Tuesday, June 30, 2009

We would like to thank all our friends and associates who joined us at Jake's Grotto's Open House in June. If you missed it, it's a really interesting venue with so many unique features.

Click here to take a peek http://www.jakesgrotto.com/index.html, and give Sharon a call today!
Great news from Catering By Design!

We are psyched to be have just been listed in the Style Me Pretty's Little Black Book of vendors. Check it out by clicking here http://www.stylemepretty.com/little-black-book/. Look for us under Caterers in the Tampa/Orlando area of Florida.

I love reading all the stories and tips about planning amazing weddings from planners and vendor from across the country. Style Me Pretty is definitely one the best Wedding blogs out there. We couldn't be happier to be a part of it.

Take a look today!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Derby Day!!

We had a couple of great Derby Parties this year and below are some shots that we got from one of them. These people take the Derby very, very seriously- to the point of having Kentucky Derby Programs overnighted to their front door the day of the race. Warning- do not get between these people and the fence!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Mayor's Beautification Program

Tampa Port Authority

May 2009

Once again we were part of a wonderful fundraising effort by Tampa's Mayor's Beautification Program. This year's party and "See It To Believe It" Auction were a great success. This year's tropical theme was centered around our beautiful, local beaches. Below are a few shots we captured.

Here the Island God watches over our Dips Station. He looks hungry, huh?

Lauren Balden and the "Beach Divas", courtesty of Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Princess Bride

Joyela & Kenneth
Ringling Museum Courtyard

In late April we had the pleasure of working at the Ringling Museum in Sarasota. They have so many great venues there, but we were in my personal favorite - the courtyard. Plus, we had our own Princess Bride - Joyela who was marrying Kenneth, a Prince of Nigeria.

The Pewter and Silver color scheme, accented with fuschia lighting was backdropped with panels of white drape down the length of one of the loggias. Rectangular guest tables lined the loggia overlooking grassy fields of white furniture and a white dance floor, all lit in pink. African Dancers provided entertainment during the cocktail hour proceeding dinner.

And, as the sun was setting, servers in white dinner jackets formed a precise line to deliver a synchronized presentation of three courses.


Trio of Maryland Crab Cakes, Chipotle Mac'n Cheese,
and Grilled Shrimp on Plantain Mash

Mixed Field Greens Salad
Champagne- Vanilla Bean Vinaigrette

Duet of Grilled Filet over Potato Gruyere Gratin and Asparagus

Chilean Sea Bass with a Tropical Fruit Salsa

All of this was followed by a beautiful red and silver cake on rhinestone and jewel studded tiers, created by Chocolate Pi.

And then, finally, a Dessert Reception followed with an assortment of sweets and savories, including Chocolate Dipped Cheesecake Lollipops, Chocolate Covered Strawberries, Gourmet Cheeses, Beef Sliders, and Beef Empenadas.

The couple and their guests danced the night away under the rhinestone accented columns over a white dance floor from Concept Bait. It was truly a magical night!

Thanks to Phillip Lloyd Photography and Limelight Photography for the wonderful pictures!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Catering By Design is working on its new Facebook page. This is still a work in progess and we will let you know when it is up and running. To all of our wonderful industry associates and clients who look at our blog- please become a Facebook fan. And send me helpful tips- I'm a little lost!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Tampa Garden Club Bridal Show

Come see us at the upcoming Bridal Show at the Tampa Bay Garden Club. Some of the BEST wedding vendors in the Tampa Bay area are going to be at this show. The Tampa Garden Club is located near the corner of Bayshore Boulevard and Bay to Bay in South Tampa. Free, convenient parking is accessed behind the building.

The date is April 26th, from 1PM - 4PM, and admission is only $10.00 or $5.00 for brides who have pre-registered. Go to www.tampagardenclub.com/bridalshow for more information and a list of participating vendors.

We are super excited about the show- some of our favorite vendors are going to be there. I hope we see you there!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Below is an article that has been in circulation among our professional photography associates. Although the topic is photography, I'm including it here because its message applies to us in the catering and party planning biz too. So much of our work is done behind the scenes. And to top that off, our job is to make things seamless for our clients. So... the better we are at our jobs, the easier our jobs look - but there's a lot that goes into it!

Why are Professional Photographers so expensive?

In this digital age where everyone has digital cameras, scanners and home "photo printers", when people upload their photos to a local drug store website and pick them up a few hours later, we hear this all the time - How in the world do Professional Photographers charge $55 (actually more then what I charge) for an 8x10 when they cost just $1.50 at the drug store?

