TORONTO, Dec. 3 /CNW/ - Not many entrepreneurs can claim to have run a successful catering business for more than two decades but Peter Carruthers is among the few. It was the Autumn of 1986 when Presidential Gourmet got its official start and among the ups and downs that any business endures, Peter has managed to keep the company going and established a solid reputation in the meantime.
And to this stew, Carruthers decided to add some spice. Long-time veteran of the event planning scene in Toronto, Rick Rowe started talking to Carruthers about a year ago — the possibility of partnering soon came up. "The catering scene in Toronto has, to some extent, grown stagnant," said Rowe, Partner, Presidential Gourmet. "A number of the successful catering and event planning companies in the city have become content to rest on their laurels. It's the 'don't fix it if it ain't broke' philosophy, which is all well and good but Peter and I are interested in doing things in a different way; we want to keep things fresh for our clients."
That's exactly what happened for the Partners with one of their first co-owned events out of the gate. The company was charged with the weighty task of catering the Food Network 10th Anniversary party for 400 VIPs… in which they were tasked with recreating recipes from Food Network chefs under very tight timelines, largely from a field kitchen.
"It was a great challenge for us and we were pleased to be asked," said Rowe. "We are supremely confident of the team we have, which made the pressure much more bearable for this event. Each of the people involved in food preparation with us have years of experience with some of the top Toronto kitchens. Our Executive Chef Ben Lewis is an alumnus of the Stratford Chefs School. The accolades go on and on."
An essential piece of the new partnership revolved around re-inventing the Presidential Gourmet brand and what it represents. This is clear in the new vision as presented in the materials and on the website. Beautiful images of food are presented alongside fun pictures of both of the principals and their executive chef.
"It was important for us that the new look and feel of the company be reflective of our personalities," said Carruthers, Partner, Presidential Gourmet. "We are serious about our business and about what we create for our clients. That said, we like to have fun and creativity is key to our success. Style and substance work hand in hand and we wanted our new look to reflect these complimentary elements."
The rejuvenation of the brand was driven by SPOKE, a young creative ad agency. The Partners understood that the brand had equity and a pre-existing reputation that was built on the back of many successful events but that needed refreshing. It also needed to reflect the dynamic vision of the company under the new partnership.
This vision was laid bare at the official re-launch of PG, which took place at the brand new Evergreen Brickworks space, just one month ago. "The idea was to create an event that people walked into and wanted as their own," said Carruthers. "The space was beautiful, we had cool live drumming overtop of a playlist and well, the food and drink were of course exceptional!"
The guest list for the event was tightly controlled, as both owners wanted to present themselves first to family, friends and long-term clients. "It was our coming out party, so to speak," said Rowe, "and we really wanted to pay tribute to the people who supported us along the way." It didn't hurt that guests got to nibble on duck confit and other scrumptious goodies while drinking some of the best VQA wine available.
"We are dedicated to continually re-inventing ourselves," said Carruthers. One need only read through the company's Green Manifesto, a first of its kind in the catering business, to understand they are putting money where their mouths are. The team are dedicated to supporting local farmers and buying sustainable products whenever possible. They have gone so far as to set a benchmark that PG menus contain a minimum of 30% local and/or organic produce offered seasonally and sourced from responsible Ontario suppliers.
They are also dedicated to reducing the carbon footprint of events by reducing waste and dealing with that waste responsibly. It is a refreshing outlook that both Partners take seriously. "Quality products, consciously chosen. These are things that make a difference, no matter how small," said Carruthers.
The bar has been raised by this duo and they aren't prepared to settle for second best. "While Peter and I both have years of experience, we also understand that you are only as good as your last event," said Rowe. And with that, Presidential Gourmet looks ready to tackle anything.
About Presidential Gourmet
We are quality, local, sustainable and biodiverse.
Presidential Gourmet is a well-known, highly reputable catering firm established in 1986.
Each member of our team is a knowledge food service professional that brings unparalleled event planning experience to each client engagement. Over 40 of Toronto's finest venues proudly call Presidential Gourmet a preferred vendor for culinary design and catering.
As the hallmark of the global offering, the PG menu is centered around fine preparation, complex flavour profiles and luxurious ingredients. Our menu supports local, sustainable and regional cuisine. Learn more in our Green Manifesto.
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Laurel Keenan, Publicity