Serve it well – Smithers Interior News

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– Words Devon Paige Smith Photography Don Denton

The Truffle Group, launched by Don Calveley over 30 years ago, has become a household name on Vancouver Island. Between Cascadia Liquor, Habitat Café, Flight Cannabis and Victoria Butterfly Gardens, it’s hard to miss the locally owned and operated conglomerate when you’re on the go.

However, it is Truffles Catering that is often a priority for people during events and wedding season. As the region’s largest catering company, it often serves fresh, local and delicious dishes at popular venues around the city.

“No day is ever the same as the last, or the next, that’s for sure,” laughs Heidi Jones, sales and marketing manager for Truffles Catering, who took time out after a busy day over the final weeks of the wedding season to talk to Boulevard.

“To do what we do, we need a great team, a lot of experience and a global vision,” she says.

The experience Heidi refers to includes General Manager Alistair Eason, Executive Chef JP Green, Executive Chef Greg Caspersen and Operations Manager Jess Howard, all of whom have varied backgrounds in the hospitality industry. The four of them lead a large operations team and a culinary team, and Heidi and three catering managers handle requests and reservations.

“The team this summer was just amazing. We’re lucky to have a great culture here and we’re having a lot of fun,” Heidi says, reflecting on the 2022 wedding season, which has been one of the busiest. The full team includes on-site managers, event managers, servers, bartenders – the list goes on.

“We get a lot of large weddings and events where full service is required, and maybe there isn’t the infrastructure to support it. We have the ability to come in and set up a full kitchen, with ovens and a bar and everything that goes with that scenario,” she explains, adding that with weddings, corporate events are another large-scale part of Their business.

Their offerings run the gamut from small picnic boxes (called Grazing Boxes), available for pickup at their Brentwood Bay headquarters, to catering conference groups. And whether it’s deli-style picnic boxes or full service for 300 people, the trend so far this year is communal sharing.

“For weddings and corporate events, the family style has grown in popularity and is undoubtedly the most commonly requested style of service,” says Heidi.

For those unfamiliar with the concept, family style usually involves platters of food being handed out and shared at tables, with guests serving themselves. It’s a change from the classic buffet style that has dominated the event industry for years, but not as formal as a plated dinner, Heidi says.

“It’s more personal and welcoming, and I think people feel that desire to share a close connection with people after the last two years,” she adds.

At the center of the family service, of course, are the delicious creations of Executive Chef JP.

“Being based in Brentwood Bay,” says Heidi, “we really have so many connections to beautiful local ingredients just a few miles away. So whatever we can source locally, we do. We have great relationships with many local growers and suppliers, like TOPSOIL, Sunwing Farms, Level Ground Coffee, Metchosin Lamb, as well as local breweries and wineries.

And the Truffles Catering team takes sustainability seriously.

“We minimize our waste production by sorting everything we collect at an event,” explains Heidi. “We compost and recycle, and only throw away what we absolutely have to.”

Their efforts have paid off: Truffles Group is Vancouver Island Green Business Certified, as well as Surfrider Accredited, which means they demonstrate their commitment to reducing plastic use and protecting our oceans.

“It’s important to Don and it’s important to us. Truffles Group’s goal has always been to support local and stay as sustainable as possible because we know we need the environment to be healthy to produce the amazing local food we love serving people.

Heidi and the team are already looking forward to the next busy season: the holidays.

“We usually have a little slower weather in mid-fall, but then we pick up for the holiday season, so that keeps us on our toes,” she notes.

With many bookings underway for the 2023 wedding season, the Truffles Catering team is already working with clients, helping them choose the right type of service.

“We strive to understand the unique needs of each potential client and their event. So we like to make sure we get a phone call once we get their vision. This gives us the ability to give them an accurate picture of what we can offer and an accurate quote for their consideration,” says Heidi.

“Once we have a menu created and an event plan in place, we visit the venue before the event if we don’t know it, so we know exactly what we’re working with. Ensuring our operations team is prepared is important to us, but we are also experts in flexibility and creativity because, as with any event, you really never know what might happen on the day.

Story courtesy of Boulevard magazinea publication of Black Press Media

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