Long before I started my business I knew who Lisa Dupar was. I remember seeing her in all of the local magazines and admiring everything she did. Although I had never met her in person, I knew that she was the best and that her company stood for excellence. She built her business on a foundation of exquisite food and exceptional service. When I started my company, I hoped to be known for the same attributes.
The first time I met Lisa, and introduced myself to her, I figured she would have no idea who I was. Before I could finish saying my name and telling her our company name, she lit up and gave me a hug while she told me she had hoped to meet someday. I was blown away that she even knew who I was. I left our conversation that day feeling special, and like our company mattered.
That day I realized one of the many reasons Lisa is so successful. She makes you feel important, whether she is creating a refined menu for your elegant wedding, serving you fried chicken at her restaurant or just meeting you for the first time. She mixes amazing cuisine with the warmth of her Southern hospitality. Despite her many successes and the many awards she has won naming her the best caterer in Seattle, there is nothing pretentious about her and she is completely humble. It’s been more than 10 years from the time I first learned about Lisa, and her company is still the one that I want to model ours after, hoping to be known for the same distinctive qualities.
It was such an honor to collaborate with Lisa and her amazing team to design the annual open house that they host for their colleagues and clients. We worked together to create a French market inspired event using touches of black and white stripes, table coverings made from European linen and a truck full of lush flowers. We sketched and lettered menus on chalkboards to give an authentic Parisian feel, turned wine barrels into tables and even set up a flower stand to send each guest home with a bouquet of tulips.
My only regret from the evening? Not tasting everything on the menu. From the cider and cheese bar and the cronuts on the croissant bar to the small bites passed around and all of the creamy confections on the dessert buffet (and let’s not foget about that tasty cocktail I started drinking like water) …. everything was created to perfection and served with that that good ol’ Southern hospitality that defines the Lisa Dupar Catering Company.
Thanks Lisa and team for the opportunity to collaborate with you on this event. Can’t wait to start dreaming up something even better for next year.
Photos: Matthew Land Photography
Stationery: Spruce Stationery and Design
And Seriously… if any of you readers live in the Seattle area, head over to Redmond to Lisa’s restaurant, Pomegranate Bistro and treat yourself to some really good food. I’d suggest picking up a copy of her cookbook as well.
New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day are two holidays that can easily turn into big letdowns. Both holidays often lead to disappointment when hopes are unfulfilled with unmet expectations. Jamie and I have decided that these holidays (and every day for that matter) will be what we decide to make them. So this year we decided to have a Valentine’s pop up flower shop. There is nothing more classic than chocolate and flowers on this holiday, so we joined forces with Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cakery, and set out to make the day special for whoever would stop by.
The thing with having a little pop up shop, is that you don’t really know what to expect, who will come, how many flowers to purchase. It is so different from wedding planning and design where everything is perfectly calculated and scheduled down to the minute. I pre-ordered a large amount of flowers, but the week of the event I panicked that I hadn’t ordered enough. So every morning at 5:00 I went to the flower market and purchased more garden roses, poppies, anemones, blackberries and other textures to make the bouquets unique.
By the end of the week I wasn’t worried about having enough product… my thoughts shifted to “what if nobody comes!?” Looking back, I had nothing to worry about. Our day was filled with a constant line of people that came to celebrate the holiday and get flowers for either their loved ones or themselves. We completely sold out by the end of the evening.
One of my favorite parts throughout the day was just connecting with people. It was encouraging to see guys wanting to pick out something perfect for their girlfriend or wife. It was amazing to meet people who loyally follow us on Instagram. We had the opportunity to reconnect with past clients who stopped by to say hi and show their support. Several kids brought us Valentine’s Day cards that they had specially made just for us. Even my own brother who I haven’t seen in several years surprised me and made the trip up to Seattle with his family. And… our little nephew, Jackson, came by and attempted to steal my Valentine away from me and win Jamie’s heart with some candy and a kiss. I didn’t have a chance once he showed up… no one can compete with how cute that little guy is.
As I stood on the sidewalk making bouquets I had the opportunity to talk with the different people that had stopped by. I realized halfway through the day that every bouquet represented a story. Some bouquets represented stories of love, and the flowers were going to be a component of a romantic evening. Some bouquets represented stories of courage, and people were getting flowers to take to loved ones fighting cancer or other illnesses. Some bouquets represented joy, and people wanted flower just to brighten someone’s day. Other bouquets represented stories of loneliness, and people shared with me that they didn’t have anyone to bring them flowers and so they were buying a bouquet for themselves.
It was a beautiful day filled with a lot of laughter. I can’t think of a better way to spend the holiday than working together with the one I love, creating something beautiful, serving people and spreading love throughout our community. We might have felt like kids playing store… but it really was our favorite Valentine’s Day we have ever had.
And a huge thanks to Katie Parra and Mitch from Cabfare Productions for spending the day with us and taking these photos and creating this film. We love your work and value our friendship with you both!