We are so excited to introduce you to one of our awesome catering vendors, The Hive Catering Co.! Owners and spouses Ashley and Joe take great pride in their sustainable business. We love their openness and willingness to deliver the best experience possible. Read on to learn more about them and their catering company – we know you’ll love them as much as we do! *Answers provided by Ashley, Account Manager.
Where are you originally from, and how long have you been in Portland?
I was born in Washington state and moved to the Portland area at age two. I graduated from Portland State and have worked in marketing and events since. Joe grew up in rural northern Washington and then spent his young adult years in Chelan, where he was mentored at Campbell’s Resort.
What is your favorite thing about Portland?
We’re lucky to be able to farm in some of the best soils in the world, just outside a major city and still be able to hike in the mountains, play in the desert, or hit the beach within a couple hours.
What is your favorite spot or thing to do in Portland?
The city’s dining scene is awesome. We have two small kids so we don’t get to hit up fine dining establishments too often these days, but even the casual food is so good. And again, nature. The views in the city are gorgeous with the surrounding trees and mountain views. We got engaged at Pittock Mansion overlooking the city.
How long have you been working as a professional wedding caterer?
Joe has been catering weddings and events as a chef for 22 years. I’d been planning corporate events for 10 years when we started The Hive Catering Co.
What led you to this career path?
Joe had been a Chef at Campbell’s Resort for a big part of his career. When we met, I had been dreaming of starting a farm. I lived on a 10-acre property that I was working on improving. My interest was born out of a passion for personal and community health. Once I discovered the magic of growing food and plants, I was hooked.Combine an experienced chef with a wannabe farmer and a farm-to-table catering company is born! We’ve encouraged each other to grow in our vocations.
How would you describe the importance of your role & why do you feel a couple should hire a professional caterer for their wedding day?
Our role goes beyond providing a meal to eat. We work very hard to provide exceptional service before, during, and after events. It’s important that we understand the full scope of needs for every wedding so we can staff our team to provide the service we want to be known for. The couples that we serve have decided that the food they share on their wedding day is important to them. Food has a long history of social origin. As Maya Angelou puts it, “Sharing food is a form of expression.” Our couples design their menus around their personal beliefs about food quality and sustainability, and personal reasons like heritage and sentiment for people and places they love. We create these inspired dishes with quality ingredients to form a delicious meal to be shared with those they love on one of the most special days of their lives.
What is the best part of your job?
We love being at celebrations with guests enjoying the results of our hard work. The whole mood puts us on air. Our business is young and steadily growing, and each time we book a client or receive happy post-event feedback, it reaffirms our direction.
What do you find most challenging about your specific line of wedding work?
Every event is different. We have to plan carefully yet be flexible to meet the challenges of different venues, schedules that don’t always run on time, and unexpected requests. For these reasons, we work closely with our clients in advance and do site walk-throughs.
Do you work solo or do you have a team?
The company is owned by the two of us, and we have a team that includes a Sous Chef, Event Manager, bartenders, and serving staff.
What do you attribute to your success as a wedding caterer? What do you think makes you stand apart from others in your field?
Our philosophy is what initially draws people, but we get repeat bookings and referrals once clients have a chance to experience our food and service. Joe’s talent and experience as a chef is our cornerstone.
At what point in the wedding planning process should clients hire you?
We’d love to be booked a year prior to every event. This allows us to work with our farms to grow specific items for client menus instead of trying to source them after fields have been planned carefully and planted for specific production. I know other caterers similar to us that also book that far in advance. So, if you want to have your first choice in caterer and food is important to you, I would recommend booking your caterer right after your photographer and venue, at least 9 months in advance of your wedding.
Where do you draw inspiration? Are there any current trends you are excited about?
Here and everywhere! Food has such a rich history and complexity. We love drawing from regional resources. Joe is also inspired by southern and Spanish food. It’s our goal to explore more international cuisine to introduce new concepts to our Northwest style of cooking.Major themes in food trends continue to be sustainability for community and environmental health. We also love serving family style, which has become more popular, because it better accomplishes the point of breaking bread with one another.
What is your best advice for wedding clients?
Weddings are expensive, and food makes up one of the larger budget items. If your budget is limited, consider keeping things simple and focus on 2-3 aspects of your wedding that are the most important to you and go with quality over quantity.
What other local wedding professionals are currently inspiring you?
Just to name a few – White Pepper, Lux Sucre, Savour and Graze, Rebecca Rizzo Photographics, Peachy Keen Coordination, CK Event Design, Bramble Floral, For the Love of Floral.
All images used in this post by Rebecca Rizzo Photographics.
This Vendor Shout-Out was curated by Dana Barbar, The Art of Weddings, Portland Content Manager.