portion of the Centerville/Dayton area. We service a vast range of events, from intimate dinners for 20 guests, to large plated and served dinners for up to 800 guests. It is thanks to our ability to cater for such an extensive range of clientele, budgets and tastes that we are continually chosen by brides and grooms across the tristate to be their wedding caterer.
Q: What should our clients know about you that sets Chef’s Choice apart from the competition?
A: As a division of the Kroger Company, Chef’s Choice Catering has access to great buying power, allowing us to offer our clients a fantastic product at a competitive price year round. In turn, this allows us to work seasonally, making excellent use of the produce when it is at its peak but also being able to affectively source out of season produce at a reasonable price. Here at Chef’s Choice Catering we’re delighted to offer complimentary food tastings for groups of 4 or less to couples, to allow you to try some different menu items and select the perfect dinner for you and your guests. Menu tasting sessions are hosted at our commissary in Blue Ash and typically last an hour to an hour and a half. You’ll meet with your dedicated sales coordinator and one of our lead chefs who will guide you through your menu options and seasonal offerings. Call one of our Event Specialists to start creating a menu proposal today, and we’ll work on finding a date for you and your partner to stop by.
Q: Fantastic! This honestly made us SO hungry thinking about these amazing food stations. How can our clients get in touch with you for more information and to take the next step?
A: Give us a call at (513) 489 6006, email [email protected], or visit our website at https://www.chefschoicecatering.com/.