It’s been a minute. Well a few months actually… and I apologize, life was a little hectic in 2019 and I needed to take the time to do some soul searching. Blogging for me doesn’t come naturally. I’m not the best at writing and it’s important for me to make sure that I’m in the right head space when blogging, Mind, body and soul, so some distance was needed until I felt “myself” again.
If you were to have asked me in March 2019 where I saw myself by years end, I can most definitely tell you that I wouldn’t have expected myself to have gotten paid for food styling/photography from restaurants, cooked a steak and lobster feast for 40 people at a beautiful summer wedding or cooked private dinners for people in their homes. Like, WHAT?! Life sure does have a funny way of working itself out. I turned my heartbreak pain into fuel for my passion and the reward has left me feeling nothing but grateful and proud.
It all started with an instagram message (because it’s 2020 and no one calls each other anymore). My hairdresser and friend of 10 years had messaged me, flustered, that no catering company was getting her vision. She asked if I would do the food for her cocktail hour. She presented me with photos of what she was looking for and without hesitation I said, “absolutely”. Her wedding was small, only 40 people, and I knew this could potentially lead to more for myself. Not to mention I wanted her to be happy and stress free when it came to food for her wedding. What started out as a cocktail hour, quickly turned into me doing the main dinner as well, and with a little help, I was putting together a grazing table, shucking 75 oysters, cracking open 25 lobsters, and grilling a massive beef tenderloin I had prepped the night before. (Thank god for Champagne )
Everything was a success and I was so emotional. I was Beyond happy when I witnessed everyone together, enjoying conversation on such a special day, over the food I had worked so hard to prepare and execute. From that moment I knew I was on the right path. I belong in this industry.
With the helpful tool of social media and word of mouth in a small town. I gained some attention and have done a few private events since the wedding. Private parties, birthdays, work events for local businesses and I would love nothing more than to continue to do so. Next step is to have business cards made. I get asked all the time for one. I have to be honest I have held back from making them because I felt so much pressure on what to put as a “title”. But a good friend pointed out that what was most important was my contact information and not to be so hard on myself. I’m still figuring out what makes me the most satisfied in this broad industry. I feel a lot of pressure to start a business not only because everyone keeps telling me I should but because I look around and there are a lot of young women entrepreneurs in my city and that makes me feel like I HAVE to do that too. But I’m just not ready. I’m a perfectionist and I want to make sure I’m 100% ready and willing before committing myself to a life long project. For now I’m learning to trust the process. A side from making business cards I feel the next step is also educating the public on what it is I offer. So let’s start with grazing tables.
What is a grazing table?
The term grazing table might leave some confused, so I thought I would explain. Simply put, it’s a massive charcuterie board. Grazing is defined as “to eat small portions of food”. I build beautiful arrangements in which guests gather around and “graze”. The pictures are beautiful but it really is something to walk into a room and see a table, normally 6ft by 4ft, filled with assorted meats, cheeses, dips, spreads, breads, nuts, olives, etc. Orders can be customized and table decor can play on any theme. For example, I can easily do a soup and sandwich table for a corporate lunch event. A pancake breakfast table with fresh fruit and all the fixings. I would love to build a seafood table, covered in cooked and cracked lobsters, shrimp, scallops and grilled corn with potato salad. The possibilities are endless when it comes to ingredients on the table. For me it’s about the “wow” factor of making the tables look grand while still maintaining quality, local ingredients. I try my best to source local ingredients depending on season and support local bakeries and cheese shops. Dips and spreads I make myself, always trying to play along with themes or colours of the season. These tables can be as small or as large as you like, just depends on the event and budget. They are perfect for any cocktail hour or corporate event. Pricing varies depending on clients needs, location, ingredients, decor, and size. I like to sit down with my clients before hand and get to know them, and determine pricing after hearing their requests.
As someone who’s absolute favorite thing is to get dressed up and try out a new restaurant, there’s also nothing I hate more than paying 5X the amount for a bottle of wine or an over priced steak I can usually cook better myself. Wouldn’t it be nice to have another glass of wine with dinner without doing the math and calculating what your bill is probably at? Dining at home with friends does just that. Hiring someone to come into your home with a customized menu and wine pairings to accentuate flavours, can be just as romantic as dining out. (Plus you can literally wear sweats to dinner and no one will judge you). No need to worry about making a reservation, going out in freezing temperatures, limiting drinks because of driving… I can come to you!
If any of this appeals to you or maybe you know someone who is getting married or is planning an event/ celebration and is still in search of a caterer. Get in touch through my Instagram @ashleypa1ge or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.