When working with Victoria Canada Weddings & Events and Tamara with Petal Pushers, we always know we are in for an adventure, and a treat. Recently faced with the task of planning a wedding themed around the iconic painting, The Son of Man by Rene Magritte, we were excited and intrigued. This unique vision came together into the most memorable event; one to talk about for years to come.
As guests entered the Phoenix Art Museum (where else could you honor such a painting so well?) they immediately knew what they were in for. The Santa Barbara Catering team, all dressed the part in red ties and top hats, greeted guests with a glass bubbly to start the night off right.
Once the lovely couple finished their ceremony in the lobby of the Museum, everyone was invited back to the reception. After picking up their favors (bowler hats for the men, apple green wraps for the women) guests were welcomed with more Champagne (can you ever have enough?), Apple Martinis and Hors D’oeuvres.
There was something for everyone at this reception. The selection included brie and green apple quesadillas with raspberry dipping sauce, tempura battered squash blossoms filled with goat cheese and corn (YUM), chicken caesar skewers, and Dungeness crab salad on edible spoons.
The party did not end there. After a heartfelt toast, food stations opened in every direction. Guests noshed on Rosemary Scented Shrimp over Creamy Parmesan Grits, Beef Tenderloin a top Gorgonzola Risotto, Squash and Ricotta Ravioli in Spinach Bisque and a table of favorite Cheeses, Hummus and more, served on a custom table made just for the occasion by Petal Pushers (it was so beautiful we didn’t want to put food on it!).
As the guests enjoyed a jazz quartet and took in the scenery the night continued to unfold around them. No wedding would be complete without a cake, but this one had a special touch, a table made of red ties and a cake stand made of pants!
Santa Barbara finished off the night with a few touches of our own- Chocolate Cheesecake Lollipops, Raspberry Shortcake and what else but Baby Caramel Green Apples.
Congrats to the happy couple, Ruth & Jay, and thank you to Victoria Canada, Petal Pushers, the Phoenix Art Museum and everyone else who helped to make such a creative vision come true!
At Santa Barbara Catering, we love nothing more than creating fun and unique food stations! For a special nonprofit gala approaching, we set out to create modern stations featuring a fresh take on classic American food favorites. The Tempe Center for the Arts, a contemporary venue, provided the perfect backdrop to display these creative concepts.
Soup & Salad Bar
A sleek, modern white bookcase was the perfect structure for this de-constructed soup and salad station. Instead of standard greens, guests had a choice of beautiful cucumber-wrapped romaine or lolla rosa. Guests selected from more traditional toppings such as cucumber, shaved carrots, and chopped tomato, or they could be a little more adventurous with kalamata olives, feta cheese, shaved apples, toasted pecans, and chickpeas. The selections were displayed in martinis, cosmos and other modern glass vessels. The custom gourmet salads looked more like mini works of art than a meal! This station was eye-catching and a fun twist on healthy favorites.
Next stop- Clam Chowder! In only a few steps guests created their very own soup.
Step 1 – start with creamy New England or Zesty Tomato Manhattan broth.
Step 2 – add diced potatoes, diced carrots, and corn kernels sprinkled with herbs
Step 3 – top it off with fried clams, buttery sautéed onions and housemade oyster crackers
Step 4 – Enjoy!
After four easy steps guests were left with a personalized bowl of soup – now who can resist that?!
Food Bar- Not Your Ordinary Buffet
We decided to revamp the traditional buffet and instead created a large, interactive station. Chefs sautéed, grilled, seared, and designed a variety of beautiful small plates. Needless to say the Food Bar was a hit!
The dramatic infinity pool, striking fire features, and the brilliant blue lights of the Tempe Town Lake Bridge made for a breathtaking view from the TCA patio, but it was the gourmet plates at the food bar that kept the guests coming back all night! The stars of the night included pork belly sizzling on Himalayan salt blocks and finished with fig and honey gastric, chicken fried steak served with buttery mashed potatoes, open-faced Philly sandwiches prepared to order on large griddles, and grilled shrimp atop avocado-cucumber salad. The open-format of this station allowed guests to see all the action without having to wait in long lines.
