March 1, 2024
March 2024: Sharing
March 2024: Sharing
Continuing Education
For the 2nd year, we presented the Michael & Ansela Dopkin Scholarship as part of the The International Caterers Association Educational Foundation (ICAEF). A not-for-profit foundation created to provide educational opportunities to professional caterers worldwide, it was established to foster the advancement of catering professionals in their knowledge of the catering and hospitality industry, as well as the development of sound business practices. The Foundation makes it possible for qualified individuals including owners, managers and employees of catering and hospitality companies to attend designated educational conferences. We are grateful to have the opportunity to present this award to an admirable catering professional.
Kathryn (Kat) Maginnis of Footers Catering was the recipient of the scholarship. She received her award from co-owner, Larry Frank at the 2024 Catersource + The Special Event Conference in Austin, Texas. This scholarship recognizes not only Kat’s contributions to the catering industry, but also her embodiment of the values and principles upheld by Michael and Ansela Dopkin including leadership, dedication and commitment to excellence making her a clear candidate for the scholarship.
In addition to presenting the scholarship, Larry also delivered a presentation on Business Development at the Catersource conference, providing insight into best practices in connecting with and presenting your product to both new and past clients. We were pleased to have Larry representing The Classic Catering People at both occasions, reinforcing our strong ties within the catering community and returning with new thoughts and ideas. 

Labor of Love
Spring nears and memories surface of my mother preparing shad roe for my father. Only one time of year and mysteriously only for him. Even stranger was that my brother and I never asked to taste this delicacy and still, the memory lingers.
Shad season runs from February to May, starting in Georgia, and ending in the North Atlantic states. In March, the fish enter the Chesapeake tributaries. While the popularity of shad and shad roe has waned over the last 50 years, the demand exceeds the supply because of NOAA restrictions and limited quotas.  Currently, the majority of commercially harvested fish is shipped from Georgia and South Carolina.
Shad has been called the “The Founding Fish” because of its part in American history. Native Americans as well as George Washington’s troops depended on it and the prolific author John McPhee, a shad fisherman himself wrote a book in homage to it.
Shad are incredibly bony fish, with estimates running from the hundreds to a thousand bones per fish.  Filleting the shad is no easy feat and the number of professionals who specialize in the task is also declining.  It takes 17-20 strokes of a knife to debone a file, and masters of the art who are accurate and quick are appreciated for this specialized skill.
My father was not alone in treasuring the roe.  Even though the fish itself is flavorful and nutritious, for many, the prize is the roe. Each pair of egg sacs is filled with thousands of eggs with a delicate taste that takes on the flavors with which it is cooked.  Simply fried in butter or paired with bacon or eggs, shad roe and its culinary traditions are a sign to welcome the spring and a reminder for me; that cooking is often a gesture of love. 

Ask Classic

My fiancé and I have very different backgrounds, do you have any suggestions for incorporating our respective food traditions into our celebration? We want everyone to feel comfortable and at home.

With our kitchen comprised of chefs from all over the world, it gives us great pleasure to tailor a menu specifically to you and your guests. In fact, we are frequently asked to create a culinary journey that transcends borders with a taste of home.
Last year, we catered a milestone birthday featuring South African barbecue with Braai Lamb Chops and Malva Pudding. One wedding menu similar to the one you described, could transition from a cocktail hour featuring Indian flavors of samosas and pani puri and a Baja-style taco cart. The first course evoking the flavors of Lebanon with falafel, harissa tahini, za’atar labneh and tabbouleh.  The main course returns to the rich and aromatic dishes of India and includes Aloo Gobbi Mater and Murgh Tikka Masala. An abundant variety of vegetarian items is paramount as many guests came from traditions that avoid meat. We end on a sweet note with the couple’s favorite treats, returning to the Latin roots with everyone’s favorite churros served with Mexican hot chocolate.  Every bite, a journey, celebrating the diversity of flavors and cultures. Cookies from cherished, passed-down recipes have been duplicated to honor the love and bonds between family members. With a nod to a key point in a couple’s relationship, we’ve replicated food enjoyed and remembered. We love to create a menu that will tell your story. Whether that be a first date, family backgrounds, or simply a shared favorite.
Have a question for us? Feel free to reach out to Events@ClassicCatering.com or DM us on Facebook or Instagram @TheClassicCateringPeople.
From Our Library, Harriet’s Book Picks: A Serendipitous Duo  

