After testing a dozen recipes, shopping till we dropped, and conducting several late-night cooking sessions, we finally pulled off our first catering event. On Saturday night, Kitchen Mischief catered a 40th wedding anniversary party, and by all accounts, the food was a hit. But when preparing food for 75 guests, it’s inevitable that some mischief arises. Here’s what happened behind the scenes…
400 Mini Beef Wellingtons
JOSH: These were great, because we got to assemble them ahead of time, and just bake them on site. No problem, right? Right…except for the fact that I’m a little challenged and forget that pans that come out of the oven are HOT. I think Matthew is going to make me wear gloves from now on. Maybe even a helmet!
MATTHEW: Josh may have to wear one of those shiny, fire fighter suits when handling hot items. His hands looked like I was torturing him with a hot poker. Regardless of the injuries, the wellies were great. I ate one each time I passed through the kitchen. I laughed when a guest told Josh that he thought the wellies were chocolate-filled pastries and was surprised when he bit into them to taste beef. The blank look on Josh’s face was priceless.
350 Caprese Bites
JOSH: Whereas the Wellies could be assembled ahead of time, these babies could not. So each one was lovingly hand-skewered by David, who made himself a nice little Caprese Station in the corner, complete with a lamp for ambiance. It was quaint! However, there was no television for him to watch the Tennessee game so I’m lucky I didn’t end up on a skewer.
MATTHEW: When I saw David sitting at his little station, I really felt like I was Kathy Lee Gifford and he was my sweatshop worker. Bless his heart, he assembled those skewers with no complaints…well, except when people would send him texts regarding the Tennessee game he was missing.
Fab Fruit & Cheese
JOSH: Matthew is an artist with fruit and cheese. It never ceases to amaze me. When I try to arrange the stuff, it’s like one of those evil 3-D dolphin posters from the nineties…I stare and stare but I can’t figure it out. Makes me crazy! Thank goodness Matthew’s got the touch.
MATTHEW: Josh makes it sound like I made a bust of Michael Jackson out of gouda. Just start with your big item (grapes) and work your way around. Ray can tell you – I have arranged and rearranged cheese boards in frustration. He has dodged of couple of flying pieces of cheese in the kitchen.
JOSH: So I baked the crostini the day before to save time. Makes sense, right? About 15 minutes in, David or Ray said “the crostini’s great, but the bread is kinda chewy.” My eyes widened in alarm. WHAT! Stale bread! Major party foul! So we frantically re-crisped the crostini and did a recall on the chewies. Crisis averted.
MATTHEW: This was one of my favorite stories. After remaking the crostini, we thought we were catering ninjas and would replace the other trays on the table without anyone noticing. Well, we were not so stealthy. With three of us attempting this task, the guests turned and the look on their faces was that of, “What was wrong with those? And I just ate it!”
Pumpkin Dip in Disguise
JOSH: The plan on this dish was to pipe the pumpkin “mousse” (the quotation marks are because it wasn’t mousse at all…just dip…but mousse sounded so much fancier!) onto the homemade gingersnaps. Doesn’t that sound nice? Yeah, well…as you can see…no piping occured. When the clock is ticking out of control, you improvise. Plus it saved us some much-needed table space.
MATTHEW: Josh did amazing job on the homemade ginger snaps. They looked and tasted great. At first people didn’t know what to make of it. Pumpkin soup with crackers? Once a few guests bravely tasted the dip, word got out and people came back for more. I’m just glad Josh thought of bringing those baby pumpkins. I would have had to stand there with a piping bag and pipe while people were in line…like going up to a soft serve ice cream machine at Jason’s Deli.
An Entire Roasted Pig (almost)
MATTHEW: I like serving pork loin for the fact that it is good hot and at room tempertaure. The white barbeque sauce tasted great and the jezebel sauce was spicy. It was a hit! I got a kick out of the men making these sandwhiches. The pork station was beside the grits bar (see below) – the men would add the ingredients from grit bar to their sandwhich. They were very creative.
JOSH: I kept bugging Matthew on Saturday morning via text. ME: Got the pig on the grill yet? ME: How’s that pork? ME: Pork in the oven yet? ME: Pork almost done? I was like a kid on a road trip!
MATTHEW: If Josh had been beside me during the barrage of pork related texts, I would have smacked him with a pork loin.
All the grits in the ENTIRE South
JOSH: OMG I made SO many grits! I had to enroll in an Intro to Calculus class at Jeff State just to convert the recipe. Here’s the equation: 15 cups of grits + 2 gallons of milk + an entire CASE of chicken broth + 2 huge wedges of parmesan cheese divided by 2 pots X two batches = two boilovers and approximately 80 cups of grits. Forget the loaves and fishes…Jesus should have served grits.
MATTHEW: I am soooo glad Josh did the grits (see above calculus statement). These grits were perfect. If you notice in the picture that we provided cups for guests to use so that they didn’t have a grit lava flow over take their plates. Well, I think the big bowl of bacon might have obsecured their vision. Only after Ray and I, at different times, helped serve grits in cups did they realize what those were there for.
One Happy Hostess, and Two Extremely Proud Boys.
JOSH: We also have to give a shout out to David and Ray, who busted it in the kitchen all night and kept us from doing a culinary belly flop. Thank you, boys! And thank you, Melinda, for believing in us and trusting us with this special event!
MATTHEW: I truly thought that if David and Ray had to wash one more dish, they would have thrown their dish-pan hands up and left. I mean we did have our own cars! Yes, that is right, we needed FOUR cars to bring our stuff to the location. But David and Ray were real troopers and we appreciate them for it. Melinda has been my friend since fourth grade (yes, I know. She looks years younger than me). She believed in us and I am grateful. Plus, she said she wanted to work for us.
The sum of this equation: We had so much fun, and we’re excited to see Kitchen Mischief take its next steps. If you’d like us to cater your next party, just give us a call. But you might want to give us a couple weeks to recover. 😉