Friday, December 19, 2008

CENLA will never be the same again ------------ OM SHALOM meets Southern Hospitality

the door opened into a treasure chest of history and an amazing family homestead 
that has housed 10 generations of americans since the original land grant 
in the mid 1800's.  

Frithland is EVERYTHING northerners like myself imagine 
when dreaming of southern hospitality and antique furnishings.   
And those who have been to chez Teiger know of our family's 
love of antique furniture, collectible glassware 
and international antique china.  
This historic home (not usually open to the public)
 is a collectors wet dream!

Dateline: Bunkie CENLA (Central Louisiana)
Event: Rotary Club of Bunkie Annual Christmas Banquet and Citzens of the Year Awards
Venue: Frithland Plantation,
Date: Thursday December 18, 2008

If you were privileged enough to be invited to the Rotary Club of Bunkie’s 
Christmas and Citizen of the Year Awards Event, this past Thursday a
nd had previously attended this annual event held at Frithland Plantation, 
Central Louisiana you would not have been surprised to find yourself 
in the elegant setting that the Frithland Plantation’s main house is. 

But what would have knocked your socks off is the abundant, 
delicious Louisiana food and elegant presentation offered up by 
Cenla’s newest caterer Best Catered Events  right on Highway One in Marksville, La

Rick and Dianne Evans, who the owners, are new to the area, 
but certainly NOT new to catering.   They have over 18 years of 
catering experience (almost 40 combined years) and boy did 
their sumptuous spread and over the top holiday décor 
delight Bunkie’s Elite Thursday night. 

As if this was not enough, as an extra added touch, 
Best Catering collaborated with guest chef Andrew Alexander-Crossan 
and event designer Lisa Teiger of CuisinEtc Catering and Special Events 
out of New York City.   Another Dynamic Duo with over 25 years of 
catering experience from coast to coast and around the globe,  
coming to you from New York City, but always going beyond!

Cenla may not know what has hit them, 
but Dianne and Rick who opened their doors in Marksville 
just last month in November with a state of the art mobile kitchen,  
ready to cater any event from restoration catering 
to your daughters wedding, have gone from zero to sixty
 in just a few short months. 

After selling their catering facility 
and relocating from Baton Rouge 
this energetic can do couple have taken the area 
by a storm booking party after party 
for the 2008 holiday season and 
weddings and corporate events well 
into August and December of 2009. 

Rick and Dianne are peoples people 
-comfortable in any setting from the bayou to the boardroom!

Thursday nights team,
Chef Andrew Alexander- Crossan, 
Waitress Sara Richardson, 
Best Catered Events Owners Dianne & Rick Evans

Lisa Teiger, Event Designer (see below) was busy taking pictures!

Catering Collaborators 
Lisa Teiger, cuisinEtc catering and decor NYC and  beyond....
with Dianne Evans, Best Catered Events, CENLA, Marksville, Louisiana

One taste of Dianne’s made from scratch Louisiana cooking 
pared with cutting edge presentations 
such as triple chocolate threat brownie squares 
served skewered with mini forks 
has folks from across CENLA stopping by the Best Catering Kitchens 
on Highway One in Marksville 
to order pick ups, takeouts and full service events. 

Having booked over 100 events for this month, 
Dianne rarely turns anyone away, offering them 
a taste of her warm southern hospitality, no matter the size of the order. 

The only exception being Christmas eve which Dianne 
says is reserved for their daughters, son in laws and grandbabies.
 “after all these years of working ourselves to the bone in 
Baton Rouge we promised each other that this year 
we would enjoy Christmas and by darn, we are working hard here too 
but what a pleasure the local people have been to deal with”

Dianne, who is an active member of several national catering 
organizations (which is how the collaboration with CuisinEtc came about)
and who is constantly attending and upgrading her skills via educational 
seminars with top chefs around the country can cook them all 
under the table with her sunny smile and her incredible work ethic. 

Chef Andrew Alexander-Crossan, visiting NYC guest chef 
commented that Dianne Evans is one of the few that has the stamina
 he is known for to run multiple events, cook, prep, manage 
and do it all with a smile!!!

That takes a special kind of chef with an absolute love of food and people! 
Chef Dianne and Chef Andrew between them have slept
 a TOTAL of perhaps 10 hours in the past week 
prepping and serving food for the citizens of Cenla’s holiday celebrations!

The menu for the Rotary Club of Bunkies  Citizen of the Year Event 
included several passed hors d’oeuvres including 
Crawfish Filo Tartlets 
Dates Stuffed with Cream Cheese Wrapped in Bacon, 
and Pinwheels of Asparagus and Ham with Buttermilk Ranch Cheese Pate

crawfish filo cups

The buffet fork friendly supper served on real china and flatware 
was highlighted with Rick Evan’s hand rubbed, 4 day cured 
& low n slow smoked brisket and pork tenderloins, 
smoked on premise with pecan wood, in their state of the art 
Southern Pride Smoker. 

Fork tender and melt in your mouth meats, 
horseradish dressing, honey mustard & mayo 
served with mini baked on premise soft yeast rolls that I just couldn't stop eating 
(carbs be damned this season), 
warm and gooey crabmeat au gratin with fancy european crackers,
Best Caterings signature chicken cordon bleu pasta Alfredo, 
Diannes warm crawfish baguettes, 
old fashioned country devilled eggs with a touch of mustard and cayenne, 
sumptious cut fruit such as juicy watermelon, luciuous pineapple, 
fresh huge driscoll strawberries and bountiful grapes 
with a beautiful cheese display and fancy crackers, 
mini muffalettas on authentic New Orleans Cartozza Bakery Muffaletta Bread! 

Without even knowing we brought several monkeys for part of the display, 
turns out that Bunkie was named after a pet Monkey!

Catering is often serindipitous like that!

mini muffalettas displayed on bird adorned shelves

country devilled eggs

Dianne tweaking the buffet

Did I mention the desserts yet?  

Which were available from the minute folks walked in the door 
and in the tradition of our Indian clients, our southern guests also 
like to nibble on something sweet before they dug into the savory food.  

Dianne's housemade dessert buffet  included traditional southern favorites
 such as homemade Divinities topped with Pecans, which when 
Chef Andrew Alexander-Crossan inquired as to why they are called divinity 
a simultaneous shout out came back from everyone


other goodies we all enjoyed were 

Crème De Pirouline Rolled Wafers with 
Chocolate Hazelnut and Pumpkin Spice, 
Triple Chocolate Threat Brownie Squares 
skewered with mini cocktail forks, 
and old fashioned soda cracker Pecan Praline Candy, 
Holiday Candies, Mudpie Shooters  and more….

All this food highlighted the gracious southern hospitality
 of Hope and Bill
Along with interesting conversation and 
a history lesson of Frithland Plantation and the TEN generations 
that have continuously lived on the property since the original 
land grant in 1839 after the Louisinana purchase.

Bunkies citizens graciously filled me in the history of the area
 from the Jewish families that Jim Levy told me were always well accepted 
and integrated into the community “of lovely people” 
to Miss Mary who grew up in Columbia South America 
 is one of the best home cooks in the Parish 
and in her 70's has started a baking business.  
We are hoping that Miss Mary will find the time after Christmas
 to show us a few of her down home recipes
that we can take back to our clients in NYC 
 It would be such an honor for us!

Way to go Miss Mary, you are my role model and hero - 
Hoping to have your energy and grace when Andrew and I  get to your age!

gorgeous fireplaces and oversized mirrors abound!

beautiful family heirlooms