There is nothing more all-American than a BBQ. Our final savory station was a combination of delicious fresh-from-the-grill favorites with a fabulous presentation. Flavorful mojito grilled chicken, sweet grilled pineapple, and colorful grilled peppers, purple onions and other veggies were displayed on skewer stands. Guests customized their plate by choosing their favorites among the fresh-from-the-grill meats, veggies, and fruits on the stands. The originality of the presentation and the flavor of the food made for a stand out skewer station!
All American Pies + Flaming Doughnuts
Favorite Pie Flavors + Cute And Easy-To-Eat Presentation + A Modern Tiered Display = The Perfect Dessert Station.
Popular pie flavors were paired with fun new presentations. Blueberry, Cherry and Apple Pie “Pops” were a bite sized versions of classic favorites. Red Velvet and Chocolate-Caramel Whoopie Pies were fun and delicious! Banana Cream, Chocolate Cream, Pecan, and Pumpkin Mini Pies kept guests coming back for more! These mini versions were easier to eat for guests mixing-and-mingling at the event, and allowed guests to sample more than just one flavor!
And for the grand finale there was Flaming Doughnuts! Yes you read right, FLAMING doughnuts! Oohs and aahs were heard in the crowd as Chefs flambéed housemade doughnuts. The flames lept off the pan and soared into the air! The doughnuts were then paired with vanilla gelato and a salted caramel sauce- a perfect flavor combination! It was the perfect end to a perfect event!
We were flying high at Caroline & Brian’s beautiful wedding this past December. The Tempe Center for the Arts made for a stunning backdrop, with panoramic views of Tempe Town Lake for the couple’s ceremony and reception. Every detail was perfect, thanks to the guidance of Cicely & Drew with Life Design Event Planning, and we have the photos to prove it thank you to the brilliant work of Jennifer with Ograce Photography. From the breathtaking ceiling, adorned with hundreds of hand-made, paper airplanes (crafted by none other than the bride & groom!) to the personalized stir sticks, this wedding will surely be one that we will never forget!
After a touching ceremony out on the patio, guests made their way into the lobby for some unique refreshments and delicious Santa Barbara Catering’s hors d’oeuvres. Guests chose from two customized Santa Barbara greet drinks- an iced Sugar Cookie Martini or a spiked hot chocolate Swiss Kiss!
Caroline was a joy to work with and was definitely a bride with an eye for detail. Even the stir sticks were personalized! Peppermint fire trucks represented the firefighter groom and butterscotch owls that symbolized the bride’s sorority, were placed atop their respective greet drinks. Not only did the stir sticks make for a beautiful presentation, but they added an extra pop of flavor to the delicious beverages.
The greet drinks weren’t the only things at this wedding that were tasty. During cocktail hour guests indulged in a variety of delectable hors d’oeuvres.
Santa Barbara servers hand passed savory Mini Ruebens, mouthwatering Pan Seared New Zealand Lamb Chops, and some of our popular Mini Brie En Croûte,
and Edible Spoons topped with tomato, basil, and mozzarella.
The name cards went with the theme and were cute little airplane- making such a simple detail a special one, and giving guests a glimpse of what was to come!
Once grabbing their planes, everyone made their way into the gorgeous Lakeside reception room. As guests entered the room bathed in purples and reds all you could hear were “Ooohs” and “Ahhs”. The site of hundreds of planes suspended from the ceiling was spectacular!
Next up was a delicious Dinner.
The first course was a field greens salad with goat cheese, raspberries, and pecans served with a raspberry vinaigrette.
Then guests chose from fontina and spinach stuffed chicken or braised beef short ribs. served with creamy yukon gold whipped potatoes and asparagus cooked to perfection.
Then dinner and dancing under a sea of planes!
