KQED Food Blog: Bay Area Bites: Living Room Events Catering
Bay Area Bites: culinary rants & raves from bay area foodies and professionals
Previous Posts
Picnic in the Park: Bacon Bites
Patricia Wells' Vegetable Harvest
Must See TV: Posh Nosh
Essencia Shows Peruvian a Light Touch
Chocolate Factory Tours
The Last Chinese Chef
Salinas Taco Trucks in Jeopardy
New York City Eating
Sharing the Sacred: Community Meals at Buddhist an...
Getting Stuffed
 
 
BAB Guidelines

'Bay Area Bites' is part of KQED's Blog Authors Collaborative. Blog contributors and commentators are solely responsible for their content. If you're interested in writing or contributing to a blog on kqed.org, email us with your idea.
 
Monday, June 18, 2007
Living Room Events Catering


As I've said before, to have me in your friend circle means I am your go-to for all edible recommendations. Most of the time this means that, after contacting me, people walk away with new eating and adventuring possibilities. But sometimes I tell people where to go for selfish reasons.

At weddings, for example. The food and cake can be notoriously awful at large functions. (In a recent talk at The Commonwealth Club, Charles Phan, chef/owner of The Slanted Door, reminded us that if we wanted to see restaurants buying, for example, sustainable seafood, we should think about speaking up at the next banquet dinner or luncheon we eat at or have at a hotel. "Because you can eat more Chilean Sea Bass in one day in a hotel than I could buy/sell at my restaurant in a year.")

When people come to me asking for wedding cake making expertise or the option to cater their wedding, I send them to people and companies who do a much better job than I ever could. People who make a living in said fields. I give them the cards of those who have never let me and my recommendation down. I give out the names of companies who have fed me well at the very same parties I could have catered myself, but thankfully chose not to.

Take it from me when I say not all catering companies are created equally. I've worked for many who make food I myself am scared to eat at the very functions I'm preparing or plating the food for! When I've worked for these places, I eat big meals beforehand and carry snacks for the moment I'm caught hungrily off guard.

And then there are the places where I show up to work hungry. Hungry to learn and to eat. Paula Le Duc, for example. PLD is the exclusive caterer for The Ferry Building Events. They are incredibly organized, smart, efficient, and serve some of the best food in the Bay Area, no matter if the party is for 5000 or 50. They are professional and friendly and emply hundreds of people, many of them loyal for years on end. I loved working for them and have sent a number of cooks their way. It's always a good sign when a catering company hires aggressively and competitively from within the restaurant industry.

Which brings me to Living Room Events, a company made up of almost exclusively restaurant people. They are a catering company dedicated to cooking food on par with signature Cal-Med restaurants such as Zuni, Chez Panisse and Oliveto. Their chefs shop at the same farmers' markets and produce companies that the famously local-seasonal restaurants do. So when my friends Victoria and Phil came to me for caterer advice, selfishly knowing I would be a guest at their gorgeous wedding, I strongly suggested LRE. As with all food businesses you can often be served something extraordinarily delicious in the "tasting," but then at the actual event, the food is sub-par. I only recommend companies where their follow through is as good, if not better, than how they sell it.

This past Sunday was the third time where I have been a happy guest of their services. The food and service were so good, people at the party were telling the waiters they wished the catering company would turn into a restaurant! And rumor has it that Living Room Events is, in fact, going to open a restaurant. I would have eaten three plates of savoury food had I not known how good the cake was going to be.



Wedding cakes are made first to dazzle us with our eyes. What's hiding under the 5 inches of buttercream, fondant or marzipan could be a cake made 6 months ago and stored in a deep freezer. You can get a raspberry cake in January, and much of the decorations could be edible ingredients whose digestibility is questionable, but that wedding cake could cost you tens of thousands of dollars and no one would wonder why a frosted dessert can sit in the heat of July's busy wedding month for the 6 or 7 hours it takes for the ceremony to start.

Having worked with Rachel Leising at Citizen Cake, owner of wedding cake business and now retail bakery Petite Patisserie in Potrero Hill, I can say that this woman's cakes taste as good as they look. Rachel is dedicated to seasonal, local, sustainable and Organic ingredients because they taste better. I have been at many a wedding and birthday party where I saved room for dessert and my only disappointment was there weren't more than two slices to eat!

I don't get paid to make these recommendations. I no longer work for any of these companies or people. But believe me when I say that it is better to pay the same or a little more for food and the work of food artisans whose product is far and above the quality of most of their competitors.

I know there are many more outstanding companies out there. Who do you love? Who do you recommend?

Labels: , , , , ,

 
 

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Betty Zlatchin Catering is wonderful. They are family-owned and they really care about the quality of the ingredients they use. Three years ago they did our wedding, and people are literally still talking about how great the food was.

6/18/2007 2:48 PM

 
Blogger Anita said...

In the Wine Country, Patisserie Angelica gets my vote.

Our wedding cake was gorgeous and delicious. People spontaneously tell us (a full five years later) that our cake -- a tiramisu-style confection: espresso-dipped vanilla-bean sponge with mascarpone filling -- was one of their favorite desserts ever ... not just their favorite wedding cake!

6/18/2007 5:16 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We used Organic Chef Catering for our wedding last year and my husbands work holiday party in 2006. Top notch - all the way. We worked with a woman named Eden, she helped us from start to finish on planning our wedding. We also liked that they had their own china ( Rosenthal china and Riedel glassware).

3/18/2008 9:44 PM

 

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

Locate CP Restaurants:
Check, Please! Google Map
 
KQED Food Sites
Check, Please! Bay Area
Jacques Pépin Celebrates!
Jacques Pépin:
Fast Food My Way
Jacques Pépin:
The Apprentice
Jacques Pépin:
The Complete Pépin
KQED Wine Club
KQED.org Cooking
Weir Cooking in the City
 
Tasty Food Sites
CHOW
Chowhound SF
Crushpad
CUESA
CulinaryCorps
Eat Local Challenge
Edible San Francisco
Epicurious
eGullet.org
Food Network
Food Talk
Group Recipes
Hungry Magazine
KTEH Food
Leite's Culinaria
Locavores
Mighty Foods
NPR: Food
Om Organics
Serious Eats
SFGate: Food
SFGate: Wine
SF Station: Restaurants
Slow Food SF
Top Chef
Wikimedia Commons: Food & Drink
Yahoo! Food
Yelp: Reviews
 
Tangy Food Blogs
101 Cookbooks
A Full Belly
Accidental Hedonist
agoodfoodblog
An Obsession with Food
Anna's Cool Finds
Becks & Posh
Between Meals
Blogsoop
Bunny Foot
Butter Pig
Cellar Rat
Chez Pim
Chocolate & Zucchini
Confessions of a
Restaurant Whore
Cooking For Engineers
Cooking with Amy
Cucina Testa Rossa
Culinary Muse
Denise's Kitchen
Digesty-SF
Eater SF
Eggbeater
Extramsg.com
Feed & Supply
Food Blog S'cool
Food Musings
Food Porn Watch
Gastronomie
Hedonia
I'm Mad and I Eat
In Praise of Sardines
Jatbar
Knife's Edge
Life Begins at 30
Love and Cooking
MeatHenge
Mental Masala
Moveable Feast
Nosheteria
Organic Day
Passionate Eater
San Francisco Gourmet
SF City Eats
Simply Recipes
Spicetart
The Amateur Gourmet
Tablehopper
The Ethicurean
The Food Section
The Grub Report
The Petite Pig
The Wine Makers Wife
Vin Divine
Vinography
VirgoBlue
Wandering Spoon
Well Fed Network
Word Eater
World on a Plate
Yummy Chow
 
 
   
Search BAB

Eye Candy: Food Photos
BAB on flickr.com
Join Flickr for free and share your photos with the Bay Area Bites and Beyond group pool.
 
Food Books
 
The Moosewood Cookbook
by Mollie Katzen
 
Baking: From My Home to Yours
by Dorie Greenspan
 
Grand Livre de Cuisine: Alain Ducasse's Desserts and Pastries
by Alain Ducasse, Frederic Robertmison
 
The Big Book of Outdoor Cooking and Entertaining
by Cheryl Alters Jamison, Bill Jamison
 
Tasty: Get Great Food on the Table Every Day
by Roy Finamore
 
Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way
by Lorna Sass
 
The Soul of a New Cuisine: A Discovery of the Foods and Flavors of Africa
by Marcus Samuelsson
 
Michael Mina: The Cookbook
by Michael Mina, Photographer: Karl Petzktle
 
What to Eat
by Marion Nestle
 
The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals
by Michael Pollan
 
Essence of Chocolate: Recipes for Baking and Cooking with Fine Chocolate
by John Scharffenberger, Robert Steinberg
 
Romancing the Vine: Life, Love, and Transformation in the Vineyards of Barolo
by Alan Tardi
 
What to Drink with What You Eat: The Definitive Guide to Pairing Food with Wine, Beer, Spirits, Coffee, Tea -- Even Water -- Based on Expert Advice from America's Best Sommeliers
by Andrew Dornenburg, Karen Page, Michael Sofronski
 
The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook: Stories and Recipes for Southerners and Would-be Southerners
by Matt Lee, Ted Lee
 
Bread Matters: The State of Modern Bread and a Definitive Guide to Baking Your Own
by Andrew Whitley
 
Coloring the Seasons: A Cook's Guide
by Allegra McEvedy
 
All-new Complete Cooking Light Cookbook
by Anne C. Cain
 
Modern Garde Manger
by Robert B. Garlough
 
The Spice and Herb Bible
by Ian Hemphill, Kate Hemphill
 
The Improvisational Cook
by Sally Schneider
 
Lunch Lessons: Changing the Way We Feed Our Children
by Ann Cooper, Lisa M. Holmes
 
Cradle of Flavor: Home Cooking from the Spice Islands of Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia
by James Oseland
 
