As we celebrate our 25th year in business, we spend a lot of time reflecting on the many pieces that make up the Pepper’s Pie. We’ve created and worked thousands of fabulous events over the years, including everything from baby showers and weddings to large scale galas.
We understand that every single event is important and unique, which is why we put our very best into creating memorable experiences for hundreds of thousands of local community members. The diversity of our jobs and clients positively affects every member of the Pepper’s team. By working closely with so many different people, we have come to value our community and pledged to work hard to strengthen it. At Pepper’s, we remain committed to supporting many local charities, by donating our cuisines and resources to both non-profit and community organizations.
Over the years we’ve supported Massachusetts Veteran’s Inc, Worcester County Food Bank, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Rachel’s Table, Dress for Success and Shrewsbury Youth & Family Services, among others. This past week we dropped off a healthy and delicious lunch to the “Women in Build” group of volunteers who were helping build a home with Habitat for Humanity in Lowell, MA.
We take pride in working with these groups, knowing that we’re connecting with our community to make it a better place. The satisfaction received from making a difference is absolutely priceless. We look forward to continuing our commitment to the community through our volunteer work with you.
Last weekend we catered and designed the biannual spring gala event, “Above and Beyond” for 250 of Worcester Academy’s parents, faculty, alumni and friends. It was held at a new venue of ours– the Cotsidas Hall at St. Spyridon’s Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Worcester, Massachusetts.
Although the event was inside, we couldn’t have been luckier with the weather, it was a beautiful spring day for an auction! In a nod to spring and the freshness it brings, Pepper’s created a beautiful and happy atmosphere using décor of yellow and white monochromatic linens, white whimsical chair covers, and tables adorned with mercury glass vases. The vases held springtime flowers, designed and prepared by volunteers from Worcester Academy. The bars announced springtime with huge bouquets of forsythia, a popular early spring bloom.
The décor was enhanced by the tactful lighting. White draping on the walls set the backdrop for the audio visual projection of the live auction items provided by Shoreline AV.
The evening began with guests being invited into the cocktail hour to view and bid on silent auction items, while enjoying the event’s signature drink—a lemon drop martini, as well as an array of passed hors d’oeuvres.
Guests were then invited into the dining room, which comfortably accommodated all 250 attendees, to enjoy a delicious first course of baby spinach, frisee and endiga salad. The salad was topped with a goat cheese croustade with red cranberries, spiced walnuts, shaved asiago cheese. It was served with lemon herb vinaigrette accompanied by a basket of artisan rolls and sliced bread with infused oil for dipping. (Is your mouth watering yet?)
Following the excitement of the live auction led by the Zekos Group, Pepper’s Catering served an entrée of rosemary crusted beef tenderloin with bordelaise sauce served over roasted vegetable couscous, or a roasted vegetable stuffed zucchini and tomato herb ragout.
During dinner, the cocktail and silent auction area received a transformation from Pepper’s pastry chefs and design specialists. A bevy of desserts, enticing to every sweet tooth, were displayed alongside a collection of whimsical, covered books (used as risers) that showcased the meaning of “Above and Beyond.”
After dinner, doors opened and guests were welcomed to the grand finale. They were overwhelmed! The added bonus was the to-go offering of any dessert that had not been eaten.
What a night! It was the perfect celebration from beginning to end—a financial success for Worcester Academy, a culinary delight for guests, and a great experience for Pepper’s to work at a new venue.
If you’re considering an event that requires a venue, either large or small, the Cotsidas Hall could be the place. Contact Pepper’s for more details.
By: Linda LaBarge
It seems like we have been doing Dessert Buffets here at Pepper's Fine Catering, well forever. When we first began serving desserts buffet style, we weren’t sure what to expect. But soon after we started, we noticed a growing interest in Dessert Buffets, and we knew it was time to give them the kind of menu makeover that would make the interest even greater.
When choosing desserts for each station, everything including the color, flavor, and size of each dessert must be taken into account so that they fit in with the rest of your party. Each dessert at Pepper's must pass the taste testing staff’s approval of deliciousness to earn a place on the menu, and they can be harsh critiques!
There are many benefits to having a dessert buffet at an event or party. If you're holding a large function, they're great guest pleasers. Your guests will enjoy the option of more than one dessert and will be able to move about, schmoozing after speeches or meetings. This goes for weddings, too! Rather than going with the traditional wedding cake, a dessert buffet can add a unique touch and a variety of flavor.
