As you shop for catering, you'll notice most caterers' dishes look pretty good on paper, and gushing referrals are not so few and far between. So you'll study brochures and websites only to discover a half-dozen buzzwords (fresh, creative, colorful, custom, full-service, and so on) that 99% of caterers use to profess their worth. The words tend to lose their oomph in the loose use.
The challenge, then, is to discern reality from rhetoric. How huge is a huge selection? What exactly is meant by fresh? And isn't creativity subjective? Here's a suggestion: shop a few caterers and then head to Fresh Horizons Catering. It's fun to go there armed with the basic buzzword lexicon and an idea of how some other caterers use it. Why? Because Fresh Horizons is refreshingly literal.
Let's start with the word fresh. It's in the business name for a good reason. Owner Caryn Hasslocher grew up in and around the restaurant business and knows the importance of using the freshest ingredients. So, fresh at Fresh Horizons means starting with the freshest ingredients. It means the flavors and colors on the eclectic menu are downright pure.
The company's beef and pork tenderloin are especially popular for weddings, as are its action stations, like pasta bars, mashed-potato bars, and grill-to-order sautés. You can even have fresh tortillas and quesadillas made right in front of your guests. How about a seafood menagerie with chilled gulf shrimp, smoked salmon, and blue-crab claws? Theme menus are popular, but because Fresh Horizons is a custom caterer, you can design just about any menu you'd like.
Should you choose Fresh Horizons, you will receive full service, including rentals for the reception-from chairs, china and glassware to linens and centerpieces. If you'd like, Fresh Horizons can even suggest and then coordinate other quality vendors, like the cake decorator and florist. You will find that colorful here means everything from standard white to supple lavender and mango. You'll receive complimentary appointments to buffet and cake tables, as well as silver, brass, copper, weathered wood, crystal, or rustic wrought-iron pieces, adding style and ambiance to your special event. "We try to give lots of color, light, and depth," says Caryn. "People eat with their eyes."
She continues, "It's interesting to see what's tugging at the clients' hearts—to see what, in their mind, is the dream wedding. Our task is to determine how we're going to create that ambience." To that end, Fresh Horizon's inventory and culinary repertoire are always growing. "We stay on the cutting edge with classes and trade seminars and by constantly reading trade publications like Martha Stewart Living, Colin Cowie, and Bon Appetit," says Caryn. "Customer service is everything, and being user-friendly is a top priority, so we know we need to be prepared to handle variety."
The Fresh Horizons staff is based at a hacienda-like office with brightly painted walls and comfy rooms where potential clients can interview staff. It is a well-oiled machine of chefs, production managers, service staff, and bartenders, all of whom are extensively trained. Hasslocher is especially proud of her event designers, Kathy Olson and Tammy Osterheld. "We try to paint a picture of each affair to everyone involved in the production so clients get service and style across the board," Caryn says. The staff meets weekly to discuss the past week's events. What worked? What didn't? They've evolved to address the common problems and now strive for innovation and higher benchmarks.
After 21 years in business, Caryn has an impressive collection of photos documenting exactly how her. "We're different in that we're really invested in the wedding market," she says. "We give brides the opportunity to have one company handle most of their reception needs. We're very good at that, and we love doing it."
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