This week’s Vendor Feature #throwback revisits celebrated Maine caterers, Kitchen Chicks Catering. This Kennebunkport-based vendor has been their own delicious touch to New England weddings for years. We sat down with owner, Peggy Liversidge, to learn more about how these busy ladies keep business booming–
L&L: Tell us a little about you, your background and the history of Kitchen Chicks Catering.
In 2001, I had just started my catering company by taking over a job from a local caterer who couldn’t do an event. Minutes into this new career, a friend noticed that I needed a name for the company. The guests at this very first event would be high-end, and I needed to be able to market to them. I said, “I don’t know, right now, I’m just a chick in the Kitchen.” My friend took that idea and came back with business cards. So, we’re called Kitchen Chicks Catering.
L&L: Describe the range of services that you offer. What is the bulk of your work?
We gear towards all aspects of events: social, corporate and of course, weddings. Weddings, rehearsal dinners and “life events” (anniversaries, birthday parties) certainly are the lifeline of our business, but we do our share of both large and small corporate catering as well as a significant amount of social events at private clubs, such as the Kennebunk River Club, Arundel Yacht Club and Webhannet Golf Club.
L&L: Is there any particular type of food that you are known for?
Crab Cakes! Both at our store- Cape Porpoise Kitchen- and for catering. We make more Mini Maine Crab Cakes each year than any other hors d’oeuvre we offer. The recipe originated from a family friend and we have perfected it! People rave about our crab cakes. We are also pretty well known for our grazing station or “apple table.” This is offered mostly at cocktail hour for big gala events or weddings. The concept is something we took away from our annual trip to the Catersource Conference in Las Vegas and we have continuously improved on the overall design and can custom design table décor, both under the glass and with the food to clients taste (although the apples are still the most popular!). Our clients enjoy that there is “something for everyone” on these stations as well as presenting it artfully and thoughtfully, as opposed to just having cheese on a tray. For entrée choices, our filet of beef tenderloin with any number of sauces seems to top the list and we continually get rave reviews on our lobsters.
L&L: How far in advance do couples typically book you for their wedding day?
We are generally getting calls 9 months to a year in advance, but there are always a few last minute calls! This year alone we have turned events around in 1 – 2 months time. In 2009, we got a call from a couple who got engaged and wanted to be married in six weeks. They came in from New York for a tasting as soon as we told them we were available and we put together an extremely high-end event for them at a private club in Kennebunkport in just a few weeks.
L&L: Describe the process of working with Kitchen Chicks.
Once a client contacts us, we set up an appointment, whether it be face to face, at the site of the event or over the phone. For weddings, many of our brides are from out of town, so setting up an appointment to narrow down the selection is key. Once we have a direction to head in with clients, we send them sample menus and begin to get their feedback on menu choices, budget, service style etc., until we get to the point that works for everyone. Tastings are available before a client signs if they would like, but most people have them afterward, to confirm the menu they have selected for the event. I also like to do a site visit a week or two before the event, to make sure everyone has communicated on any last minute changes or plans (you never know what other vendors may have recommended to a bride that has effected the overall schedule). We do most of our meeting, tasting and planning between March and Memorial day, which is a slower time of year for us and it gives us time to work out any additional details with client requests.
L&L: How do most of your clients find you?
Online and word of mouth/recommendations from other vendors in the industry. Relationships with other vendors in our industry such as rental companies, venues, photographers, wedding cakes, music, florists are the most important tool in booking new business. We also advertise in a few magazines, which has led to some significant business.
L&L: What was the most memorable wedding you have worked and why?
Several years ago we were hired for what we refer to as our first “away game.” The client had a home locally and was familiar with our work and our store, and asked us to cater their daughter’s wedding 2 hours away in New London, New Hampshire. We were up for the challenge of preparing and traveling with a large group and food for 200 guests. The wedding took place at the home of the groom’s parents. Everything was going great, flawlessly even, until a storm blew in off of the lake the home sat on. Cocktail hour had begun, and most of the guests had arrived and were enjoying the patio surrounding the home, which was home to two big bars, our apple table and a pasta station. Luckily, the home was large enough to accommodate 200 guests (they had a tent for dinner and dancing, but unfortunately, you can’t put guests under a metal frame tent in a lightening storm). We moved everything inside within ten minutes and escorted guests with umbrellas indoors. The trickiest part was moving the apple table indoors, but somehow, we managed to do this, without breaking it down. The rain caused about an hour delay to moving guests to dinner, but our chef managed to hold dinner at the perfect temperature and the rest of the event went on without missing a beat. The combination of logistics, traveling, and the storm make this certainly one of our most memorable weddings.
L&L: What “must-see” places and eateries do you suggest folks from out of town check out while visiting Maine?
In our immediate area (Kennebunkport), if we have a free Sunday afternoon, it is great to sit on the deck at the Arundel Wharf and have a cocktail (or two). The deck literally sits on the water. Then we head over to Bandaloop or The Ramp for a great bite to eat. We do suggest anyone looking for a great walk and the best of Maine take a walk to the beach via the paths at Laudholm Farm.
L&L: Thank you for giving us an inside peek into Kitchen Chicks. If readers want to get in touch with you to inquire about your availability, what is the best way for them to reach you.
The best way to get in touch with us is by phone or email. General inquiries can go to firstname.lastname@example.org or you can call 207.985.0252. We highly recommend clients check out the slideshow on our website to get an overall idea of our work.