Profile – The Art of Catering

By Sara Perez Webber

As CEO, Simon Powles orchestrates the success of Starr Catering Group, which serves customers at iconic cultural centers and beyond

How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Well, you could practice, practice, practice, as the old saying goes. Or you could hold a wedding or function there—an increasingly popular option at the iconic New York concert hall, where Starr Catering Group is the exclusive caterer, orchestrating a thriving special event business.

“Over the last 12 months, the event spaces in the new education center that sits above Carnegie Hall have been extremely popular,” says Simon Powles, CEO of Starr Catering Group ( “The spaces, including a rooftop terrace, boast stunning views of Central Park and the surrounding city skyline.” The “grandeur of hosting your event at the world’s most famous theater” adds to the venue’s allure, says Powles. Continue reading »

Sea Change

By Deanne Moskowitz

It isn’t only in Pacific Grove, Calif.—where Dory Ford’s catering operation, Aqua Terra Culinary Inc., was founded—that interest in sustainable seafood is strong. He says everyone’s on board in landlocked Denver, too, where last year he expanded the business and has already hosted four sustainable seafood events.

“It’s not a localized movement; it’s a worldwide area of concern,” says Ford, who observes the growing preoccupation everywhere he travels as a member of the Blue Ribbon Task Force, an advisory group of Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch.

According to the aquarium’s website, 90 percent of the world’s fisheries are fully exploited, over-exploited or have collapsed, and such detrimental fishing practices as accidental catch of unwanted species (bycatch) and habitat damage from fishing gear are impacting the oceans and the health of sea life. Continue reading »

Raising the Bar

By Sara Perez Webber

In your catering business, do you follow beverage trends like you follow food trends? Are you incorporating cocktails, wines and food-and-beverage pairings throughout your sales pitches? Will guests at your events remember what they drank as much as what they ate?

If the answer to any of those questions is “no,” it may be time to raise your bar game. When you create interesting food-and-beverage pairings and serve cocktails that showcase the latest mixology trends, you’re bound to create buzz and increase sales, according to Sharon Charny Woschitz and Jessica Bernosky of the Breakthru Beverage Group (, a wholesale distribution company representing a broad portfolio of premier wine, spirits and beer brands. Continue reading »

Crafting a Legend

By Sara Perez Webber

Tito Beveridge calls himself a “20-year overnight success.” The founder and owner of Tito’s Handmade Vodka—a geologist-turned-mortgage-broker who started out making flavored vodka infusions as a hobby in the early 1990s—launched the first legal distillery in Texas, beginning commercial production in Austin in 1997.

The pot-distilled vodka brand took off like wildfire. By 2007 more than 160,000 cases of Tito’s Handmade Vodka were sold, and by 2015, that number had reportedly ballooned to a whopping 2.8 million cases (according to Shanken News Daily, a news service that covers the spirits, wine and beer business). In 2014, Tito’s was the 10th best-selling vodka in the U.S., according to research firm IRI—no small feat, considering the young brand was competing against much larger companies with long-established brand names. The Texas brand has won fans internationally as well; Tito’s is distributed in Europe and Asia, and in July the company announced its distribution in the motherland of vodka—Russia. Continue reading »

A World of Flavor

By Sara Perez Webber

When it comes to cuisine choices, the world is increasingly at your fingertips. Whatever type of cuisine across the globe that you’re craving, chances are you can find someone in your area serving it—perhaps, even, one of the caterers profiled here. These three catering companies have each carved out a niche in a specific type of ethnic cuisine, successfully bringing home the flavors of far-off places to consumers who are more and more interested in broadening their culinary horizons. Continue reading »

Checking the Forecast

By Sara Perez Webber

What’s the temperature in your corner of the catering industry? If it’s anything like what’s described by the experts Catering recently consulted, it’s hot. Business is strong, there’s more innovation than ever, and a new crop of enthusiastic, well educated caterers and chefs are ready to take the business into the future. Continue reading »

Olympic Feasts

By Sara Perez Webber

If you’d like to hear a good story, ask John Crisafulli about the time all the food in his kitchen in Turin, Italy, was almost confiscated by a corrupt official. Or the time a company in Beijing tried to deliver him rotten produce. Or how he figured out in Russia to place cheap cuts of meat near the back of the containers delivering his food, to minimize the losses if any product happened to “disappear” at checkpoints. Continue reading »

Treasuring Trash

By Deanne Moskowitz

Just back from her third trip to Cuba, an island where citizens make do with minimal resources, Liz Neumark, CEO of Great Performances in New York, was struck again by how little is wasted. “Nothing ends up in the trash there; everything gets utilized,” she observes. That’s not always the case in the U.S., where 40 percent of all food is wasted, according to the Natural Resource Defense Council, an international nonprofit environmental organization. Continue reading »

The Upside of Outside

By Sara Perez Webber

While outdoor events have their downsides—namely, the unpredictable nature of nature—there’s something about being outside that breathes fresh air into a gathering. The three events profiled here made the most of their open-air surroundings, with thoughtful, delicious menus and clever details that made them unforgettable. Continue reading »

The Accidental Cake Artist

By Sara Perez Webber

Duff Goldman didn’t set out to be a Food Network star. He set out to be a rock star. In 2002, Goldman left his job as a family’s personal chef and launched his cake business, Charm City Cakes in Baltimore, so he would have the flexibility to tour as a bass guitarist with his band at the time, Two-Day Romance. Continue reading »