The County's Piping Hot Caterers
No time or inclination to cook? Relax. We've raided te Rolodexes of some of the county's most finicky foodies to discover the region's most creative caterers.
County Caterers At Your Service
Creative (cuisine), clever (presentation) and convenient (clean-up).
By Dina Cheney
Photography by Marc Sullivan
Madonna hired one. Another constructed a wedding cake out of Krispy Kreme doughnuts. A third maintained his sanity while preparing 25 different dishes under the watchful eye of Martha Stewart. Who are they? Some of the region’s top caterers. In this round-up, we probe the Rolodexes of some of the best-connected party planners, celebrities, executives and food-world cognoscenti—and share with you what we learned.
Events by Xaviar’s
(845) 268-6555 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
To read the catering menu, visit www.xaviars.com/Events_by_Xaviar’s.htm.
Xaviar’s at Piermont, Freelance Café and Wine Bar in Piermont, and Restaurant X & Bully Boy Bar in Congers, NY
Upscale contemporary American incorporating Hudson River Valley products
About 20 years
From 100 to 1,000 off-site; minimum of 50 on-site
Roast rack of veal with local morels and chive spaetzle; filet of red snapper with leek fondue wrapped in a thin crêpe with star anise glaze; a trio of desserts including buttermilk panna cotta, a caramel-centered chocolate timbale and sorbet served in a tuile
Full service. Ned Kelly, chef Peter Xaviar Kelly’s brother, is the company’s in-house floral designer.
Bill Murray and former American Express CEO Harvey Golub
A birthday party for Golub, whose wife rented four grand pianos, hired comedian Robert Klein to perform, and created a “Harvey Golub Jeopardy” game. The menu was simple however: shrimp cocktail, prime rib and chocolate chip cookies. Chef Kelly also catered a wedding for a key Martha Stewart employee; the domestic diva herself stood over his shoulder while he prepared 25 different passed foods.
Says Kelly: “We are a great restaurant group that also caters. And we’re happy to bring in an ethnic note, which might mean preparing Korean hors d’oeuvres for a Korean bride and a French entrée for a French groom. Also, we want our clients to be guests at their own party—to sit down, eat and enjoy.”
For a recent hat-themed party, Kelly and his team created 600 ganache- and caramel-filled chocolate bonnets with shoestring licorice sashes.
Crabtree’s Kittle House Catering
(914) 666-8044; www.kittlehouse.com
Crabtree’s Kittle House in Chappaqua
20 years on-site; 2 years off-site
Minimum of 10 for private dining in on-site wine cellar; maximum of 225 for on-site banquet room; minimum of 15 for off-site events
$20/person minimum for lunch and $45-$150/person for dinner on-site; $40/person minimum for food off-site
Lobster soufflé; shellfish seviche served in a martini glass; duck confit salad with dried cherries, walnuts, frisée and arugula; poached salmon with fresh dill; beef Wellington with foie gras and black truffle sauce; filo-wrapped Valrhona chocolate cake
The Clintons, Richard Gere, Tom Ryder (chairman of Reader’s Digest), Lynne Cheney (wife of Dick)
A wedding for 175 guests, complete with a 25-piece orchestra, Cristal Champagne, pastry-wrapped foie gras with huckleberry dipping sauce and an ice sculpture displaying approximately $3,500 worth of beluga caviar.
Clients can select bottles from the restaurant’s incomparable world-famous wine list, which the Kittle House chefs can easily pair with a customized tasting menu. For on-site events, the venue—a 220-year-old plantation-style house—easily pleases; it is both beautiful and impressive. Says owner John Crabtree, “People come to enjoy the food and drink in an atmosphere of tradition. Besides, we like to play with our food—we have a lot of fun and get really creative.”
Crabtree’s offers wedding “morning-after” picnic baskets complete with late edition newspapers, oranges and muffins; roast suckling pigs for outdoor weddings; theme drink bars (such as mojito bars); and innovative ice sculptures.
