Here at CTCW we know quite a few peeps that create A-Ma-Zing culinary delights. And for ‘quality control’ measures, we insist on sampling their delicious services. I mean – it’s the professional thing to do!
And we recommend that you do the same thing. Researching your wedding suppliers is essential for a perfect wedding day.
So when it comes time to try Jacqueline Thorn’s food, of Catered By Jacqueline, we suggest you take the following recommendations.
1. Skip the previous meal (brekkie or lunch)
2. Wear lose-fitting pants
3. Prepare your mind to be as blown away as your tastebuds!
We caught up with Jacqueline recently to pump her for a little bit of goss about her biz. Here’s what she shared with us.
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Name of your business and number of staff that work for you?
Catered by Jacqueline, and we send out teams of two to twelve, depending on the size of the event.
Date you started the business?
What was the core of your business when you started?
I started out catering to whomever wanted any kind of catering.
What is the core of your business now?
We haven’t changed too much I think, but I dont take a cake orders these days as we specialize more in staffed events now.
Where do you service in the Region?
We service the entire South West corner, in all venues or homes and beyond.
Many of our prestigious holiday homes in the South West are my favourite places to cater. I recently added many new venues to our preferred list and we are looking forward to catering to these in the near future.
When looking at the wedding industry as a whole, in locally/nationally/globally, where do you think the Southwest sits?
It is the wedding mecca in the South West.
Sometimes I do wonder if the area hasn’t been flooded with so many trying to get a slice of the pie, particularly those that have come from further afield. There are many business raising families in our rural communities and towns, and the big boys come in and under-cut and take the work from our local families. A few companies have secured sole deals with venues locking out any other option for couples to choose from; which is somewhat disappointing.
I believe that freedom of choice, makes for a healthier industry.
What is your all-time favourite month for weddings, year in and year out?
March and November are always the busiest months for me personally, but I don’t have a particular favourite myself. I think any event that isn’t boiling hot or pouring with rain is a good one.
Is there a service, product or natural resource that you think is genuinely unique and actually cool about our Southwest, and that makes Southwest weddings the best?
We have lots of top quality local produce in this region and we always try to source the freshest and the best produce. Personally I love the Deer Farm and one of my favourite products is the Venison Chorizo which we serve with a cauliflower puree and seared scallops (Yummo!!)
I also grow a lot of our own produce too and we have a huge herb garden.
What do you love about the wedding scene in the Southwest?
I love this region, I have lived her since I was a young woman. It has a rugged beauty with so many pristine beautiful beaches and you can still find yourself a secluded spot. There are so many photogenic locations for endless photo opportunities. The terrain ranges from picturesque wineries, caves, beaches , rolling hills and valleys, rugged coastline, to manicured gardens.
We have a wealth of wedding professionals in this area and there is no need to have an added cost to bring others in.
Who do you admire or aspire to emulate, that is a leader in your field of weddings?
There are many chefs in the world that I admire, none of them reside in this area, but some of them frequent here to visit our beautiful corner of the world.
Catering weddings is a seasonal thing for us, the rest of the year we cater to all sorts of events. I am told we are one of the elite caterers in this region, which makes me very proud and happy. We always strive for perfection and I am grateful to have such an amazing team.
In your experience in this whole industry, what do you think is the most underrated element of a wedding celebration?
I don’t think any part is underrated, each couple will have certain things that are important to them. They may have religious or cultural aspects that are important to either of them that they want included. Whether they choose a more traditional style or a modern style or something off-beat, it’s important to include what makes them happy, at the end of the day.
Have you ever been asked a question by a bride or groom, that left you gob-smacked?
A few times I have been told “We don’t need staff – our friends (guests!) will help”. In reality your friends won’t help, they will want to party and to be honest, we only work with our own team . . . who I trust implicitly to work your event flawlessly.
If you got married in the next 12 months, what would be your number one priority/expense?
I would definitely say the celebration meal, when you have amazing food, your guests will talk about your wedding forever… J
Can you recall and share a wedding that caught you by surprise?