We had such a fun time catering Caroline and Brian’s wedding, and always love working with Drew & Cicely with Life Design Event Planning, abd Ograce Photography. We wish the couple many years of happiness and are so glad we were able to be a part of their special day!
Shelley Hay Scanlon and Roy Harlan who works as an assistant pastry chef at Santa Barbara Catering have been sharing their passion for food for three years. They are graciously sharing with all of us.
Saidshesaidhe.com is a place where two friends share their monthly explorations in the culinary world. Each month, she and he take turns choosing a theme that spotlights the season’s regional produce or simply a culinary theme. Our goal is to experiment and share our recipes with a community passionate about food. We hope all enjoy what she and he have grown to love and as always we do love feedback. She and he do need a we.
he said Chunky Hazelnut Meringues
I’m a meringue lover. I know that most people don’t really care for them, but I have come to terms with that. They are so easy to make, with most ingredients sitting in the fridge or in the pantry. Some egg whites, sugar and whatever you want to bring into the mix. I got this recipe from Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-In-Your-Mouth Cookies by Alice Medrich and was very happy with the outcome. I will say on a side note, they are quite good with some chocolate ice cream and cherry jam. Just sayn’.
Chunky Hazelnut Meringues via Alice Medrich
5 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
5 oz toasted and skinned hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
3 large egg whites, room temp
1/8 teaspoon cream of tarter
4.625 oz sugar
Preheat oven to 300F, position racks in upper and lower thirds of oven
Set aside 1/5 of the chocolate and nuts to top the cookies
Combine the egg whites and cream of tarter in a dry clean mixer bowl. Beat on medium high speed until the egg whites reach soft peaks. Slowly add the sugar with the mixer going until you reach stiff peaks. Use a rubber spatula and fold in nuts and chocolate
Drop or pipe the meringue on a lined sheet pan, spacing them 1 1/2 inches apart. Top meringues with the reserved chocolate and nuts. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the meringues begin to turn golden. Rotate the pans from top to bottom and from front to back. Turn the oven down to 200F and bake for another 1 1/2 hours. Turn off the oven and leave the meringues in it to cool. Let the cookies cool completely before using or storing.
she said Ginger Molasses Cookies
So as you might have guessed, I love experimenting in the kitchen, trying new recipes & cooking with new ingredients. But sometimes I just want to bake up a tried & true batch of cookies, you know? And use a recipe that I have made countless times before & always with scrumptious results, right? I started making these slightly-modified Ginger Molasses cookies from Martha Stewart when I was in college. They have been veganized from Martha’s original recipe. Do yourself a favor & bake a batch over the holidays. I promise they will be a recipe you go back to again & again
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon molasses
1 egg-replacer egg (I use Ener-G)
some granulated sugar, for rolling
1. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, cloves & salt.
2. With an electric mixer, beat together butter, brown sugar, & molasses until light & fluffy.
3. Beat in egg until smooth.
4. Gradually add flour mixture & beat until combined.
5. Wrap dough in plastic & flatten into a disc. Refrigerate until firm, at least one hour.
6. Preheat to 375 & line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
7. Roll balls of dough, approximately 1 1/2 inches. Roll each in sugar, until fully coated. Place them 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheet & refrigerate for 20 minutes.
8. Bake cookies for 12 minutes, rotating halfway through. Let cool on a wire rack.
he said Cardamom Walnut Sandies
Tis the season for cookies! With the holidays in full bloom this month, what better theme than cookies. I grew up with a mother that always had cookies in the house during the holidays and many to choose from to say the least. Russian Tea Cakes were one of my personal favorites along with a few others that will be making a presence this season in my own house. These sandies are light and buttery, so do make sure to use a good quality butter since it is the main flavor component. Enjoy.
Cardamom Walnut Sandies
8 oz unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 1/2 cups crushed toasted walnuts
Combine the butter and sugar, cream until light and fluffy.
Add the flour, salt, cardamom and walnuts, mix just till combined
Roll cookies into balls and press down with the palm of your hand.
Bake at 350F for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are lightly brown.