In the space of a week, two chefs each gifted me a culinary history book.  The first was Ten Restaurants That Changed America by Paul Freedman and the second, The Course of History, Ten Meals That Changed the World by Struan Stevenson. Paul Freedman is a medieval history professor at Yale University and Stevenson is a Scottish politician and international lecturer. Both men dive deeply into the power of a good meal, its effect on decision making and pivotal moments in history
Freedman culled through two centuries of American restaurants to arrive at his ten selections.  He begins with Delmonicos in New York and the Swiss brothers who expanded their pastry shop, established in 1827, into a serious French restaurant. The iconic establishment clearly elevated the American dining experience above the existing taverns and street stands and gave birth to lobster Newberg and baked Alaska.  Freedman continues with Antoine’s, a New Orleans institution, and ends the list with Chez Panisse in Berkeley which both happen to be the only listed restaurants still operating today. Other prominent chefs featured for altering our dining out experience are Celicia Chang, the Mandarin; Sylvia Wood, Sylvias; and Luisa Leone, Mamma Leone’s.  Celicia Chang presented authentic Northern Chinese home cooking as opposed to the pseudo-Chinese dishes developed to appease American tastes, added elegant décor and served as an ambassador to a little-known cuisine. Sylvia’s offered Southern cooking in her Harlem neighborhood location which became as well-known for its food as for being a social center. And according to Freedman, Mama Leone’s ushered Italian cuisine into the mainstream of American dining. The author includes the fascinating evolution of the family-friendly Howard Johnsons, the Schrafts chain which offered a safe, budget-friendly place for women to dine if unaccompanied by men, and the seasonal sophisticated dining at the Four Season’s Le Pavilon as game changers in the rapidly expanding dining market. 

There is a lot to chew over in Freedman’s well-researched book and many more restaurants that could be added to the list, but it’s a solid tribute to individuals who dreamed big and transformed restaurant dining in the United States.
Stevenson’s main objective is to illustrate how food has the potential to sway as well as cloud minds and how it can become “a weapon of unimaginable power”.  The first chapter describes one of the most important battles in the history of the British Isles which ended in the Jacobite defeat and the feast served to the Jacobite leadership the night before in Culloden House while the foot soldiers were tired and starving in the fields. 
The narratives cover famous meetings over meals that sowed the seeds of the American Revolution, forged peace at the Congress of Vienna, and the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty Dinner.  Included is Churchill’s Birthday Banquet with Franklin D. Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin in Tehran and the unimaginable visit by President Richard Nixon, his wife and Henry Kissinger to China at the height of the Cold War.  Stevenson partnered with chef Tony Singh who researched and reproduced the meals with recipes in a more modern style.

From our Kitchen: Catfish Piccata 
Chef Dan Litchfield

I grew up visiting my grandparents on the Bush River and spent a lot of my days out fishing. When I would luck out and catch a catfish, I would take it to my Grandma Virginia who would make one of my favorite dinners, Catfish Picatta and we’d enjoy it with the family. Now I’m counting down the days to take my son fishing and our making the dish together.
Ingredients:1 pound catfish
salt and black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon paprika
1 tbsp garlic, minced
¼ cup flour for dredging, (use whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, or gluten-free flour of your choice)
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp unsalted butter or ghee, divided
2 lemons for the juice
½ cup white wine or chicken broth
4 tablespoons capers, rinsed or drained
Fresh chopped parsley for garnish

Directions: Season the fish on both sides with salt and pepper. Mix the oregano, paprika, and garlic powder and season the flesh side of the fish.To dredge, coat the fish on both sides with flour. Gently shake off excess flour.In a large cast iron skillet, heat the olive oil and 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter over medium-high heat. Carefully add the fish and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side (a total of 4 to 6 minutes), or until the fish is firm and flaky (being careful not to overcook the fish). Transfer the fish to a tray lined with paper towel to drain excess oil.To the same pan, add the remaining tablespoon of unsalted butter.
Lower the heat, and add the lemon juice, white wine, and capers. Cook briefly over medium heat.

Return the fish to the pan and spoon the sauce over the fish (give it just a few seconds to warm through in the sauce).
Add parsley and red pepper flakes if desired and serve.