Palm Springs is known as a signature destination for parties and events. Seemingly endless sunny days, palm trees, mountains and the majestic desert landscape are a magnificent, natural backdrop to set the stage for your soiree.
Whether you are planning a wedding, a birthday party, cocktail party or corporate event, here are some of the experts who make it their business to cater to your every need.
VIDEO: Scott Robertson, owner of New Leaf Catering, divulges his “Tip 5 Tips” for throwing a great party.
New Leaf Catering has been operating under the helm of Scott Robertson for 14 years. Born and raised in Palm Springs, he worked his way up the ranks in the food and hospitality field in local hotels, country clubs and hospitals. He explains that he “got to a point where he wanted to find his next direction.”
He literally turned over a new leaf by opening his own catering business. He has kept his card full by learning the Coachella Valley's business cycle.
Photo courtesy of palm springs life archives
Chef Scott Roberston coordinates plating with Celebrity Chef Brooke Williamson during the 2015 James Beard Luncheon at Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival.
Winter months tend toward private dinners and parties for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. Late winter into early spring bring private and corporate work surrounding Coachella and StageCoach Music Festivals and the BNP Paribas Tennis Tournament. Spring and summer are “wedding season” and things settle down for the heat of the summer, with more private home parties and pool parties.
Notable events include having catered the James Beard Luncheon at the Palm Desert Food & Wine Festival for the past five years, as well as providing food for the workers and stage crews at Coachella and StageCoach music festivals.
New Leaf Catering, 69032 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Cathedral City, 760-770-3636, www.newleaf-catering.com
Photo courtesy of New Leaf Catering
When wedding season hits in Greater Palm Springs, New Leaf delivers their signature style for the special day.
Dash and a Handful Event Design and Artisan Catering, run by Chad Gardner, is a relatively new force that has burst onto the Palm Springs catering scene.
Chef Chad opted to delve into the food and catering business later in life, entering a local culinary program when he was 40 years old. In 2011, he began catering while still taking courses in the culinary program and opened his own studio in the summer of 2013.
Photo Courtesy Dash and a Handful/Brighthaus Marketing
Chef Chad Gardner handles the behind-the-scene details to ensure a “Dashing” display.
Soon after opening, he “realized event coordination was his forte as well.” Gardner considers himself to be among the “new generation of event vendors” in Palm Springs, offering farm-to-table, artisan menus and full event production and coordination services including photography, video, venue procurement and entertainment.
photo courtesy of Dash and a Handful Event Design and Artisan Catering
A tasty appetizer as part of the full-service provided by Dash and a Handful Event Design and Artisan Catering.
Weddings comprise the “bulk of his business” and typically range in size from intimate, 40-person gatherings staged at private estates to larger events ranging up to 150 people.
Dash and a Handful Event Design and Artisan Catering, 2100 N. Palm Canyon Drive, #104, Palm Springs, 760-883-5333; www.dashhandful.com
Photo courtesy The Butler Did It Catering
The Butler Did It Catering sets up custom catering stations to offer party guests a personal touch.
The Butler Did It Catering, owned by Bryan Tuggle, may be the longest-operating catering business in Palm Springs.
Established in 1981, The Butler Did It clientele is split evenly between individual/private events and corporate clients. Tuggle has seen the needs of clients shift as economic conditions have cycled over the years. He explains that clients have shifted toward wanting, “real nouveaux, chic, state-of the art descriptions for menus and craft cocktails.”
Photo courtesy The Butler Did It Catering
A dramatic poolside setting is the sage for a fantastic event by A Butler Did It Catering.
They place a bigger emphasis on “all-natural, no-GMO, organic ingredients and accommodating people with dietary restrictions.”
He also caters more weddings than ever before and has seen a trend towards a more custom experience and “family-style” service. One of his more interesting recent events was a corporate function for 300 people at the Palm Springs Air Museum.
Serving stations were set-up to include; craft cocktails, quesadillas grilled to-order, a variety of “salad shooters,” chili with toppings, mac-n-cheese, twelve types of mini-cupcakes, and a fondue station.
A Butler Did It Catering, 255 El Cielo Road, Suite 140-616, Palm Springs, 760-325-2100, www.thebutlerdiditpalmsprings.com
Photo courtesy Carousel Catering
Special events receive full production attention from Carousel Catering.
Carousel Catering has established a reputation for full-production, large-scale, event catering, with a national reach for corporate clients. Owner David Erickson has been in business for 40 years, making his start cooking chili as a bartender. He moved the business from Los Angeles to Palm Springs 20 years ago, after regular travel to cater parties for clients with weekend or second homes in the desert.
Carousel Catering specializes in weddings and corporate events, and a notable job was working to provide a month-long full-meal service to a corporate sponsor of the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics.
“We worked 18 hours a day for a month with a staff of 30 people,” Erickson recalls.
Average events range from 100 to 1,500 guests. When asked about trends he has witnessed over the past 40 years, he notes that “one of the major things is dietary concerns.”
Menus have become more centered on gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, and fish and chicken have replaced beef as favored ingredients.
Carousel Catering, 1253 N. Valdivia Way, Suite G, Palm Springs, 760-322-6441, www.carouselcateringinc.com
Lori Cohen-Sanford is a private/personal chef, cooking class instructor and owner of Nourishfoods Organic Meal Services — www.nourishfoods.biz. Tastes Around Town will appear weekly. Follow her on Twitter @nourishfoodsps.