Almost anything can be included in a buffet: from simple desserts like brownies, dipped fruit, and cookies, to the more sublime--dessert custards, seasonal mousse cups, and unique mini sweets. Over the past year I have experimented with our items and am now offering four buffet options. Each is given their own name, all with delicious foods included.
Recently we catered an anniversary event for a local company hosting their top customers. They chose "1970s Movies" as their event focus, and we went wild creating a Willy Wonka dessert experience for their dessert buffet. We had so much fun with our golden ticket garnish for the cupcakes and our giant lollypop props. The design perfectly evoked the whimsicality of the movie and the DayGlo colors of the 70s set. The best looking part was definitely the 15 pounds of chocolate in one of the display vases!
If you're curious to see more of our work, take a look at some of our dessert pictures and check out our Dessert Buffet Menu online as well. Happy eating!
With summer approaching, we are all excited for some outdoor fun. BBQs are among many people’s favorite warm weather activity. When it comes to having a BBQ, the options are endless for creating a unique and memorable event.
Start by choosing a menu that provides crowd-pleasing items. Rather than serving the traditional BBQ food we have all grown up with, give it a fun twist to make it original and stand out to your guests. At Pepper’s catering, we have created a dip bar with house made chips including flavors of classic, ranch, curry, and brown sugar. This range of flavor provides guests with traditional options as well as the chance to try something new. Also becoming popular, are chef-active slider stations. These stations offer a variety of mini burgers such as black bean, turkey, and sirloin which are prepared by the chef in front of guests guaranteeing freshness and great taste. Guests are welcomed to get involved by customizing their sliders with their favorite toppings.
At Pepper’s, we can customize items to meet your needs. If you are looking to serve classic favorites at your BBQ, our menu can provide you with everything from pasta salads and veggies, to hot dogs and burgers. This type of menu serves as a good starting point and is flexible for interchanging items as you like.
When it comes to drinks, hiring a bartender will allow you to enjoy your party and focus attention on your guests. Here are Pepper’s, we have all of the necessary equipment to set up a well-displayed and fully functional bar. You have the option to purchase your own sodas, beer, wine and alcohol, or our sales team is also happy to do the bar stocking for you. We also offer delicious house-made lemonade and ice tea as non-alcoholic alternatives for adults and refreshing, healthy options for kids.
You’ll also want to think about where guests will sit. Providing some seating is a good option. A few high and low cocktail tables will promote mingling while still giving your guests a place to eat. If hot, sunny weather is expected it might be beneficial to rent a tent to escape the heat. Our Pepper’s sales team has relationships with many venders and we’re happy to coordinate any rental needs for your event.
Ready to get friends and family together for some fun this summer? Let us create a spectacular BBQ event that you and your family will remember! Contact Pepper’s.
Bar and Bat Mitzvahs are an important milestone for Jewish children and their families. Reading from the Torah marks a child’s passage into adulthood. What better way to commend a child’s transition and hard work than with a celebration? At Pepper’s, we understand that a Bar or Bat Mitzvah party, is mostly about two things—food and fun. Whether you want a small family gathering or a big party with friends, there are many elements that must be thought out and executed flawlessly in order to meet the approval not only of mom and dad but discerning thirteen year olds, too!
Most children want their party to say something about who they are. In fact many will already have ideas about what they want their celebration to look like—either according to color schemes or elements of design, such as adding movie memorabilia as table centerpieces for a child who loves films, or introducing a color palate to the table linens and decorations reflective of a child’s favorite sports team or school colors.
When choosing a venue, be sure to factor in the number of people included and their average age. Will a celebration that skews younger warrant space for a dance floor?—something you may not need if your child is having an adults-only party. There are other considerations for space, too. A kid’s party may not need much in terms of lighting, but if many older adults will be in attendance (grandparents, great aunts, etc.) then a well-lit banquet hall may be best to avoid potential hazards.
Menu choices are important, too. It’s your child’s party, but that doesn’t mean the menu has to be full of French fries and chicken fingers. You can satisfy both kids and adults with menu options geared towards both. Consider two separate menus and go for finger foods so that children can try more adult fare without committing to a full entrée they may not like.
There are many ways to celebrate and lots of food to choose from! Pepper’s offers a diverse Bar and Bat Mitzvah Catering Menu, as well as a separate Buffet Catering Menu, depending on which serving method you prefer. All of our menus include both kosher and non-kosher items as well as classic Jewish dishes family will love.