Bernard’s and Sarah Bouissou Catering
(203) 438-8282 for restaurant events and (203) 856-2537 for off-site events;
Bernard’s in Ridgefield, CT
Contemporary French using lots of fresh, local ingredients
Dinner for 4 to 800 (up to 200 at the restaurant)
$120/person minimum, including dinner and staff but no rentals (average is $150/person)
Braised short rib and celery root spring roll; baby pumpkins with pumpkin mousseline, wild mushrooms and sautéed shrimp; foie gras trio; herb-crusted rack of lamb with grilled vegetables and couscous galette; roasted apricot tart with crème caramel and apricot sorbet
Food, staffing and rentals
Top-tier movie and Broadway producers, plus many celebrities, including Martha Stewart and Paul Newman
Bar mitzvah for a Westport record executive’s son in Manhattan’s Puck Building, which a set designer turned into a facsimile of Miami’s hip Delano Hotel. The original Broadway Annie sang in front of five movie screens. Guests visited stations offering Italian, Middle Eastern and American dishes and enjoyed crème brûlées and mini-chocolate mousses.
Chef and co-owner Sarah Bouissou maintains that she’ll say “no” to a party if the host is not willing to invest in the number of staff needed to have it be successful. “You can have fabulous food, but if it’s served by staff that’s not professional, it’s not going to come across as exceptional,” she says. “With us, you get a luxurious experience where every detail is painstakingly taken care of.”
Sarah Bouissou constructed a wedding cake out of 200 sugar-glazed Krispy Kreme doughnuts (in case you’re wondering how, she formed four tiers and strategically placed flowers and toothpicks among them).
Pasión Food by Rafael Palomino Catering
(914) 933-0833 or (203) 629-2930;
Sonora and Pacifico, both in Port Chester
Unofficially for 5 years; officially for 1 year
From 6 to 1,000
$55 for a sit-down dinner at the restaurant (not including alcohol, rentals or staff); other menus available in all price ranges
Creative cocktails, such as mango mimosas and pineapple and coconut mojitos; seviches; paellas; chile Caipirinha caramelized salmon; grilled skirt steak with sundried tomato chimichurri; and anything with dulce de leche—“It rules!” exclaims chef-owner Rafael Palomino.
Full-service (Chef Palomino can arrange for Tito Puento’s former co-performers to provide the entertainment)
Mostly corporations; Placido Domingo at the restaurant
A sixtieth anniversary party for the Goya company at the Plaza, for which Palomino and his 65-member team cooked shrimp and lobster empanadas, shrimp seviche and Caipirinha salmon for 800 guests
Palomino can prepare Nuevo Latino, French, American and other types of cuisine. “Unlike many other caterers, we are not limited to one type of food,” he notes. “We want to make events exciting. When we launched our catering company, we had a mojito bar, which was a lot of fun.”
A bar decorated with sugar cane and plantain leaves, from which mojitos were served. "It felt like you were in South Beach or Calle Ocho," says Palomino.
(for party menus, visit
La Panetière in Rye
Contemporary, upscale French
Unofficially for 2 years; now officially
Up to 50 on-site and up to 20 off-site
$20/person for hors d’oeuvres and desserts to $55 plus/person for dinner (Sunday lunch begins at $45/person)
Grilled filet de boeuf with potato gnocchi “au gratin,” braised radicchio, shallot fondue and black peppercorn sauce; gerlat en vertical (almond dacquoise layered with lavender crème brûlée, sautéed fresh apricots and light honey mousse with pine nut nougatine)
Kurt Masur, conductor of the London Philharmonic, dines at the restaurant frequently
Small, refined dinner parties, rather than
large-scale, opulent events
Says owner Jacques Loupiac, “We’ve been open for 20 years. Plus whatever we do at the restaurant, we can do in clients’ homes.”