Here's why. Simply put, you're not just paying for the actual photograph, you're paying for time and expertise. First, let's look at the actual time involved. If you don't read this entire page, at least read this first part. For a two hour portrait session:- one hour of travel to and from the session- two hours of shooting- 30 minutes of setup, preparation, talking to the client etc.- 30 minutes to load the photos onto a computer (2 - 4 Gb of data)- 30 minutes to back up the files on an external drive- 3 - 4 hours of Photoshop time including cropping, contrast, color, sharpening, saving a copy for print and a copy for the internet and backing up the edited photographs- 2 - 3 hours to talk to the client, answer questions, receive their order and payment, order their prints, receive and verify prints, package prints, schedule shipment and drop package off at Fed Ex.-

For local customers, we also print a set of all of their photos, and meet them at our studio to review the photos and place their order. Meeting and travel time averages 2 hours. You can see how one two hour session easily turns into more than ten hours of work from start to finish. So when you see a Photographer charging a $200 session fee for a two hour photo shoot, you are not paying them $100 / hour. For an eight hour wedding:- I won't bore you with the details, but an eight hour wedding typically amounts to at least two to three full 40 hour work weeks worth of time. Again, if they are charging you $4,000 for an eight hour wedding, you are not paying them $500 / hour. Now for the expertise. Shooting professional photography is a skill, acquired through years of experience. Even though a quality camera now costs under $2,000, taking professional portraits involves much more than a nice camera.

Most Professional Photographers take years to go from buying their first decent camera to making money with their photography. In addition to learning how to use the camera itself, there is a mountain of other equipment involved, as well as numerous software programs used to edit and print photographs, run a website etc. And let's not forget that you actually have to have people skills, be able to communicate, make people comfortable in front of the camera - and posing people to make them look their best in a photograph is a skill all by itself. Think of it this way - the next time you pay $X to get your hair done, a pair of scissors only costs $1.50. But you gladly pay a lot more to hire a Professional. What about the cheap studios at the mall?Please don't compare us to the chain store studios. But if you must, consider all of the time and work that we put into our photographs, compared to what they do. Good luck getting a two hour photo shoot at a chain store. Not to mention they won't come to the beach! And of course, look at our work compared to theirs. You get what you pay for.

The truth is, most of the mall and chain store studios lose money. In fact, in 2007 Wal-Mart closed 500 of their portrait studios because of the financial drain they were putting on the company. What the chain stores bet on is that you'll come in for some quick and cheap photos, and while you're there, you'll also spend $200 on other things. They don't have to make money, they are just there to get you in the door.


We hope that those who have taken the time to read this page will have a better understanding of why professional photographs cost so much more than the ones that you get from your local drug store.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Author: Shawn Richter

Monday, March 30, 2009

One of our favourite clients got married last weekend. We have become very fond of her family and were fortunate to help them with all of their printed materials for the wedding. Together we developed a cohesive look for everything starting from the very beginning.

For their invitation they chose a beautiful, square, white lustre paper invitation from Natural Impressions. A black satin ribbon and rhinestone embellishment finished the look. It's a great example of the pocket or pouch style invitation that is so popular right now, and very functional. Inside there is a pocket for her Reception Card and Response Set.

The Bride also ordered coordinating Thank You Notes with her new Monogram - HOT. (No, I'm not kidding!) We used her monogram on other reception papers, such as beverage napkins, guest towels and Menu Cards, and incorporated her color scheme of Black, White, and Fuchsia. Just like the letters say - this wedding is going to be HOT!

The programs mimic the invitation in their size. Small and square, they are also a trifold style, sealed with a black wax seal of the letter "O" and finished with a silver highlight. Fuchsia menu cards have the Monogram printed at the top, and were placed inside black napkins on top of white tablecloths.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Easter Bunny Came Early for our March Tasting!

Just a few days ago we had our March tasting. Just about 50 of our closest friends were there with us.

And not only did we serve a incredible menu inspired by the freshest ingredients of the season, but we were a little naughty too with a Root Beer Float station outside by the lake.

Beef Tenderloin on a Blue Cheese Walnut Cracker and Grilled Cheese Sammies with Tomato Soup Shots... YUMMY! And the crowd favorite was - wait for it- Three Cheese Pasta Purses in Coconut and Habanera Cream. If you've had that dish, I know you're not surprised.

