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Savoring The Moment- A Professional Caterer's Insight

With an artful blend of creativity, precision, and a deep appreciation for flavors, today we are discussing the journey that has led Heidi Clark, owner of Spice of Life to become a sought-after connoisseur of tasty dishes, as well as uncover the inspirations, challenges and gain a glimpse how a caterer can provide expert guidance that will allow you and your guests to savor the moment during your wedding meal.

Q: Can you introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your background in catering?

A: Hey there! My name is Heidi Clark from Kitts Hill, Ohio. My catering experience began in college at Carson Newman in Tennessee as the catering and football concessions intern on campus. I went on to teach High School Family & Consumer Sciences and then as an Early Intervention Specialist for birth to 3 with special needs, but quickly discovered my entrepreneurial spirit was bubbling inside. I often volunteered to “cater” parties and celebrations at work. After the birth of my first son in 2003, I decided to be a stay-at-home mommy. When he was a few months old, a good friend asked if I would cater her husband’s 1st Christmas party as a lawyer in Huntington, WV. There were several local professionals and politicians attending that wanted my information to cater their upcoming parties. Word spread quickly but I tried to keep the catering small for a couple of years and stayed home to raise my boys. The business continued to grow bigger and bigger and in 2007 my commercial, licensed kitchen opened in Coal Grove, Ohio. I have only looked forward and grown every year since! My boys, now 18 and 20, along with my husband of 24 years, work alongside me to make Spice of Life Catering a success! In 2011, I added on a bakery/luncheon storefront with a “to-go” only option. It has stayed strong and almost tripled in sales during Covid since it was already set-up as a “to-go” service. The Lord has blessed the businesses way beyond what I ever dreamed of 20 years ago!!!!

Q: How would you describe your menu and meal options?

A: There isn’t an exact category or description my menus fit in. The utmost important criteria is that it tastes good! I never want to give anyone something to eat that I wouldn’t enjoy. I am not a trained chef, but I do try my best to make every single item delicious and enjoyable to all of the crowd. The last thing I want anyone to do is have to pick up salt and pepper shakers. Try it first and let your palate decide! From our homemade egg noodles to my staff’s favorite- prime rib, I am confident in the food I serve!

Q: How do you prepare yourself for a wedding?

A: I definitely shower first- HA!

Anyway, besides that- every wedding is different. Some couples come in knowing exactly what they want and what their budget is. Some have no ideas and have told me to just make up their menu and they’ll trust me (those are my favorite). If they need guidance with choices or staying within a budget- I am happy to help. Not everyone has unlimited funds and I do not treat them any differently. Also, it is so important for them to remember it is THEIR day. There is no way to keep everyone happy at the wedding with the menu they have chosen. Focus on what they want and make it about them!

Q: In challenging situations or environments, how do you ensure you still provide a quality meal?

A: In 20 years I have catered in about every type of scenario: blizzards, flooding, outside venues in excessive heat, no running water, electric goes out, guest count way over the RSVP, the photographer taking over 3 hours during cocktail hour, my “prep” area is literally a closet, COVID shutting down the world then wreaking havoc on our food supplies and many more. My head may spin for a minute but then I focus and conquer. There is always a solution to any obstacle in life. It may not be the ideal circumstances, but we will make the best of it and smile through it!

Q: What advice would you give to a bride looking for a cater?

A: *ALWAYS read reviews. If there are no reviews- there is a reason why! Check on all social media and Google.

*Ask the venue for opinions/recommendations. Is the caterer on time? Are they organized with their process of setting their part, serving and cleaning up? Have they tasted that caterers’ food and have an opinion?

*Meet them in person and try something, at least. If you get red flags- turn around. Honestly, I have turned down a few brides that I just thought I could not meet their expectations. I’ll tell you up front if I can’t do something and try to recommend someone who can.

Q: As a cater what are some of the most important information for a bride to share with you?

A: A bride has so many details to manage with so many vendors- I try to make mine the easiest for her. Besides the contract and down payment to hold the date, I really do not need any other information until the week before the wedding. A brief timeline, the menu, headcount with final payment is really all I need then. Many times, we exchange the information via text if she prefers. Obviously, if there are serious food allergies or other reasons to avoid certain foods those always need addressed!

We appreciate Heidi's time in providing us her insight and if you are looking for a caterer for your wedding (or next event) give her a shout:

Spice of Life Catering and Events 740-442-1674

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