Above: Parties are all the more festive with professional flare. Photo: Tangerine Food Co.
BY STEVE DINNEN
How does this sound for dinner: grilled fresh vegetables, steak and seafood all served on a block of pink Himalayan salt, finished off with a salted caramel apple.
Cyd Koehn will be happy to prepare such a meal — if you hire her and Cyd’s Catering to handle your next dinner party.
Holiday parties are right around the corner. With all the entertaining that comes with the season, you can choose top-notch catering firms such as Cyd’s, or the Cherry Madore/Susan Madorsky team at Tangerine, to focus on food while you tend to setting the theme and venue for your party of four or 44 (or 444, if you’re into really big shows).
Some of these caterers — Cyd’s, for instance, or Taste! to Go — are stand-alone operators. Others are linked to restaurants or grocers, such as Tangerine, which handles food at the Des Moines Art Center and Mainframe Studios; Trellis Cafe, which serves meals at the Des Moines Botanical Center, among others; and Gateway, which is part of Gateway Market.
These people, who also include Catering DSM, are seasoned pros capable of delivering haute cuisine on time, on budget.
“We were cooks first. Everyone here knows how to cook,” Madorsky says.
Caterers sit down with a personal or corporate host and discuss the venue, the budget, number of guests, type of affair and season for the event. Then they dial in any special focus they might have in mind.
At Tangerine, for instance — especially with corporate clients who are entertaining out-of-state visitors — Madorsky says, “we like to feature what’s unique about Iowa. This is a big ag state,” and Tangerine has contacts with farmers who can supply it with local seasonal fruits and vegetables.
Cyd Koehn says her specialty is globally inspired small plates that she likes to serve from food stations that are scattered throughout a venue. She enjoys giving people a surprise in finding new food in new rooms.
“I find that people like to serve themselves and they don’t like to be trapped at a table all night,” she says. Or they could be swimming.
“I am able to cater anywhere. That’s my job … with or without a kitchen, … from the middle of a cornfield to a dock at Saylorville for a pontoon boat party.”
The time to call for a caterer is as soon as the idea for a party springs into your mind. As Madore and Madorsky correctly note, there are only 52 Saturday nights a year. “We have events booked into 2021,” they say.
Advance booking is especially important when an event requires music, flowers, decorations, liquor (Tangerine has a liquor license, as do some but not all other caterers). There are people and firms in the city who can handle all of this — it just requires coordination. Maybe even an event planner.
One last thing to consider: These people all clean up after themselves.