Let cool, then dust with powdered sugar.
The 10th annual celebration of “tequila,” made from the blue agave plant, was celebrated by party goers on Friday, March 30, 2012 at Desert Botanical Garden, 2101 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix, Arizona. An array of margaritas made with a variety of tequilas, including Arizona-owned Cruz Tequila’s Silver and Reposado, were available for sampling by the 1,400 attendees.
Unlimited selections of mouth-watering gourmet treats were served by the best Valley caterers and restaurants, including Santa Barbara Catering Company. Santa Barbara’s colorful display of fresh flowers, set over striking black and white polka dot linens were attention-grabbing and fun!
Servers from Santa Barbara Catering were dressed in distinctive black tee’s prominently displaying slogans promoting the components of the hand-passed appetizers. Guests enjoyed Santa Barbara’s:
* Cactus Fritters & Fried Nopale Fingers served with a Spicy Southwestern
* Cajeta (Caramel) Ding Dongs Dipped in Chocolate
In between nibbles, Latin bands spiced up the night with lively and captivating performances by:
* DJ Miguel Ivery
* Fuerza Caribe
* Grupo Liberdade
* Ritmo Latino
* Sergio Mendoza y la Orkesta
Proceeds from the annual celebration benefitted the Garden’s numerous events and programs.
The annual Independent Women Luncheon held in Cummings Great Hall at Phoenix Art Museum on March 6, 2012 was a gorgeous event catered by Santa Barbara Catering Company, the exclusive daytime caterer to the museum.
Over 500 of Phoenix’s prominent business women gathered together for lunch, to hear a presentation by “A-list” designer Charlotte Moss, and to raise funds for the museum’s educational programs and exhibits.
The Valley’s most notable interior designers brought their personal flair and panache to the event by donating one-of-a-kind seasonally-inspired centerpieces. The room was overflowing with breathtaking design creations that were later purchased by the guests.
The sea foam green floor-length linens and raspberry colored napkins covering each of the 50 tables, served as the platform for the designers’ favorite colors. A profusion of shades, from ladylike pastel pink, pale violet lilac, soft lemon, to bright orange and mossy green adorned the distinctive centerpieces. Blooming orchids, roses, peonies, tulips, hydrangeas and hyacinths were the focal point at nearly every table. As guests viewed the parade of tables their attention turned to the finite elements of detail. Accent items incorporated into the showpieces included twigs, baskets, ribbons, boots, bunnies, eggs, dolls, candles, and in one case, Chanel handbags. Ironically, one item not permitted to be used was living “moss” due to the museum’s requirements of prohibiting plant materials.
Upon arrival, servers passed Champagne, white wine and sparkling water garnished with a lime pinwheel, to the guests as they visited in the Museum’s elegant Sculpture Garden.
Once seated, a French Niçoise Salad, composed of thirteen separate items, was preset at each place setting. The main course salad included: Lolla Rosa Bibb Lettuce, Perfectly Seared Ahi Tuna, Sliced Boiled Egg, Black Nicoise Olives, Watermelon Radishes, Grilled Potatoes, Haricot Verts, Marinated Cherry Tomatoes, Roasted Orange Cauliflower, Roasted Purple Cauliflower, Persion Cucumbers, Roasted Asparagus and Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette served in a shot glass atop each plate. A freshly baked Gruyére Cheese Roll accompanied the salad.
Mini pink and white cakes were the perfect dessert accessory to accent the beautiful tables. Santa Barbara chefs created the chic Almond Cream Filled
White Cakes Topped with Raspberry Butter Cream and a Single Fresh Berry,
and Coconut Cream Filled White Cakes Topped with Butter Cream and Coconut.
Raspberry Iced Tea, White Wine and Organic Coffee were served tableside with
Charlotte Moss, whose luxurious decorating techniques and passionate design philosophy, mesmerized the audience with stories about the iconic women
designers who have influenced her graceful style. Traditional Home magazine considers Charlotte to be among the top twenty designers in the country. She is a frequent contributor to the Wall Street Journal, House Beautiful, Veranda, Elle Décor, Traditional Home, and Architectural Digest. She has written seven books, and designed many collections of china, fabric, carpet, decorative accessories and home fragrance.