Take a look through our Bar and Bat Mitzvah event photo gallery to see examples of what we’ve served at past celebrations. We would love to help you and your family in celebrating such a significant and special day. Contact us to learn more about how we can help.
What: Spring Forward… Think Back to RIHS’s Silver Screen
When: Saturday, April 27 at 7:00 PM
Where: Rhode Island Historical Society, 110 Benevolent St, Providence RI, 02906
Are you a food and/or film buff?
Join us Saturday, April 27th to support the collections of the Rhode Island Historical Society (RIHS) with a night of silent films and great food!
Pepper’s will be among the caterers wining and dining guests at the historical and grand Aldrich House in Providence, for an evening of screenings from Rhode Island’s golden age in film—the 1910’s and 20’s.
Pepper’s, along with five other area caterers, will be offering up a taste table of culinary delights to rival the magic of the big screen.
To purchase tickets or learn more about the event, click here.
By Heidi Bouchard
Head of Style and Design
In the wedding design industry, vintage China has become all the rage. From the bride who wants a “full-fledged vintage look,” complete with vintage glass ware, linen and chairs, to the bridal or baby shower hostess who wants to add just a touch of nostalgia to her party. More and more customers are asking for us to source vintage pieces for their catered event.
Our collection took shape slowly at first—a few pieces from gatherings at antique shops, some beautiful thrift store finds, one or two pieces discovered on EBay. As we began to build our collection, it was clear we were onto something—each piece of china we added was in high demand with many of our clients. As Head of Style and Design, it became my responsibility to make sure we had enough inventory so that we could tell our salespeople to present vintage china as a viable option to clients. Although off to a great start, we still needed more and better quality pieces….
Brimfield Here We Come!
Over the course of two days and with the assistance of two “pickers,” I scoured field after field at Brimfield, Massachusetts’ famous outdoor Antique Show and Flea Market last September. We came home with almost everything we needed, completing the 1st phase of our project: 125 complete place settings made up of vintage china.
The appeal of these pieces is that every dish, every cup and saucer, has a story. It’s safe to say that every piece belonged to someone’s Grandmother. One dealer, whom we purchased a complete service of 8 from, told us he had bought it at an auction in Philadelphia, out of a stately old brick house that had been empty for years. He broke the original 48 place settings into 6 sets of 8 each. We imagined the grand parties these plates had witnessed.
Midway through our 2nd day of foraging, we stopped for lunch to have our traditional Pilgrim Sandwich (Fresh roasted turkey, stuffing and homemade cranberry sauce on a fresh bakery roll). Deciding to divide and conquer I waited in line for lemonade. I was the last to return to our table. There were our three Pilgrim Sandwiches served on three late 19th century green and gold Limoges plates. The sandwiches were of course delicious, and yes, I think the plate was partly responsible for that. What fun to sit and pause a moment and enjoy the antique china ourselves!
When planning an event for soon-to-be-married couples, questions of unique wedding catering ideas arise. A general concern is often “Should we have a sit down dinner, buffet, or food stations?” This is usually decided based upon each couple’s personalities, budget, and overall expectations of the event. Food stations are a new and quickly-growing trend and they offer a fun, non- traditional approach.
- Love comfort food? How about trying a Mac N’ Cheese bar or grilling up some Mini Slider Burgers with Fries? Would prefer a more healthy approach? Try a Sushi Bar or Seasonal Kabobs with Grilled Vegetables and a Quinoa Salad. The options are ENDLESS!
- It’s difficult to choose a meal that EVERYONE likes (or can eat due to allergies and intolerances), but by choosing food stations with multiple choices, no one will leave hungry.
- Food stations can accommodate both the largest and smallest appetites at you wedding- allowing for some to take just a bit and some to come back for seconds or thirds without a problem.
- Stations allow your guests to get up out of their seats and mingle with each other, even if they’ve never met!
- Stations will “WOW” your guests with the opportunity to watch their meal being prepared and served right before their eyes. This ensures freshness & quality and will fill the room with wonderful aromas.
Possible Cons (and how to fix them!)
- Depending on where you decide to put your stations, it can cause a bottle-neck which may minimize the time your guests have to eat and mingle. Focus on spreading out the stations and consider calling up one table at a time to ensure shorter and even no lines.
