Info and advice on pulling off simple to supreme soirées.
Longevity is not a word typically used to describe much in the food services industry, and truth be told, Beth Hazley – of Two Chicks and a Pot – never expected to be in it in the first place.
“I started as a network engineer,” she said of her first job out of college.
As her career changed and morphed, she found herself working in that engineering role for a food-services company that had a test kitchen right next to her office. Eventually, she was spending more time in the kitchen than she was behind the screen, and her love for food preparation, cooking and presenting was borne.
Still, she had to earn a living to help support her kids. After a corporate career in marketing that ended at Cisco some two decades later, Hazley finally took the entrepreneurial leap in 2008 and created Two Chicks and a Pot.
The hometown company has been catering celebrations ever since, growing a steady base of corporate and individual clients. From an expansive space on Gus Hipp Blvd., in Rockledge that includes an intake area, tasting room, large kitchen and storage area, Hazley explained that event preparation is key to pulling off the perfect party.
“We have an extensive Q&A session with clients,” she said, “and none of our menus are set. We may repeat a dish, but each menu is unique to each client’s needs, the event and the venue,” she said.
After the Q&A, clients are invited to a sit down tasting, and items are culled or added to the menu to create the ultimate menu for the event.
Hazley helps as many as 150 clients a year, from a simple wedding venue with 100, to large-scale corporate events, food festivals and special events. Things really ramp up between October and April, but Two Chicks and a Pot caters any time of the year.
Her favorite foods to cook are “comfort foods,” such as Mac ‘n Cheese, casseroles and a Rosemary Chicken Bacon dish that she swears guests swoon over.
She does not, however – will not, however – bake anything. “Oh nooo,” she said, “that’s not my specialty and we have so many good ones I would rather refer out to.”
There are a variety of suggested menu options including Small Plates, Seafood, Kid-Friendly, Gluten-Free and Vegan, but really the only limit is the imagination of the planner. (These options have become so popular among clients that Hazley is going to launch a meal-prep service in April, with delivery and pick up options for clients, who will order through an online listing.)
Key to stress-free party planning is research and planning. Hazley encourages party planners to search online to check out party themes, menus, decorating, rentals and flowers because there is so much out there. Ideas can then be creatively adapted or modified to individual preferences, dietary needs, etc.
Of course, costs are dependent on the number attending/amount and types of food/length of event, though Two Chicks and a Pot does include flatware, china, stemware and serving dishes in the event quote, which starts at about $3,000 for a 100 person wedding (not including tax and tip). Bartending service attendants can be added for an additional $200 per event.
For more ideas or information, visit online at www.twochicksandapot.com or call 321-252-5111 to schedule a consultation.
Shawna Lucas (formerly Kelsch) has lived and worked in Brevard county for the past 20 years, serving in a variety of jobs and community service roles. She’s a former food and news reporter for Florida today, and was owner/operator of a marketing company that assisted clients and partners such as the Florida Healthcare Coalition, Blue Cross & Blue Shield Foundation for Florida, The Brevard Health Alliance, and Florida Tech to identify and solve pressing community health issues. She has she has dual bachelors degrees in Journalism and Sociology from the University of Miami, and was an inaugural fellow at the Freedom Forum Diversity Institute at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN.