Featuring Peggy Welch of A Tasteful Affair
Your team has such extensive experience in the food service industry. It’s really impressive! So could you start by telling us a bit about you and your team? About A Tasteful Affair?
We love what we do and we are dedicated to providing the finest gourmet catering at reasonable prices. I teamed up with Executive Chef Kevin Kerciu after my retirement from the corporate world in 2004 and opened A Tasteful Affair Catering. We currently operate out of the Pleasanton Masonic Center and provide catering for the entire San Francisco Bay Area.
Great food is a sure sign of a fabulous event. But taste can be such a specific thing. How do address people’s variety of taste pallets in the food you provide?
Through years of experience, fresh ideas, and careful observation, we have developed packages and dishes that can be enjoyed by a wide range of pallets. Taste-proven selections alongside a variety of choices ensure that our clients and their guests will be leaving with full, happy stomachs.
You do food service catering for so many different types of events: weddings, birthdays, barbecues, picnics, cocktail parties, etc. Is your process similar for different types of events? Which are your favorite to cater?
While each event is unique, weddings are easily the most rewarding experience. It’s a great feeling to help create the perfect day for a newlywed couple. The processes for weddings and other larger events are more thorough and require a lot of time and thought in the planning stages to ensure that everything rolls out smoothly.
What has been the event you loved working on the most?
The most exciting event we have worked on was definitely the 75th Anniversary for Gallo Winery. The weekend-long celebration began with a luncheon for 2,000 VIP guests, the menu including New York Steak and Champagne Chicken grilled on site, served with Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Haricot Verts, Oven Roasted Mushrooms, and Warm Artisanal Breads. 10,000 employees and family friends arrived the next day to enjoy a full-course picnic with carnival games and wine tasting.
As a caterer, what sorts of images do you like receiving from the photographer at an event? What is one thing you wish photographers realized about catering when they took pictures? How does Two Bright Lights fit into your process of receiving images (if at all)?
Caterers are always in the market for photographs of cuisine presentation, servers in action, and guests having a great time! We would absolutely love to showcase each of our events, but we are often so busy that it’s difficult to find time for photos. The idea behind Two Bright Lights looks to be a fantastic way of connecting wedding vendors with photographers.
Catering is more than just amazing food, it’s also about stellar service and presentation. Could you tell us a bit about your service and presentation philosophy?
Our buffet and plate presentations set us apart. I got into the catering industry because of my love for designing tablescapes and buffet tables. In past events, we’ve incorporated LED lighting, glass blocks, fountains, and even gongs in some of our themed presentations. Guests eat with their eyes first, so we always want to ensure that both senses are excited.
Which dish do you all prepare that makes your mouth water every time? ‘
Chef Kevin and I both thought of our Stuffed Butternut Squash with Jack cheese, lentils, leeks, northern white beans, and tofu, drizzled with a harissa yogurt sauce. The combination of flavors and textures are absolutely delicious even if you’re not a vegetarian.
Are you an hors d’ourves, main course, or dessert sort of person?
Before I got into this business, hors d’oeuvres had always fascinated me. I would find myself constantly searching and collecting small bites recipes, which would later be incorporated into our menus. The presentation possibilities are endless when you have a variety of small, creative items to display. One of our favorite themed menus is the Tour of San Francisco, a collection of stations featuring hors d’oeuvres from the different ethnic neighborhoods throughout the city.
Could you tell us a bit about your dish design process? Who or what inspires you?
We’re consistently surrounded by inspiration for new menu items. Whether it’s the introduction of new ingredients from our wonderful purveyors, or the reminiscence of a special dish on vacation, we are always brainstorming for fresh ideas.
Tell us about why you started A Tasteful Affair. What have the biggest challenges been? What has been the most rewarding parts?
A Tasteful Affair was an idea sparked between two foodies during a quiet, afternoon dinner. Within two weeks, we had found a kitchen and formed a solid business plan. We’re still in the infant stage as a company, but we’ve experienced steady growth each year we’ve been in business.
What advice would you give aspiring caterers?
Anybody who may be interested in starting his or her own catering company should first hire on with an established catererto get an idea of the detailed planning and physical labor involved. It takes a lot of dedication to create a beautiful event. However, if the pace fits your lifestyle, running a business in this industry can be incredibly rewarding.