Guests were treated to a signed copy of the guest of honor’s newest book, “Charlotte Moss Decorates: The Art of Creating Elegant and Inspired Rooms.” This book, her seventh, contains over 200 photographs that offer the reader “quick doses” of decorating advice with recommendations for Moss’s favorite flowers and fragrances for the final flourish in creating the perfect room.
To ensure a successful program, Santa Barbara Catering incorporated an abundance of staff to flawlessly execute the event. Three separate serving stations were built surrounding the Great Hall, including an outdoor kitchen. Twenty chefs, numerous captains, 50 servers and additional support staff were engaged for the event. The plating of 13 separate items on the salad was a major undertaking. Every food item had a specific position on the plate that it demanded to be showcased. This is a glimpse of the assembly line of the Santa Barbara team who created this special meal:
The annual fundraising program was underwritten by My Sister’s Closet.
A special thanks to Darrylee Cohen of Haute Photographs (www.hautephotographs.com) for permission to use her beautiful photographs in this article.
Two special holidays are coming up soon, Easter on Sunday, April 8, and Mother’s Day on Sunday, May 13. Why not give your mom a break from the kitchen by reserving a table at either of the outdoor brunch celebrations for these occasions at The Farm at South Mountain? Then, spend time with your family exploring the farm grounds and lounging or playing under the pecan trees.
The Farm’s 12-acre pecan grove will be decked out with festive floral-decorated picnic tables, a delectable buffet brunch, and an appearance by the Easter Bunny on April 8th. Always a popular attraction, catered by Santa Barbara Catering Company, this year’s Easter event offers ten separate seating times beginning at 9:00 a.m. through 12:15 p.m.
Menu offerings on Easter Sunday include an extensive buffet with Freshly Baked Pastries, Fresh Salads, Farm Style Scrambled Eggs, Pecan Honey Glazed French Toast, Country Potatoes & More! And Easter wouldn’t be complete without an assortment of Baked Goods and Candy such as Carrot Cupcakes, Pecan Diamonds, Chocolate Dipped Strawberries and Short Bread Cookies.
For Mother’s Day, guests can choose from an array of food stations including an Omelet Station with customized Meat, Cheese and Vegetable fillings, to a Pastry Station featuring assorted breads and sweets. The main buffet offers a selection of Salads, Quiche, Pecan French Toast, Braised Beef Short Ribs, Potatoes and more! The grand finale, and a favorite of all families, is the Dessert Station brimming with a delicious array of treats!
The Farm at South Mountain is located at 32nd Street and Southern in Phoenix. Call (480) 471-5224 to reserve your table for Easter today! Please Note that cancellations will not be accepted after Wednesday, April 4th, 2012 for this event. All seating for these special events will be held outdoors, so remember to dress accordingly.
Check back for more details and reservation information for Mother’s Day after Easter!
Palette is the newly created restaurant at Phoenix Art Museum, operated by Santa Barbara Catering Company.
Pat Christofolo, President of SBCC, had this to say about the new venue that opened last fall:
“We are absolutely thrilled to have been selected to manage this popular dining spot at Phoenix Art Museum. Our team is in place, our local seasonally focused menu has been refined and we’re happy to provide museum visitors with an artfully delicious dining experience.”
Palette focuses on fresh, local, sustainable regional menu items that out-of-town visitors and museum guests alike, will be delighted to experience. This concept supports SBCC’s goal of showcasing Arizona farmers and producers.
Palette’s logo depicts a fresh and natural color graphic of four bowls of seasonally inspired-soup highlighted beside the name of the restaurant. This design can be interpreted as a play on the words “palate”, meaning a “sense of taste”, or viewed as “an artist’s palette of a pool of paint colors.”