- You have to ensure that each station has enough food to feed all of your guests and vendors (including those who will come back up for more) which makes portion control a bit tricky and can be a little more costly. Your catering sales representative will help you choose the correct portions and ensure that you won’t end up with too much or too little food.
- Elderly guests may prefer to be seated during the wedding and not have to stand in lines and get their food. This problem can be resolved by asking a member of the wait staff to assist them.
- You need to make sure that your venue of choice allows cooking indoors/in the room where your guests will be seated. This can be the deciding factor for some couples.
In the end, whatever option you choose to go with will be welcomed and appreciated by your guests. Just remember to enjoy your day and focus on what really matters- your significant other, family & friends celebrating a wonderful milestone in your life!
Graduation parties are a great way to celebrate a recent graduate’s achievements with friends and family, but planning the celebration on your own can prove difficult. Depending on the size of your child’s graduating class, it’s likely that more than one person will be having their graduation party on the same day, causing lots of traffic to and from your home, which can dictate the type of party you’ll want to have to keep guests comfortable and entertained. Follow these tips for graduation planning and you’ll be sure to give your son or daughter another memorable senior year memory:
Aim for a casual get-together—Consider getting together with other parents and organizing a joint graduation party. This will save people the trouble of traveling to more than one party and also save you money! By splitting the cost three or four ways, you might actually end up reducing expenses, and can often go bigger when it comes to food and/or entertainment choice.
If the party is being held outdoors, consider renting a tent. The weather isn’t always going to cooperate, and large party tents are perfect for keeping your guests dry rather than going through the hassle of rescheduling. Even if you end up with a beautiful day, a tent is the perfect supplier of shade to help you cool off and relax with friends.
When it comes to serving food, a buffet setup is usually the best way to feed a large group of people. Work with your catering service to make sure you have a wide variety of foods suitable to your guests. Appetizer foods, such as salad and finger sandwiches are easy to eat on the run and not too filling so guests can keep coming back for more, or fill up on their way to another party. Browse through some of Pepper’s graduation day menu ideas to get an idea of what Pepper’s can provide, or to gather inspiration for a do-it-yourself party.
Be sure you’re fully stocked up on supplies like utensils, cups and plates. An open-house party creates the kind of atmosphere where guests may put down a plate or cup they were using and forget to pick it up when they want a refill. Make sure your caterer has plenty of extra cups, plates, napkins etc. for all of your guests and then some.
Add a little character to the festivities. Displaying school colors or incorporating the school mascot into the event design is a popular graduation party trend. If your graduate is heading off to college, why not tailor the catering menu to their school of choice? For example if they are going to the University of New England in Maine, perhaps a New England clambake will help set the mood for celebration. Maryland? Crab cakes! With a little imagination, your graduation party can be unique and memorable.
Interested in hearing more of our graduation party ideas? Contact Pepper’s to discuss with our staff. We would love to help you celebrate this significant stepping stone in your child’s life.
With wedding season upon us, I have finalized the 2013 cake flavor menu adding four new flavors. If you read my earlier blog, you already know that we voted in favor of the Spumoni and Chocolate Chai Tea cakes. After trying three additional flavors, we landed on the Pink Lemonade cake and the Salted Caramel Devils Food cake.
Our staff gave both flavors two thumbs up during our cake flavor and bridal tastings. The Pink Lemonade cake conveys our colorful theme for this season, and is perfect for a summer wedding with its bright and vibrant colors. The cake is lemonade flavored and consists of three pink shades filled with tart lemon curd and lemon mousse.
After having Chocolate Caramel Fudge cake on last year’s menu, I can say the Salted Caramel cake has replaced it hands down. This delicious dessert is a rich devil’s food cake filled with layers of salted caramel and dark chocolate ganache. As one of our staff tasters put it “this is chocolate heaven!” Although I was wary about using salt, I have to admit, it’s a winner.
The third cake was just as yummy, but more in line with a seasonal menu rather than our wedding menu. I call it Pumpkin Gingerbread cake. It’s made up of two layers of golden cake each with a layer of spicy gingerbread and filled with white chocolate ganache and pumpkin mousse. I am putting it on the Holiday menu and if it’s a hit, will be available to all. Next on the “to-do” list: a Dessert Buffet makeover...Stay tuned!
If you’re interested in a tasting with Pepper’s—Contact Us, we’d love to share our delicious cakes with you and work to create your dream wedding cake.