Whether you are interested in an intimate dinner for two or need to feed a crowd of 250, Savoir Faire Catering Services in North Bay provides formal and informal dining experiences offering everything from appetizers to main courses to desserts.
“I have Angie who works for me and makes the most amazing cupcakes, cakes and cookies. Everything is homemade. We very rarely would buy, let’s say, a red velvet cake. Very rarely does that ever happen, generally we make it in-house,” said company owner and head chef Patricia Spencer.
When it comes to food selection, think big.
“We can do anything from charcuterie boards for you, to lasagnas to beef wellington, salmon wellington. You name it we can do it. We can do fruit and veggie trays, and appetizers. If you want to take them home and cook them at your place or reheat them, we can do that as well. Even if you don’t want us there for the whole service part of it, we can come and set up your charcuterie board so it’s ready to go when your guests arrive and then we leave and everybody thinks you did it,” Spencer grinned.
People have relied on her professionalism when it comes to matters of the heart.
“I have done three engagements now where it was completely private, very intimate. None of the ladies knew that they were being proposed to. I answered the door, ushered them in for cocktails and appetizers and then served a five or six-course meal to them and made them a snack for later on in the evening and left.”
Spencer provides the same attention to detail when catering for larger crowds.
“We do corporate events, weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, pretty much anything,” explained Spencer.
“I have had the honour of helping to celebrate 100th birthdays and 50th wedding anniversaries.”
Celebration of life events often uses food as a way to remember a loved one.
“Some of the individuals were known for their love of food, and we kept that in mind when putting the menu together. So for example, we tried to find out what Dad’s favourite dinner was, or his favourite lunch if it is an afternoon event. So we created appetizers or meals to go along with something that was going to honour that person.”
The menu need not be elaborate.
“I had a gentleman whose favourite thing in the whole wide world was tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. So we had grilled cheese sandwiches as an appetizer on a shot glass of soup, and so we walked around with those.”
Savoir Faire works closely with the client to work out an appropriate menu.
“I generally sit down or talk to my clients over the phone, and we design the menu according to their event, their likes or dislikes,” Spencer explained.
“We’ve done a 100 per cent vegan wedding for 110 people. The guests at the wedding did not know that it was going to be a vegan wedding and I can honestly say that nobody was disappointed. People were blown away when I said the vegan meatballs had no meat in them. At the end of the evening, we served vegan sliders. So many people said they couldn’t believe that people can eat like this and be vegan.”
Spencer has catered events in communities across Ontario.
“I will go pretty much anywhere in the province. I have travelled to Collingwood, I’ve done Fenelon Falls, I’ve been to Ottawa, Toronto, Sudbury, New Liskeard, Kirkland Lake, and Petawawa. My team travels with me.”
Wherever she goes, she likes to buy locally.
“I cook in season and I like to use what is available locally. So when we went to Fenelon Falls, for instance, I went to the farmers market there and gathered all the ingredients three days before this big wedding we were putting on down there. And the farmers were like ‘You’re doing what? You’re from where? Wow, you’re buying stuff here? This is amazing.’ So I try to support our local farmers and our producers as much as possible, but when I’m travelling out of this area, I always try to support those farmers as well.”
Spencer is very particular about the ingredients she uses.
“I don’t cook with a lot of salt. I cook with a lot of fresh herbs and a lot of great spices from around the world. I create my own curry powders, I create my own barbecue sauces, and I create my own salad dressings so I know what’s in them. And when somebody who has a food allergy or an intolerance asks, I can honestly say I know there is no yeast extract in there or I know there is no soy or I know there are absolutely no contaminants whatsoever such as peanuts or ground nuts or tree nuts. I often create things that would normally be a dairy product and I can create them with non-dairy items, so I do a lot of experimenting. My husband is a great taste tester,” Spencer laughed.
When not at work cooking, Spencer loves to travel the world.
“I like to bring my travels back home, utilizing our local products and services. It is a taste of the international but it is from home.”
Spencer has also provided prepared meal kits for people to complete at home.
“I do it for a few of my clients right now where I do all the peeling, the slicing, the dicing, the chopping, and the seasoning. Everything is done, vacuum sealed, and put in a nice paper bag with instructions inside, I email the instructions as well. One of my clients said ‘Pat, you make me look like a chef every time,’” Spencer grinned.
“It is something we’re going to be offering more now that we’re in a central location I just need a few days' notice and what you’re looking for, and then we can prep it up and make it fresh that day.”
This popular chef is looking forward to future opportunities.
“I’m looking at a number of new products we will probably bring to the marketplace come the winter and fall once the summer season is over.”
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