And the Easter Bunny paid us an early visit, as well. He left each guest a Take- Home treat of Easter candy to go with Chef's Apricot-Pistacchio White Chocolate Bark and her Dark Chocolate Easter Eggs. Easter is definitely my favorite holiday!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

February 2009 Tasting

Our February 2009 tasting was so much fun. If you weren't there, we are sorry that you missed it. So many of our great clients, colleagues and friends came to visit us in the office last month for our latest in-house event.

To the left is Lauren Balden with a client, and to the right is Lauren Berner with Amanda and Matt of MMD events.

Tony Casler of Soundwave Productions (pictured to the right) provided some great lighting both inside and outside on our patio. Our office sits on a small lake, and it is so nice to sit out there this time of year. Panache (Kristen Seeger pictured right) provided us with beautiful linens to make our stations look superfab, and, as always, Lauren Balden (our owner) created beautiful floral displays for the table.

Hands down the Bang Bang Noodles with Spicy Shrimp and Almond Chicken was the favorite, followed by the Chimichurri Beef Tenderloin, as a close second. And, don't forget Chef's newest creation, Pina Colada Angel Food Cake with Fried Pineapple and Mango Rum Syrup, which was incredible!

Here are the ladies of Confetti Events, Amy Pezzicara of Pez Photos, and Audrey Bower of Gerdau Ameristeel.

Our next tasting is Wednesday, March 25th, from 5PM- 8PM in our office. Come by anytime for our own version of Happy Hour - like regular Happy Hour- but with great food!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tiffany's and the Vince Lombardi Trophy

Shortly before the Superbowl, we had the pleasure of catering the unveiling party for the Vince Lombardi trophy, held at Tiffany's at International Mall. Tiffany & Co. makes this beautiful trophy every year, and the Tiffany's store in the Superbowl host city has an unveiling party like this one. Bob Fiallo was hired by Tiffany and Co. to capture the images. Custom designed spandex table covers created Tiffany boxes out of tall cafe tables. Tiffany blue lighting accented the room, paying special attention to the trophy itself.
As it was an early morning event, we served mini donuts with shots of milk, guava pop tarts, blue yogurt parfaits, and a host of other brunch items. So tasty!!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Click here to see more coverage of the ESPN Party.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

ESPN: The NEXT Magazine Superbowl Event

Tampa, Florida

People keep asking me if Catering by Design was busy during the Superbowl. And I get so excited because we were SUPER busy! Catering By Design was hired to cater several Superbowl Events, most notable, the uber-exclusive ESPN the Magazine Next event and the Maxim Magazine party.

ESPN was held under a custom tent on an open parking lot in downtown Tampa. Not that you would know you were under a tent, much less in a parking lot. The firm Event Eleven created this man-cave inspired party, complete with all kinds of toys for boys, like a model Castrol Oil Garage, a Golf Swing simulator, Video racing games, and go-go dancers. Samantha Ronson DJ'd the first three hours of the party, and, around midnight, Wyclef Jean put on an incredible show for the crowd of over 1000 people.

Just the other day, I was lucky enough to recieve some pictures from my friend and and business associate, Amy Pezzicara, of Pezzicara Photography in Tampa, FL. Amy is a talented local photographer hired by the company, Event Eleven, which produced the ESPN the Magazine's NEXT party for Superbowl 2009.

Tampa is fortunate to have had the Superbowl several times. I hope and expect it comes back in a few years. Word on the street is that the powers that be are already on the hunt to get it booked again. We'll be ready when they come.

Friday, January 30, 2009

January and the Superbowl - 1/30/09

This is Catering By Design's first blog post. We've entered the 21st century, I believe.

We spend an awful lot of time educating and exposing ourselves to the new trends in the industry. Sometimes we forget how much we have to share with others because it feels so familiar to us. Our clients love how we bring them fresh, new ideas. And the feeling of working on the next new project is what keeps us in the game.

My goal here is to share some of the projects with others. If our work inspires fresh ideas in you, please share them with us!

We have had so much fun in January. Besides our more traditional events, we had the chance to do some fun tailgate and sports themed parties, not to mention our two big name Superbowl parties, ESPN and Maxim Magazine.

From an all girls' Breakfast at Tiffany's brunch (malted pancakes with caramel and whipped cream, anyone?) to a Pretty in Pink birthday party complete with shopping and makeovers, the first half of the month was all about the girls. The second half- well that has been all about the Players!

Tonight we are working with the talented producers of the ESPN annual VIP held in a temporary structure in downtown Tampa, and the Maxim Magazine party held at the Ritz Ybor.

Stay tuned for more info on those two! We'll let you know what details we can once they are over.