A few highlights of the menu include:
• Roasted Beet Salad, Heirloom Lettuce, Goat Cheese, Pistachios & Sherry Vinaigrette
• Pulled Pork Sliders with Dave’s BBQ Mop Sauce, Crispy Cole Slaw & Toasted Buns
• Truffled Wild Mushroom Macaroni and Cheese with Gruyere, Fontina & Buttered Bread Crumbs
• Seasonal Tart with Wilted Spinach, Mushrooms, Feta Cheese & Pesto. Served with Baby Lettuce Salad
• Angus Burger, Crispy Bacon, Pickled Red Onions, Aged Cheddar & Arugula. Served with Parmesan-Herb Fries
• Salmon Filet, Roasted with Lemon and Herbs, Local Vegetables, Arugula & Mustard Sage Vinaigrette
• Chocolate Brownies and Lemon Bars
Guests can choose to dine in the spacious dining room, outdoors on the Sculpture Garden Patio, or take-away a coffee and bakery items to enjoy later. Palette’s hours:
Wednesday 11:00 am – 8:00 pm
Thursday–Saturday 11:00 am – 3:30 pm
Sunday Brunch 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
First Fridays Special Events: 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
• Fresh Spinach Benedict with Local Ham, Creamy Hollandaise & Roasted Vegetable Potato Hash
Brunch is served weekly on Sundays featuring an array of delicious breakfast, egg specialties and brunch items.
Palette offers something special the First Friday of every month. From wine tastings to pop-up dining with local chefs, guests are treated to a fun and interesting experience each month.
Palette proudly supports and appreciates Arizona farmers and producers for their dedicated efforts and commitment to sustainable methods. The restaurant exclusively features wines and beers made in Arizona. Visitors will find an array of local fare products from olives and oils, to homemade salsas, pastas, crackers and honey, all available for sale to enjoy at home.
Further details about the Fall/Winter Menu at Palette, including Sunday brunch, can be found on the website: www.PhxArt.org/Palette Reservations are not necessary, but can be made by calling 602 257 2191.
Palette is the third venue added to the family of restaurants that Santa Barbara Catering manages. The other popular local-fare focused restaurants include The Farm Kitchen at 32nd Street & Southern, and The House at Secret Garden at 25th Street and Baseline Road.
[Republished with permission of McClendon's Select, 2/13/12]
In the past I have worked for Fortune 500s, government agencies, national charities and local 501c3s, but there is nothing quite like working with your family. Having a family business means everyone has to pitch in, that weekends and national holidays don’t always mean a day off, that you had better learn new skills fast, and that job titles don’t mean much, since everyone has their name on the door. It is a blessing that I count daily. It is also not for the faint of heart.
Pat Christofolo is someone who understands this all too well. She grew up working for her family and has carried that tradition onward. She is a legend in the Valley, but while restaurants and catering may be her business, it is family that is her life’s calling.
First and foremost, can I share that Pat greets you like a long-lost friend, even if you are newly introduced. She did the first time I met her and she still does. She welcomes with a hug, not just a hello. She wastes no time offering you a seat, something to drink, asks if the temperature is okay. That is just who Pat is. She wants to make sure that you are served, comfortable and at home. No wonder she has been in the business of serving people since the early 70′s.
Pat comes from a family of restauranteurs. Her father opened up the Italian deli Capistrano’s in Tempe in 1974. Pat started out by going in to work with her Dad every day. She watched her father give up a lot to start the business, but she also learned how customers respond when you give them what they are wanting. The deli was renowned for its hand-made foods and for delicacies in from New York that you couldn’t find elsewhere in the Valley. The work was hard, but gratifying and she says this exposure to the family business early in her life has shaped her family and own businesses as an adult.