My Life in France
by Julia Child, Alex Prud'Homme
 
A Passion for Ice Cream: 95 Recipes for Fabulous Desserts
by Emily Luchett, Sheri Giblin (photographer)
 
Au Pied De Cochon -- The Album
by Martin Picard
 
Memories of Philippine Kitchens
by Amy Besa, Romy Dorotan
 
Simple Chinese Cooking
by Kylie Kwong
 
 
An Invitation to Indian Cooking
by Madhur Jaffrey
 
Hungry Planet
by Peter Menzel, Faith D'Aluisio
 
Sunday Suppers at Lucques : Seasonal Recipes from Market to Table
by Suzanne Goin, Teri Gelber
 
Simple Soirees: Seasonal Menus for Sensational Dinner Parties
by Peggy Knickerbocker, Christopher Hirsheimer (Photographer)
 
The Cook's Book
by Jill Norman
 
Molto Italiano : 327 Simple Italian Recipes to Cook at Home
by Mario Batali
 
Nobu Now
by Nobuyuki Matsuhisa
 
Cheese : A Connoisseur's Guide to the World's Best
by Max Mccalman, David Gibbons
 
Bones : Recipes, History, and Lore
by Jennifer McLagan
 
Whiskey : The Definitive World Guide
by Michael Jackson
 
The New American Cooking
by Joan Nathan
 
ChocolateChocolate
by Lisa Yockelson
 
Easy Entertaining: Everything You Need to Know About Having Parties at Home
by Darina Allen
 
Cooking at De Gustibus: Celebrating 25 Years of Culinary Innovation
by Arlene Feltman Sailhac
 
Dough: Simple Contemporary Breads
by Richard Bertinet
 
Chocolate Obsession: Confections and Treats to Create and Savor
by Michael Recchiuti, Fran Gage, Maren Caruso
 
The Food Substitutions Bible: More Than 5,000 Substitutions for Ingredients, Equipment And Techniques
by David Joachim
 
Recipes: A Collection for the Modern Cook
by Susan Spungen
 
Spices of Life: Simple and Delicious Recipes for Great Health
by Nina Simonds
 
Mangoes & Curry Leaves: Culinary Travels Through the Great Subcontinent
by Jeffrey Alford, Naomi Duguid
 
Chocolate: A Bittersweet Saga of Dark and Light
by Mort Rosenblum
 
Vegetable Love: A Book for Cooks
by Barbara Kafka, Christopher Styler
 
A History of Wine in America: From Prohibition to the Present
by Thomas Pinney
 
Fonda San Miguel: Thirty Years Of Food And Art
by Tom Gilliland, Miguel Ravago, Virginia B. Wood
 
Matzoh Ball Gumbo: Culinary Tales of the Jewish South
by Marcie Cohen Ferris
 
Washoku: Recipes From The Japanese Home Kitchen
by Elizabeth Andoh, Leigh Beisch
 
 
Weir Cooking in the City: More than 125 Recipes and Inspiring Ideas for Relaxed Entertaining
by Joanne Weir
 
Rick Stein's Complete Seafood
by Rick Stein
 
The Great Scandinavian Baking Book
by Beatrice A. Ojakangas
 
Serena, Food & Stories: Feeding Friends Every Hour of the Day
by Serena Bass
 
John Ash: Cooking One on One: Private Lessons in Simple, Contemporary Food from a Master Teacher
by John Ash
 
The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook: Eating Well for Better Health
by Donald Hensrud, M.D., Jennifer Nelson, R.D. & Mayo Clinic Staff
 
Foods of the Americas: Native Recipes and Traditions
by Fernando and Marlene Divina
 
The Provence Cookbook
by Patricia Wells
 
Olive Trees and Honey: A Treasury of Vegetarian Recipes from Jewish Communities Around the World
by Gil Marks
 
Last Chance to Eat: The Fate of Taste in a Fast Food World
by Gina Mallet
 
Bouchon
by Thomas Keller
 
A Blessing of Bread: The Many Rich Traditions of Jewish Bread Baking Around the World
by Maggie Glezer
 
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
by Molly Stevens
 
On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen
by Harold McGee
 
Entertaining: Inspired Menus For Cooking with Family and Friends
by George Dolese
 
The Breath of a Wok: Unlocking the Spirit of Chinese Wok Cooking Through Recipes and Lore
by Grace Young, Alan Richardson
 
Cooking New American: How to Cook the Food You Love to Eat
by Fine Cooking Magazine
 
The Japanese Kitchen: A Book of Essential Ingredients with 200 Authentic Recipes
by Kimiko Barber
 
Arthur Schwartz's New York City Food: An Opinionated History and More Than 100 Legendary Recipes
by Arthur Schwartz
 
Poet of the Appetites: The Lives and Loves of M.F.K. Fisher
by Joan Reardon
 
Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes
by Jeffrey Hamelman
 
Everyday Dining with Wine
by Andrea Immer
 
 
Copyright © 2005-2008 KQED. All rights reserved.