How I Catered My Business To Follow My Passion

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The catering phone is ringing, a sure sign that the 2015 entertaining season has kicked off! For a number of years, The Gigi Team and I curated and ran large events, small parties, or simply dropped off scrumptious food to make impromptu entertaining local and delicious.

The 2014 season, however, marked my last foray into “event planning”, or essentially large scale ‘produced’ events. Some soul searching brought me back to my mission of providing local and seasonal food accessible to everyone! And so, 2015 is the Gigi Season of “Easy Entertaining Catering”. Many factors contributed to my decision to shift to Easy Entertaining Catering – the first word of this phrase is primary among them. Another aspect was the completion of my lease at Greig Farm. I used this space as a commissary and when it came time to look for another off-site kitchen to supplement the one at the Trattoria in Rhinebeck, I decided that my heart really wasn’t in it.

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Event planning is labor intensive and while some cherished relationships often develop, it is a relationship – and in the case of a wedding or large scale event – a very lengthy one. There is constant interaction among vendors, clients, event planners, and caterers. When I really examined what I love and what I do best, it kept coming back to great food and great drinks. I love listening to – really ‘hearing’ – customers’ visions and then helping them to create menus that deliver in style, balance flavors and quantities, and especially that sing the flavorful joy of the Hudson Valley. As a registered dietitian, I also enjoy working with clients to accommodate every gustatory goal as well as the preferences, tolerances and allergens of their guest lists. The linens, music, lighting, and rentals were becoming a distraction from the very special things that Gigi (and I) always brought to the table.

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Sorry brides, there are so many talented caterers in the area that can beautifully tend to your big day, but I’ll be happy to deliver foods to nourish your friends and family before and afterwards. The goal is to make celebrations, gatherings, meetings, and small “do-it-yourself” style weddings delicious and seasonal at price points that all can approach, and to put the primary focus on the food.

Cheers to a season full of beautiful Hudson Valley vistas, dishes and libations made with the love and passion of our neighboring food and beverage producers.

If you’re interested in our services or just want to take a look at the menu, I’ve developed an online order form that allows you to plan a party or enjoy some time with guests, pronto! https://www.gigihudsonvalley.com/seasonalorder/

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About Laura Pensiero

Laura Pensiero is a nutritionist, chef, activist and writer for the next generation of American eaters. Her wide-ranging perspective on food and health continues to have an enormous impact, defining what a “healthy lifestyle” means today. Drawing from her work as a clinical dietitian in some of NYC’s finest teaching hospitals, as an owner of Gigi Trattoria – one of the first “eat local” restaurants in the Hudson Valley – and as the founding chef and partner for “Just Salad,” a health focused fast/casual global food chain, Pensiero has established her reputation as an authentic voice in the national dialogue about our food systems and how they impact our overall health. Her grounded, practical advice helps move people from intention to action and she champions the idea that each one of us should strive to be a “conscious and happy eater.”

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