Entertaining as a part of life has always been my passion. But what, you ask, makes me the expert? I guess it all started when I was growing up in a traditional Italian home in Chicago. If we weren’t having Sunday dinner at our home it would be at my Grandfather’s apartment on Taylor Street in the heart of the city.
When I was a little girl I knew I wanted to cook. My mother introduced me to cooking at a very young age: Five to be exact. She would let me make the meatballs for our traditional Italian Sunday dinner. I remember standing on the kitchen chair mixing the meatballs and forming them into not so perfect balls. Mom would say, “Camille, would you want to eat a meatball that looked like that? I know you can do better.” That’s where I learned about perfection in cooking.
My mother was also the consummate party giver. There was always something going on with the family: Christenings, First Holy Communions, Confirmations, Graduations and Birthdays. Lots of Birthdays! And I can’t forget all of the holidays: Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve, Easter and July 4th. Mom worked hard at preparing these parties and if she wasn’t having a good time you would never know it. I loved watching her and her sister, my Auntie Jijie, cook, laugh and create the most wonderful feasts. I believe that’s where my entertaining gene developed.
As I grew older, and began my career in the food business at the impressionable age of 14 working for a local caterer, I knew I wanted entertaining to be a part of my life. I also realized I could not have a party every day and that’s how I seamlessly drifted into the catering end of the food business.
Before entering the catering only part of the food business I was lucky enough to work in quite a few high end restaurants. I worked as a server, bartender and restaurant manager. While I was working at a very nice restaurant as a server in Fort Lauderdale, a friend of mine, who knew I wanted to cook professionally, introduced me to a man who worked at a five star restaurant in Boca Raton. My friend’s friend passed my name on to the executive French chef and when the chef called me he offered me the job at the restaurant as an assistant in the pantry. There was no formal interview, a phone conversation only. I took the job without hesitation. That’s how I began my education in the food end of the business. I worked at several restaurants, all high end, before I went into the catering business. It may seem like a short story but there were many years of hard work behind it.
I love to give parties and I have been extremely fortunate to be able to go into so many homes and put together great parties for wonderful people, the whole time preparing food I loved and loved sharing. Now I want to share everything I have learned with as many people as I possibly can.
I am passionate about cooking and sharing what I cook and create. I love everything about cooking. EVERYTHING!!!! And that Includes washing dishes. You laugh, but ask the people that work with me and I know they will tell you I am not lying. First of all, I find it completely impossible to work in a mess. It drives me crazy. Also, washing dishes gives me time to think about what I will be cooking next, timing of the food and service at the party, how I will serve the dishes at the party, who does what, what time the servers and bartenders should be at the party, how we will get everything done in the allotted time we will be at the party, and so much more. My head is always spinning with these questions and when I am cooking I can’t think about those things because my focus is 100% on what I am creating at that moment.
I started my own catering business 20 years ago and I have been fortunate to be successful. The success didn’t come easy or overnight and I learned a lot by trial and error. I had many mentors and chefs I looked up to but none of them did catering as a full time profession. Trial and error and being naïve to what was involved in the catering business kept me going. Mistakes were few and turned into learning experiences never to be repeated.
After many years of catering and party planning, I feel it is time to share the vast knowledge I have with you. My goal has always been to make what I do look easy and to be sure the host has nothing more to do than socialize with the guests. I can make this happen for you.
With our hectic life styles it is a wonder that people still entertain. It always seems like a daunting task with way too much work. But if you think about the reason for entertaining you will remember it is about getting together with family and friends to break away from the craziness of life. To relax and enjoy each others company, to laugh, reminisce, “solve” the world’s problems, to eat and drink. Weather you do this on the porch, by the pool or in the kitchen you will want it to reflect the ease and casualness that makes entertaining so much fun.
With a little planning you can put together a great party and enjoy yourself as well and that’s where I come it. I will help you make your event a complete success even if that event is a dinner party for two.
Your questions will be welcomed as well as your suggestions for event and menu ideas that you would like me to help you create.
I look forward to the relationship we will cultivate over time and I am dedicated to helping you make your party a success.
Feel free to contact me with any questions you may have concerning food and cooking.