La Panetière delivers the food that’s on its menu—no surprises. But the menu is creative. Try the terrine bourgeoise, a terrine of chicken, summer truffle and confit foie gras with micro greens and light sherry vinaigrette, or the pigeon farci, grilled bonless squab breasts stuffed with leg confit.
AliMezFood@aol.com or (212) 628-8151
Eclectic, contemporary and ethnic including tapas and Nuevo Latino
From 8 to 150 (Mesrop will cook for larger groups, but prefers this range)
$750 minimum for the food; dinners average $100/person for food, staff and rentals (for larger parties, she is more flexible)
Moroccan bastila (shredded spiced chicken with a toasted almond fillo crust); lacquered sea bass with a balsamic soy glaze and crispy rice noodles; Cuban grilled pork with homemade salsas and lettuce wrappers; 10 types of crème brûéee; caramel, butterscotch or chocolate dessert samplers
Food, staffing, rentals, bar
Madonna, Paul Newman, Rosie O’Donnell, Lillian Vernon and Paula Zahn
Mesrop prepared hors d’oeuvres and desserts for 1,500 guests at a Robin Hood Foundation benefit featuring the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Conan O’Brien and Gwyneth Paltrow. After the event, Dylan Lauren (daughter of Ralph) called to request that she bake cookies for her shop, Dylan’s Candy Bar.
Assures Mesrop, who is originally from Pelham and now lives in Manhattan, “My service is personal. I don’t offer packages. I work with clients to come up with ideas just for them. And I also cook all of the food myself.”
“Just one month ago I did a Caribbean party in Larchmont,” Mesrop says. “The house happens to be on the beach and it was a gorgeous evening. It even looked like the Caribbean. We bought palm trees and tropical lights. We served special drinks, including kiwi and mango margaritas. The food was authentic: Venezuelan aerpas with black bean crabmeat topping, oyster fritters with papaya mustard, crispy yuca pancakes topped with beef pecadillo, as well as homemade tamales and empanadas.”
Catering by Framboise
Rooted in high-quality Italian but expanded to “global” cuisine, with such dishes as ale-roasted meatballs with malt aïoli to jerk chicken salad on crisp plantain chips with cilantro rémoulade
Any, from a very extravagant meal for one in a private home to serving 350,000 meals over the course of eight weeks at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics
Off-site only, but will open a facility at Colony Hill on Staten Island in a few months
Framboise “always negotiates” and customizes prices and menus for each client.
Brie beignets with raspberry sauce; filo-wrapped spring green and goat cheese-stuffed chicken with roasted shallot Champagne sauce; a bistro carving station (with steak and béarnaise, pommes frites with homemade ketchup and hors d’oeuvres version of French onion soup); and seasonal panna cottas with sauces
Notable guests at Franboise-catered sporting events and galas include Celeste Holm, Beverly Sills, Peggy Fleming, Kristi Yamaguchi and Scott Hamilton
Millennium party for a “very well-known movie star” for which a tent was transformed into an all-white London nightclub complete with a single-use white shag carpet, tropical fish tank on which sushi was served, shoe check, caviar bar, until-daybreak omelet bar, and three big-name acts
Answers Executive Chef Grayson Sherman: “Even though the number of people at an event might be astronomical, we really take care of all the details.” Adds event planner Audrey Wyman of Coordinated Celebrations in Port Chester, “They’re my first choice caterers. They’re extremely creative and generous and always arrive hours before an event.”
At the Salt Lake City Olympics, lit-up hors d'oeuvres trays were suspended from the ceiling by wires while Cirque du Soleil acrobats performed overhead.
Matt Miller Culinary Productions
Creative New American
From 10 to unlimited
$80 to 200/person for a complete party; minimum $35/person for food only.
Avocado, goat cheese and tomato tower with lobster and saffron aïoli; horseradish-crusted salmon with braised endive and orange beurre blanc; frozen key lime tart with raspberry coulis