An expatriate of New Orleans – and professional chef – who has lived in Los Angeles since her childhood, blogs about the journey from New Orleans to Los Angeles back to New Orleans, and points along the way.

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A Chocolate Fest for Valentine’s Day

Posted by on Feb 11, 2011, 4:59 pm in Food and Drink, Recipes-Sweet, Seasonal Celebrations, Small Pleasures Catering | 0 comments

A Chocolate Fest for Valentine’s Day

Any Valentine’s Day Chocolate Fest would be happy to include this Chocolate Truffle Torte.

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A Trio of Winter Vegetables- and a Recipe for Cauliflower in Brown Butter

Posted by on Feb 2, 2011, 2:28 pm in Food and Drink, Recipes-Savory, Small Pleasures Catering | 0 comments

A Trio of Winter Vegetables- and a Recipe for Cauliflower in Brown Butter

For Christmas dinner this year, I served a big platter of three winter vegetables, each pan roasted with slightly different ingredients- the brussels sprouts with cream, garlic and mixed herbs, the broccoli with olive oil, garlic, lemon zest and rosemary, and this lovely cauliflower in brown butter.

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Event Professionals Share Food and Drink Trends for 2011-Part 2

Posted by on Jan 7, 2011, 2:39 pm in Entertaining Trends, Small Pleasures Catering | 2 comments

Event Professionals Share Food and Drink Trends for 2011-Part 2

Event professionals nationwide share food predictions for 2011’s special events.

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Event Professionals Share Food and Drink Trends for 2011-Part 1

Posted by on Jan 4, 2011, 9:34 am in Entertaining Trends, Food and Drink, Small Pleasures Catering, Special Events | 1 comment

Event Professionals Share Food and Drink Trends for 2011-Part 1

Sharing predicted food and drink trends from event professionals for 2011.

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Posted by on May 13, 2010, 5:55 pm in Small Pleasures Catering | 1 comment

I am off to Camp Blogaway where I 'll be communing with food bloggers from all over the country. I'll report back when I return in a few days.

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A Mother’s Day Brunch- with Mixed Berry Shortcake for Dessert

Posted by on May 8, 2010, 3:07 pm in Food and Drink, Recipes-Sweet, Seasonal Celebrations, Small Pleasures Catering, Special Events | 1 comment

Mother’s Day is the second busiest day of the year for restaurants, after Valentine’s Day. But my mother finds eating in a restaurant on Mother’s Day depressing, so we prepare a special brunch celebration of Mom at home.

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The Advantages of a “Boutique Caterer”-Part 2

Posted by on Apr 27, 2010, 3:31 pm in Reflections on the Catering Life, Small Pleasures Catering, Tips on Hiring a Caterer | 0 comments

The Advantages of a “Boutique Caterer”-Part 2

Okay, here are my further thoughts on the advantages of hiring a "boutique caterer" (I hope you've taken the time to read Part 1 on the advantages of hiring a boutique caterer)-oh, and btw, in case I didn't say it before, let me admit to you right up front that I'm biased. I strongly believe that unless you're having a party for say, a 1,000 or so of your closest friends (I have to insert a little aside here-a catering friend of mine, who does sometimes cater for a 1,000 or so, once told me that she thought it was pretty easy for a caterer used to doing parties for 100 to scale up to parties for a 1,000. Hmmmm, I wonder if that's easier than the other way around ?), there are definite benefits to hiring a smaller caterer, and getting more attention from your caterer (the owner of the company, not just someone in their office) is one of them, especially if you are having a smaller party. I once had a client who was planning a wedding for 40 guests, tell me that she called one of the big name caterers in town before she called me. "Frankly" she said "I felt like they weren't even that interested in talking with me." Often larger caterers will preoccupy themselves with the overall operational aspects of the business, but tend to delegate the management of individual events (again, especially smaller events), while the owner of a smaller company will most likely actually show up and work at your event. I make it a point to attend just about all of my events- in 14 years, I've missed only a handful. The larger “household name” catering companies may have several events at the same time, and since they can't be several places at once, yours may not rate them personally being there. And I know I talked about the staffing advantages with a small caterer last time, but here's another little secret. If a large catering company has several events at the same time, they may have to supplement their regulars with brand new staff, or even temp agency workers. Now it's very possible that the staff will be excellent, but you may very well lose the benefit that comes with people who have worked many parties together and understand each other's shorthand. Here I am below with a young party guest! Bon Appetit! And please visit my other blog, pain perdu. Gisele...

