You mentioned that you are at your clients “beck and call.” Can you explain what that means?
My signature “It’s All in the Details” truly defines the attention I give to each event I execute.
It’s a wide range of services that I’m able to provide that sets us apart from other caterers. Food may be the foundation of the event but you have to take that stepping stone & build around it. I design tablescapes to match a company’s logo or the theme of a wedding. I can design & print custom menus on any surface imaginable (linen napkins, pillows, bread bags…) Need recommendations for Flowers? Bands? Tents? Marble Portable Bathrooms with a Chandelier? BBQ Guys? Girls who hang from hoops in the ceiling and serve champagne with their toes? I have sourced it all from Models on huge inflatable geese to Palm Trees for a party in New Jersey. Yup, Palm Trees. Every client has my cell phone number as they should… my world is not 9-5. If you need me, I’m there for you. House Calls… absolutely! What better way to get a feel for the flow of an event than to be walking thru the event space itself and listening to the client discuss their vision. Besides an hour on Sunday when we go to church… I’m there for you. I want you to be at ease knowing that if you need me, if you’re panicking, if 20 extra people decided to show up a day before your event… I got you. We’ll handle it. Relax.
You used the word “passion” when talking about serving your clients. Can you explain where that passion comes from?
Service. It’s a word I use a million times a day… The foundation of my family always seems to revolve around that magic word. My father was in the military and served his country with a passion as a Navy Seal. He taught me that being “of service” was the core of what made America so great. He was the first in his family from Puerto Rico to come to America. His passion serving his country was contagious & although I didn’t join the military I knew from a very young age that I was somehow going to dedicate my career to being “of service”. I wanted him to be proud of me. I try to explain to people how personal food is to my clients, how important trust is to my clients. I serve people with severe allergies, if I didn’t take that seriously then someone could really be harmed. If you’re a Vegan you have to trust that the caterer you selected will respect your dietary lifestyle and honor it by sanitizing the kitchen properly before their food is prepared, using fryers that are marked “Vegan Only” so their food is not being cross contaminated. I want my food to be thoughtfully sourced… we’re in the Garden State and there are so many great farms to support here. To me, food is art & it should be visually bright, bold, vibrant… lots of depth & height… we eat with our eyes first so it’s important to achieve that wow factor.
What goes into “thoughtfully” selecting the food that you cook with?
I got to tour Zone 7 in Ringoes and met the lovely staff there. They are sourcing so many amazing products from NJ and I want to share that with our community! We donated a fabulous tasting party to support Grow It Green and their farm to table initiatives in the community. I have worked with the NJ Wine Growers Association for a lovely Vineyard to Glass event that was a sell-out success in addition to a phenomenal event I called “On the Rocks & Rolled” that featured Bourbon from local distilleries sharing not only their great products but their unique stories. I really have a vision of a “Meet Your Local Farmer” series where once a month we invite the Farm to Monterey to share hyper locally sourced, organic produce with our community. Sign up to tour the farm, support their CSA if they offer it and pick up a Market Box of literally fresh picked produce. Maybe I’ll have time for that in August when the catering season slows down a bit….
You said you (Monterey Fine Foods) are producing healthy, elevated food and a farm-to-table way of life. Can you provide examples of the kinds of foods you offer or plan to offer?
We debuted our Vegan Charcuterie Boards on the first day of spring. I built a custom 7ft Charcuterie Board out of a piece of Cherry Wood I sawed & sanded myself. It’s been a big hit because there’s not much being offered for Vegans in the general area… it’s not just a plate of Grilled Vegetables…. It’s Cauliflower Steak, Vegan B.L.T’s made with our Portobello “Bacon”, Pulled BBQ Jackfruit sandwiches, Fresh made Vegan Soups, Buffalo Cauliflower Wraps with a dill sauce… Our Grilled Cauliflower Pita is so popular at events I’ve had clients order it in bulk! We all like to indulge in food but that doesn’t mean you have to feel overstuffed and sick after a meal. There is true untapped power in a good meal… it’s like a video game where you can just feel your power level going up after a nutritious lunch. We are always going a million miles a minute and what we eat can power us thru even the longest Monday…
Is there something about the way you construct a sandwich that is extraordinary?
A sandwich is a blank canvas… there is an unlimited potential to how amazing you can take that concept and build on it. I love it in its simplistic nature & also how elegant & elevated with the right ingredients it has potential to be.
New owners, Steve and Sandy Roth, are very interested in meeting the needs of their customers and embracing the current food trends such as plant-based, vegetarian, vegan, GF and so on. This seemed like a passion of yours. Is it and why? What plans do you (they) have to offer a more flexible variety of dishes to satisfy the discerning consumer?
We are a scratch kitchen. Chef Doug and I are very passionate about food… I tackled a whole 50lb Jackfruit on my own to make BBQ Pulled Jackfruit sandwiches…. No easy task! We can accommodate all allergies, dietary & lifestyle food choices. Many of my clients are GF & I take great strides to provide fulfilling menus for them by using unique ingredients.
Please tell us what kinds of services you offer and what our readers can expect when they hire you and Monterey Fine Foods to cater their next important event.
Full Off-Premise Catering 365 days a year.
When did you take on the position of Director of Catering for Monterey Fine Foods? Can you briefly explain how your prior experience in the food business and catering, in particular, has prepared you for your new position?
My journey with Monterey began the last week of February. I have worked in hospitality my entire life, from 6-yr old refilling water glasses in my parents restaurant on the Chesapeake Bay all the way to serving 30,000+ guests at Blairsden… everything I do revolves around service. It is my passion and clients’ events matter just as much to me as to them.
“It’s All in
An interview with Linda Galdieri, Director of Catering for Monterey Fine Foods in Bernardsville, NJ