On Thursday May 5th the ATTC office staff spent a terrific day at Maugle Sierra Vineyard in Ledyard. Paul Maugle was a most generous host for our off site brainstorming/staff meeting. The gorgeous, comfortable and sun lit tasting room offered us a magnificent and comfortable space to spread out for our Round Table Meeting to discuss “What Makes ATTC Tick… and Keep on Ticking”. Our chefs provided us with a delicious “boxed lunch” of grilled chicken over field greens & veggies with raspberry vinaigrette. The four wonderful wines Paul selected for us touched everyone’s palate. Chocolate Cupcakes – filled, frosted & adorned with a magnificent chocolate dipped strawberry for dessert placed chocolaty smiles on our faces. Thank you Paul for having us. We are looking forward to getting back to see you again with our family and friends very, very soon.
left to right: Lori, Dave, Alicia, Paul Maugle, Serena, Linda & Gina
Last evening my husband Steve and I were honored to join Russell Morin Fine Catering as they celebrated their Centennial. With 100 years of experience, the evening was of course just spectacular! Congratulations Russ!
We are so excited to have our friend and colleague Lisa Teiger owner of Cuisine Etc., in NYC joining our CT Caterers Association meeting tonight. Thanks for coming Lisa!
How does one go from a magical vacation in Venice back to the reality of a dreary April in Southeastern Connecticut!?
Hold on to the memories and the flavor!
A few things about this trip to Venice (will go into more detail later)
-Julie- the server at Oliva Nera, with a radiant smile, deftness, speed and perception–would you like to work for ATTC?!
-Eating tons of food and walking it all off–or most of it anyway!
-Watching amazing construction/renovation from boat barges-remember, the roads are canals and the streets are the buildings in Venice
-Works of Giambattista Tiepolo
-A contemporary world that exists within the confines of ancient history
-The delicate stuffed zucchini blossoms at Oliva Nera–absolute heaven on a fork
-Pumping Stations–taking your empty water to your local “P.S.” to fill up with local wines
-Aqua Alta- we never visit Venice in season and have had the luxury of dining in restaurants (wearing our muck boots) sitting in 6” of water
-Proximity to–Alto Adige–another world where Italy and Germany blend flavors
-Seeing my favorite color purple–in everything, on everyone, every shade, everywhere
It was nice to have all of our kitchen staff together in one place at the same time. Chef Sean directed our Annual Kitchen Training on Thursday and we are all very excited for the upcoming year!!!
I can almost taste Venice right now. We are leaving for a long over due trip back to our friends in Venice. Having missed being back for a few years now, we frequently visited there in the off seasons. (March-April or November, which is prime aqua alta season and we live in our Muck-boots!!)
We can’t wait to see our dear friends Isabella and Dino of Osteria Oliva Nera, in the Castello region of Venice. Their food is pure inspiration–the best of flavors coupled with their warm hospitality, is quite addictive and we can’t wait to get our “fix!!”
Check out their website
and eat your heart out!!!
Our ATTC garden is beginning to wake up from winter
We can see lots of Salad Burnet–an old fashioned herb which has beautiful accordion like leaves that unfold and taste like cucumber. Munching on one always makes me think of summer.
Our lovage is also sprouting. Lovage is a bit like celery but is more anise-like in flavor and has a hollow stem–making it ideal for sipping Bloody Marys! It is one of the secret ingredients in our mixed herb pesto and is great in salads. My mouth is watering for summer right now.
We have lots of varieties of Thyme, Sage, Chives and other alliums, and Japanese parsley. Perhaps my favorite unusual herb is angelica. These rich red or deep green stems are topped with big umbrella like ball of “flowers,” and it self seeds easily. It takes about 2-3 years to flower and can grow up to 8 feet tall in some conditions. You’ve probably seen “candied angelica” (as a flavoring and/or dessert with Italian pastries and fruit cake.) Chef Bill is always finding crazy wats to use this striking element.
I was happy to see that our rosemary plant winterized over perfectly and is flowering up a storm in our greenhouse. And, we are crossing our fingers that our Lemon Verbena trees survive their 7th winter. The leaf of this “tender” perennial tree has very high concentration of oil so it is magical when we need to infuse a lemon flavor.
The Japanese Parsley is now at its 3rd year of rejuvenating–in fact, it may be rejuvenating “too much” as it seems to be everywhere.
Now, if someone would promise me that we won’t have any snow in the next few days, I’d be a happy caterer and gardener!!
As off-premises caterers who work in field kitchens ie. tents, landing strips, trucks, garages, closets – hardly ever in a real kitchen, we are always concerned about safe food practices. The state of CT requires there be at least one “Serve Safe Certified” staff person at each event and ATTC policy is that in addition to chefs, all managers, must have a full understanding of this information and become certified as well. So instead of Sunday being the proverbial “day of rest” we came to class!
Our own Rachael LaPort, a certified instructor held our own (private) “Serve Save” Certification class for 25 members of our team. She was great making it relevant to catering. Tho I have taken lots of these courses before, I always learn something new. Being a nurse, I thought I was interested in bacteria but Rachael takes it a step further and managed to energize everyone in cockroaches (NOT in North Stonington!) as well as Listeria, Giardiasis, Anisakiasis and the knowing the sweet taste of the bacteria when milk goes sour – she gets into it!!!
A few of the key points we covered: Changing food gloves after each task; the importance of establishing REAL hand washing stations in cooktents; utilizing “time/temp” principals (very important as we transport raw food items from our cookery to the venue for on site cooking); the importance of avoiding cross contamination – and tons more!
I guess my point in telling you all this is that at ATTC take we take our responsibility of preparing and serving food quite seriously. Staff training is a priority with us and over the next few months we will be conducting our “refresher” courses in various subjects for seasoned staff as well as our intensive program for new team members.
Along with you, we all enjoy a great party – but always know your “gut” is our priority!!!
Who doesn’t love office supplies? Our A Thyme to Cook office definitely does. Just the thought of opening a 4 door/2 drawer cabinet, a closet or our own desk drawers looking for just the note pad, sticky note, pen, pencil, eraser, stapler, tape, staple remover, white out, calculator, highlighter, sharpie, push pin, ruler, and of course our all time favorite… the paper clip. The paper clip is a love hate relationship here in our office. How many of us had a document slide ever so quietly under a paper clip and become attached to a file or proposal it doesn’t any right being involved in? So, last week Linda had a meeting with her good friend and financial advisor and they got on the subject of this very thing. Alex banished paper clips from his office and Linda loved the idea so much she said never is a paper clip to be used again! So the binder clip is now the #1 most used office product at A Thyme to Cook – well besides the bottomless 75 count bottle of Advil…