ACE Inspiration: Cartewheels Catering, part 2

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May 19, 2017

Mid-March, winners of the ACE awards took the stage at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. To enter, each contender was asked to identify the two events the company completed that it felt best represented the company, as well as challenges and favorite aspects.

Throughout the year, will profile the winners and nominees of the 2017 ACE awards. In the next installation of our series, we are placing a keen eye on Cartewheels Catering, who took the ACE award for Operations under $2 million in the West region.

Catering • West region • Operations under $2 million • Cartewheels Catering

Yes Chef!! Chopped Champion and Pit Master Tie the Knot

It's not every day that a company has the opportunity to cater a wedding for a Chopped champion, and “although it was a bit intimidating at first,” said Cartewheels director of operations Emily Simpson, “once the tasting was behind us, this bride was sure we were just what she was looking for.”

The bride had strict criteria: taste, presentation, gracious service, and comfort. Although the budget was not typical for the company’s services, Simpson noted, “we felt such a connection with this couple that we were determined to work with them.” Both bride and groom were chefs in Houston, TX and the bride had just won Chopped. “We knew that many of the wedding guests would be their friends in the industry and we were awed and flattered to have the opportunity to work with them to create an event that exemplified family style,” said Simpson.


'Celebrity' does not always equal dollars in the bank, however. “This was not our usual couple with wealthy parents to foot the bill,” said Simpson. “These two were both young chefs with a limited budget and high expectations—which meant that we had to get creative with the menu as well as the service.” 

The event was presented family style, which required many servers. With 19 tables to serve, the company used 76 platters and 38 bowls. “We were fortunate to have a small kitchen from which to stage, but there was limited space to spread out platters and bowls. We concentrated on getting the full menu on one tray, so each table was served the complete menu at once,” said Simpson. The menu consisted of a pre-set kale salad, then family style Chile Glazed Pork Loin, Shiner Bock Braised Beef Short Ribs presented on Smoked Gouda Mashers, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Fall Roasted Carrot and Beet Salad, and Artisan Sourdough Boule with Whipped Herb Butter.

Favorite touches

There were many tasteful details but Simpson cites her favorite being the seating chart made on cutting boards. Various shapes and sizes of wooden cutting boards were displayed on rope stretched on an industrial pipe stand. Each board was numbered and listed the guests’ names—so appropriate for a wedding of two chefs!

The places were set with a simple napkin tied with twine and the place cards were threaded in the tines of the fork with a single rosemary sprig to finish the look.

Two signature cocktails were served: one was the Feges Old Fashioned with bourbon, Verna Amaro, Cocchi and Angostura bitters; the other was a Purslane Sour featuring gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, Topo Chico mineral water, and a splash of red wine. This drink was beautiful, Simpson enthused, because the red wine floated at the top.

After dinner the Whiskey Bar came out on a gold cart, and complete with custom ice cubes.

“We loved the flow of this event and the way the guests enjoyed having a family meal with lots of good food and laughter,” said Simpson. “The classic simplicity of this wedding with guests truly enjoying each other's company was refreshing.”

Next week on Sodexo at the Museum of Science and Industry’s Palos Community Hospital Holiday Gala

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