I have been to two weddings at the same venue and before dinner was even served all the men had their pants down dancing, it must be a traditional thing I don’t know, perhaps it was planned, I don’t know, but it sure was funny. It took the room a little while to settle down but then we were able to serve dinner and then later the festivities continued.
Is there ‘something’ that you see in some couples, that makes you think that they’ll be a couple to ‘make it’?
I don’t think it has ever crossed my mind that a couple wouldn’t make it… when I meet and greet a couple they are very much in love and want to get married. On the special day everyone is happy all round, so it isn’t really something I give much thought too. I’d like to think all my couples make it.
What is your all-time favourite location for a wedding in the whole Southwest?
Hahaha, well to be honest any location that doesn’t involve driving too far….
But seriously though, we have many gorgeous locations to choose from in the Southwest, and we are lucky to be able to cater to most of them. A couple of venues have now opted for a sole-caterer to do all their functions, which takes the choice away from the bride and groom, which we find disappointing. It’s like telling them you must have this dress and here are your flowers, oh, and this is your photographer etc. The whole point of having a venue that isn’t a restaurant, is to be able to have the choice of caterer. A caterer that suits your budget, culinary tastes, serving style and even availability.
We are grateful and lucky enough to be booked on reputation alone in many cases – however some of our clients are finding that they can’t book us at certain venues. Many of us in the industry believe this kind of scenario won’t last long, that there will be an unfavourable response from many couples who want the freedom to select their own preferred caterer.
I recently spoke with a bride’s Mum that felt one of these venues had lost all their personal service, as she got off the phone with them she was given the distinct feeling that she was just another person to get off the phone, as they are pumping out three brides a weekend.
Food for thought I’d say.
What does marriage mean to you?
Love, honour, friendship, trust, compassion, emotions, compromise, understanding, caring, sharing and always trying.
What is the best piece of marriage advice you have ever heard or been given personally?
To the girls, I’d say “Find a friend”, and
to the guys I’d say, “Remember, “Yes Dear” and “Happy wife happy life””.
This doesn’t mean you shower her with money or gifts.
It means you shower her with love, attention and your time, and then she won’t need things to replace you.
Five things that you carry with you on every job, big or small?
* My knives,
* My favourite spatula,
* Olive oil and
* Salt and
What’s one trick/secret (you would be prepared to share) that people in your industry/field covet, that everyone should actually know?
I’m a professional.
* I give my best to all my clients
* I don’t promise what can’t be done
* I make dreams come true,
if you have a unrealistic request, that puts me or my team in any danger – we can’t work with you.
Last season we had to deal with a wedding planner that made one of her weddings sound like a ‘fairytale’ to the client, but, in reality what she wanted to achieve was unrealistic and would have put my team at risk. I worried over this job for a few months. I had recommended options to the wedding planner and the couple, offering compromises that would still have produced a magical event: A feast in a gorgeous location. Walking food from cooking to serving over a distance of 300 meters, on unlit & rambling terrain was a work safety issue, the venue and myself recommended the use of the marquee on the tennis court, but this idea was not liked.
Unfortunately there was no resolution so I decided for the first time ever to pull out of an event. Funnily enough, in the end the event went ahead on the tennis court as I had suggested! As professionals - we know, so please listen when we give you our advice. If we convey that we believe that something is not do-able, then it really isn’t do-able.
In your opinion, as couples plan their wedding day, they should consider which month or season to have their wedding? And why?
Spring and Summer are clearly favourites, however the seasons seem to be changing somewhat, almost being pushed back a month. April and May are becoming more popular, whereas Sept and October can be dicey…
Having said that, you just can’t control or predict the weather. The best thing to do is enjoy yourself regardless of the weather . . . “A wet knot is harder to untie”. (So the saying goes). Also you just can’t beat a gorgeous winter day in the South West for a stunning wedding day !
Is there something people should know about you?
Yes! Whenever I visit friends, they worry about the food they are serving me and some people are SO worried about cooking for me - that they just they won’t. But in all honesty, you could give me a toasted ham and cheese sandwich and I’d be happy. I have four children, so any meal I didn’t have to cook myself is a good one.
To contact Catered by Jacqueline tap here.