By the early 1980′s Pat was a new mother and was looking to create a business that worked for her and her young son, Dustin. She started a sandwich shop, Out to Lunch, and then another and another. After a decade, she sold the business and ventured into catering. It has by chance that she was called for her first catering job when a law firm called wanting an omelette bar for an event they were holding. She started Santa Barbara Catering as a result. But the difference between a restaurant and catering weren’t lost on her, and Pat got involved with the International Caterers Association looking to learn more about trends, food styling, and how to build her business. She now serves as their President Elect. Her success did not go unnoticed. In 1997, Wayne Smith, the owner of the Farm at South Mountain, asked Pat to take over the Farm Kitchen. She then went on to start Quiessence and the Morning Glory cafe. Chef Greg LaPrad is now at the helm in those kitchens and Pat continues to run both Santa Barbara Catering and the Farm Kitchen. She is not one to sit still.
In the past year and a half she went into business with family once again. This time with her son Dustin, opening the House at Secret Garden.
She and Dustin have always been very close. They were bonded in a way that only a family that does business together can understand. It was very much shaped by the relationship Pat had with her own family growing up with their restaurant. She had watched Dustin in the kitchen over the years and saw how natural it was for him. She saw his attention to detail, his thoughtfulness about the food he was preparing, and importantly in the restaurant business, his palate and understanding of flavors. Her son has the same spirit and passion for preparing and creating good food that she saw in her father and herself. As any good mom, and business owner would, Pat made sure that if Dustin was serious about cooking that he learn the business. He worked in the front of the house at Quiessence and then went on to culinary school at the French Culinary Institute in New York and then in Italy. I wrote once about Dustin and what he is doing at House at Secret Garden. His years of growing in the family business have certainly served him as well. The culinary talent in that family is inherent. (You can read that post about Dustin and the House at Secret Garden here.)
Pat has always been passionate about cooking seasonally. She shares this with Dustin too. As a caterer she knows that to serve foods in season, means planning in advance. With events being planned sometimes up to 18 months in advance, Pat has taken care to educate her staff on what foods are in season throughout the year, so they can help their clients plan accordingly. She has seen the shift in customers education and passion about eating seasonally and having organic, local produce served. Pat was the first caterer in town to change to greener, more environmentally-friendly paper products. She says that it is not acceptable to not be interested in where your food comes from, or how it is grown.
Pat’s newest venture is Palette, the cafe at the Phoenix Art Museum. Just looking at the menu makes me hungry. Once again, Pat has taken her love of good food, her years of experience and her dedication to fresh, simple flavors and created an outstanding menu. Truffled wild mushroom macaroni and cheese alone is worth a trip to check it out. The Farmer’s Market Omelet on their brunch menu is another I want to investigate. It comes as no surprise that Pat has been able to turn a museum cafe into a destination dining spot. Palette is open during the day Wednesday thru Sundays and on First Fridays for evening events. Palette offers catering for special events at the museum from Santa Barbara Catering. If you are looking for a caterer somewhere else, Pat’s Santa Barbara Catering is the preferred caterer for many of the top event venues all over town. Just thinking about all she does is exhausting. I am not sure where she finds the time or energy, because Pat clearly gives every venture 100% of herself.
This past fall, Sean and I were invited to enjoy a evening at the House at Secret Garden for a dinner honoring local food producers. It was a beautiful evening with a fun mix of people who share our same passion for producing and enjoying good food. With Dustin’s incredible dishes coming out course after course, and Pat’s perfect touch for bringing people and food together, it was an evening we are still talking about. Pillsbury Winery, Crow’s Dairy, Hickman’s Family Farm, Black Mesa Ranch, The Meat Shop, Queen Creek Olive Mill were but a few of our dinner companions. If you wanted to know where local food comes from, it was all around the tables inside the Secret Garden’s Urban Barn. And like us, these businesses are not just local, many are also family ventures. Which made it all the more fitting that it was Pat at the head of the table, where the matriarch of Valley dining should sit.
To read more the evening, you can find the article The Arizona Republic wrote here. All photos courtesy of Santa Barbara Catering.
Santa Barbara Catering
The House at Secret Garden
2501 East Baseline Road
6106 S. 32nd Street
Phoenix, AZ 85042
1625 North Central Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85004