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The Advantages of a “Boutique Caterer”-Part 1

Posted by on Apr 22, 2010, 12:19 pm in Reflections on the Catering Life, Small Pleasures Catering, Tips on Hiring a Caterer | 1 comment

The Advantages of a “Boutique Caterer”-Part 1

I was chatting this morning with someone about the food business, in general, and the catering industry specifically, and when she asked more about my company, I used the term boutique caterer to describe Small Pleasures Catering. “You mean like a boutique hotel” she asked. Exactly! Wikipedia describes boutique hotel as a term used “to describe intimate, usually luxurious or quirky hotel environments. Boutique hotels differentiate themselves from larger chain/branded hotels and motels by providing personalized (and highly attentive, I might add) accommodation and services…” I went on to give her what I thought were a couple of the advantages to hiring a boutique caterer, and related this story to her. I once-in the early days of my company, lost a job (an office party for 250 guests), because the prospective client was concerned about my being able to handle that large a number. The office manager, who had recommended me for the job, had been a guest at an intimate wedding shower I had catered, and really fought for me. In the end, she said, they decided to go with a company that catered parties for 1,000’s. Talk about overkill! A truly successful event depends largely on the quality of the team, and even though I was new to running a catering business, I knew this dirty little secret. Bigger companies often have less experienced staff people working their parties. Here are some of the reasons why. Catering staff are freelancers, they work with a variety of caterers around town. So, at best, you will get the same quality staff with a smaller caterer as with a larger one. More likely, you will get less experienced people. People starting out working in the catering world will often start with the big companies, but eventually get burned out, and move on to smaller companies. They will often get paid more at smaller companies (yes- another dirty little secret- even though the larger companies will charge at least as much and maybe more for their staff, they usually pay most of the staff less). Additionally, the servers, bartenders and chefs, prefer working in a more personalized environment. In my company for example, I have had a core group of party staff that has been with me for years. I know everybody’s name (larger caterers often don’t even know the names of people working their parties). In fact, I know them very well. I know their likes and dislikes, their strengths and weaknesses, and their "energy", if you will, so I can staff them accordingly. They also know each other very well, and we all have a sort of short hand when it comes to working together. And because they have been loyal to me, I like to believe they are happier working with me (and I work to keep them happy), and have more of a stake in the success of my company. Tune in next time to hear another advantage! And please visit my other blog www.smallpleasurescateringblog.com/painperdu  ...

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Celebrating Earth Day -40 Years Later-with Asparagus and Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes

Posted by on Apr 17, 2010, 2:18 pm in Food and Drink, Recipes-Savory, Small Pleasures Catering | 0 comments

Celebrating Earth Day -40 Years Later-with Asparagus and Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes

I had no idea then I would end up cooking professionally, but 25 years later, after working in the restaurant, hotel and catering industry in New York, I returned to the Bay Area to attend culinary school- btw, I lived right next door to the house with the organic garden of those early years.

Now, I regularly shop, for both my personal consumption and for parties I cater, at any of several local farmer’s market, and indeed, locally grown and organic produce have become a big trend in the catering business.

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Stirring It Up in Los Angeles for Haiti Relief

Posted by on Feb 23, 2010, 12:24 pm in Food and Drink, Shameless Self Promotion- Sharing Successes, Small Pleasures Catering, Special Events | 1 comment

Stirring It Up in Los Angeles for Haiti Relief

Thanks to all of you who supported Small Pleasures Catering and the people of Haiti by attending Los Angeles’ Stir It 28 event. It was a great time- lots of yummy food (courtesy of Small Pleasures, of course, and The Cheese Impresario, as well as the food blogging community of L.A.), wonderful libations (courtesy of The Liquid Muse, Grey Goose Vodka, Sutter Home Wines, and Fre-Wines). Oh-and a very special thank you to Greg of sippitysup who opened his lovely Hollywood Hills home to us. Even the weather, while iffy for a moment, cooperated. The energy amongst the food blogging community kept the Greg’s lovely kitchen buzzing. I am still amazed that such a vibrant and supportive community has developed in L.A. in such a short time, and it all started on line! And, as it was a food blogging event, there were cameras snapping the whole time, so here are some great pics to share with you. All I can say is- okay, when’s our next event?   Here's Small Pleasures' Bruschetta and Dessert bar, with display design by the fabulous Tom Coffey, one of our company's talented team members. Click here to check out our complete menu. Photo Courtesy of Patti at WorththeWhisk Tapenade and Sun Dried Tomato Red Pepper Pesto – Photo Courtesy of Eric Charbonneau and Grey Goose The Baked Brie with Caramelized Apples was a big hit! Photo Courtesy of Eric Charbonneau and Grey Goose As were the profiteroles- more about them in my next post! Photo Courtesy of cinemon girl Here's our featured team- Chrystal Baker of DuoDishes, who organized our L.A. segment of Stir It 28, Greg Henry of sippitysup, me (your small pleasures catering chef and chief bottle washer), Natalie Bovis-Nelsen, aka The Liquid Muse, Christophe Name of Grey Goose, and Barry Lynn Krich, aka The Cheese Impresario   Ah- and there were plenty of our next generation of foodies on hand- here I am with my favorite young apprentice! Photo Courtesy of Patti at Worth the Whisk...

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