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Thinking Inside a Box

Editor’s note: One of the iconic images you will see whenever you encounter the Marcia Selden Catering & Events brand is a pair of red lips, poised for a smooch. Robin explained that her grandmother was Miss Cuba 1938 and a Palmolive girl, who danced in several of the Ziegfield Follies shows. “She was the image of a ‘40s beauty queen,” Robin said. “She always had her red or hot pink lipstick on, and it really became a thing for us, initially started as my mom’s [Marcia’s] obsession.” Today you will find this family-owned business touting signature lip candies, cookies, stickers, coasters, and even masks, all in homage to a beautiful person who could captivate an audience with a single glance.

Who on earth would think that we would ever, as luxury, restaurant-style caterers, be psyched about creating interesting and exciting food boxes? If you told me we’d be doing this a year ago—as we were deeply immersed in our most successful year in
our 40 years of business— I would have told you that you were out of your mind! But in 2020, we literally had to stop catering as we knew it and begin to specialize in socially distanced, safely served and serviced catering.

Many of our incredible corporate and nonprofit clients embraced our parties in a box concept, and we have been doing events this way now for hundreds of people at a time, even shipping the boxes nationally (look out Harry & David!).

We see that people still need to celebrate life’s moments: it is our job to help them during these challenging times. In addition to parties in a box we assembled “Polo Picnics” in a box to sell at the Greenwich Polo matches. Boxes for our boating clients were called “Marcia’s Maritime” and for our jetsetters with private planes we offered “Marcia’s Medallion Club.” We designed really cool branding and packaging to elevate the experience for all the variations, which set us apart from anything else that they could get locally. We also created a loyalty program for each of these, encouraging repeat business and giving them an opportunity to receive discounts based on their orders. Listen, regardless of how wealthy someone is, when you put an incentive program in front of them, they bite! It is soft sales and it makes it easy for our sales team to get the repeat business.

As caterers, we create memories and evoke joy through an experience that tastes really great! Our clients currently want home cooked meals that show up to their doorsteps (contact free in most cases). They don’t care about the garnish or what micro green sits on top. They appreciate seasonal, locally sourced, and fresh ingredients that are cooked really well. Our dishes highlight the ingredients—no over seasoning or saucing...very Tuscan in feel with EVOO, lemon, garlic, sea salt, and fresh pepper. All they have to do is to warm them when they are ready to eat. They show up as pre-packaged meals and we have been told that many of our customers eat them right out of the about less fuss! 

See Robin Selden this July at The Special Event + Catersource Conference & Tradeshow in Miami. Learn More.

In addition to the custom catered experiences we are known for, I’m most excited about our newest concept called “Dinner-Parties.” Specifically, we will provide a turn-key “Dinner-Party” complete with unique and curated menus, custom printed menu cards, tabletop rentals that are designed based on the menu theme, florals to complement the tabletop, awesome wines, and specialty crafted cocktails. Our thought was to take the stress and the work out of entertaining and to provide our clients with everything they needed to host a perfect dinner party at home.

It comes down to the experience. If you make something memorable and delicious, people will never forget that. And, when we are on the other side of this pandemic, they will hire you again to create their in-person celebrations.  

 Robin Selden

Robin Selden

Managing Partner/Executive Chef, Marcia Selden Catering & Event Planning, Stamford, CT

Robin Selden, Managing Partner/Executive Chef. Robin, Marcia’s daughter and the mom of twins, has guided the company’s kitchen for the past 16 years.  The creative force behind the design and inventive cuisine at Marcia Selden Catering. She brings panache to every occasion. Robin, an artist herself, imparts a fabulous design sense to every event.  Robin’s boundless energy brings a contagious joie de vivre to Marcia Selden Catering.