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The Craft(s)

November 9, 2021

The Joy of Hospitality

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Let’s be honest, this pandemic almost kicked our butts. Like a lot of businesses, when the economy stagnated we faced an existential crisis. As catering slowed to a crawl and we were forced to do a lot of soul searching, we were reminded of why we do what we do at Culinary Crafts. For us, catering isn’t just a business. It's about sharing the joy of hospitality.

When we were kids, every Halloween our mother used to hand out king size candy bars at our door. (This was back when no one gave kids that much chocolate—for heaven’s sake, are you trying to make them sick?) But it wasn’t the size of the servings that was remarkable, it was the presentation. She would fan them out in a beautiful display on a silver serving tray, and then she’d lean down and present the tray to each little witch or toilet paper mummy as if she were serving royalty. The happiness in her smile made every kid feel like the display had been made especially for them. Heck, she made them feel like the whole holiday was for them!

That’s what real hospitality feels like. And you can’t fake it. I mean, sure, anyone can hand out chocolate bars and smile. But when bringing enjoyment to other people genuinely makes you happy too, people can tell.

Mary Crafts and CJ at Mary's retirement party, grass, outdoors pink dress, black man, old white woman, birthday party, ranch, utah, catering,

Honestly, that’s why we do what we do. If there is one “secret” that has made Culinary Crafts the Best in State for 20 years, it’s the ethic our parents taught us long ago: Take joy in bringing joy to others. If you were to walk into our facilities today, you’d be greeted with a warm welcome, the smell of something delicious, and (if you came at the right time) an invitation to join us for lunch. Whether you’re an eager bride, one of our vendors, or the FedEx driver dropping off a package, when you’re with us you’re our guest, and there’s nothing that brings us more joy than sitting down to share a good conversation, great food, and a memorable moment with our guests.

Ryan Crafts at dinner party sharing the joy of hospitality at Kimball Terrace in Park City Utah

Of course, there is no formula for how to bring people the joy of hospitality. The way to make someone’s special day perfect is different for every individual. Part of our job is to get to know a client so well that we can help bring their hopes and visions to life. Whether we’re customizing a 100% vegan menu, welcoming your Greek grandma into our kitchen to show us exactly how to make the rice, or figuring out how to get the whole wedding party to the top of a mountain (we’re not making any of these up), your dreams and wishes matter to us because you matter to us.

We love making great food because we love the people we share it with.

Culinary Crafts caterer shares smile and the joy of hospitality at Utah catered event.

Now that Thanksgiving is coming up, we’re preparing to gather once again to do what we love best, share the joy of food and fellowship with people we love. Ever since we were young, our family has had a tradition of making pies for family and friends on Thanksgiving Day…and when I say that the Crafts make pies, I mean we make pies! Cherry pies. Berry pies. Two kinds of apple pies. Banana cream. Coconut cream. Chocolate cream. Chocolate bourbon pecan. Chiffon pumpkin. Mincemeat (which only Dad will touch). Over a hundred pies each year. We invite anyone on our staff to come help make pies for their families. We invite friends and neighbors. It’s a huge production, and honestly, it’s one of the highlights of my year. We did not know it when we were kids, but all those mornings when our parents got us up at ungodly hours to cut the butter and lard into the dough and pinch the crusts until our fingers ached, they were giving us a valuable gift. They were instilling in us the passion that still gets us out of bed every day.

Culinary Crafts team makes pies for special event

So why do we do what we do? Why go to crazy lengths to get the perfect balance of spices and to find the right food pairings and all the thousand other little details we put into an event? Even if a guest will never know how hard we worked to perfect that recipe they’re tasting or to find the perfect pairings for their meal, even if they have no idea how early in the morning the team was up to make it all happen, we know, and it matters to us that we gave our best.

If you do have a chance to visit our facilities, you’ll probably notice our company Vision written on a big poster: “Sharing the joy of hospitality.” You’ll also notice a lot of decorative pineapples on the tables, in the window sills, everywhere. Why pineapples? Well, the pineapple has come to be a symbol of hospitality. Europeans had never seen one until explorers brought them back from the New World. The problem was, a fresh cut pineapple will only last about a month, and it took longer than that for them to cross the ocean by ship. The first time Columbus tried to bring a load with him back to Spain, only one lone pineapple survived the journey. He presented that single fruit to King Ferdinand, and from then on the pineapple represented opulence and generosity, a rare and precious gift. Europeans sometimes paid thousands in today’s dollars for a single pineapple. For a host to serve pineapple meant that they were giving the finest and best they could give.

pineapple dinner setting Culinary Crafts catering special event symbol of hospitality

That’s what our parents were teaching us all those hours we spent making and serving meals, the joy of giving someone the best you have.

To this day, our dad comes into the kitchen and makes an incredible meal for the whole team almost every day. He doesn’t have to. He isn’t expected to. He isn’t paid for it. He just does it because he can. There, in a nutshell, is the ethic our parents passed to us so many years ago. Treat people with excellence. Give them your best. Use your time, talents, and opportunities not just to make meals but to make memories. Let people feel special by showing them that they are special.

Of all the holidays I’ve spent with my loved ones, of all the Thanksgiving pies and Christmas dinners I’ve consumed, there aren’t many meals that I can remember specifically, but I will always remember the moments and experiences we’ve shared. I think that’s good to keep in mind as we enter another season of feasting and celebration. The food itself is not the goal. Food is a vehicle to experiences, a way to mark occasions and make moments special. We put so much work and care into the meals we prepare because that’s who we are, the givers of good gifts. The presenters of pineapples. It is a rare and precious life to be a part of, even if it involves a lot of early mornings.

June 12, 2017

The Craft(s) Episode 4: SMOKE

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5fcM19edYqI&t=5s Have you checked out our web series The Craft(s)??? If you haven't, you need to. Like, right now. And to help you whet your proverbial whistle, I'm sharing the latest episode, No. 4, all about Smoke. You are going to love it! Happy watching, everyone!   Check out more Salt Lake City, Park City, and Utah County catering at www.culinarycrafts.com!

March 17, 2017

Friday Instagram of the Week!

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Today's Instagram of the Week comes from our very own Mary Crafts-Homer who posted this to announce that the second episode of The Craft(s) debuted this week!  And, I love it because it's all about COMFORT FOOD.  I think it's going to be right up everyone's alley, so check it out!  Here is the direct link so you can watch it right now!  Thanks for the awesome share, Mary!  And, remember, for you chance to be next week's pick, tag us at @culinarycrafts or add the hashtag #culinarycrafts to your post and see who's selected next!  Happy weekend watching, everyone! Check out more Salt Lake City, Park City, and Utah County catering at www.culinarycrafts.com!

February 8, 2017

The Craft(s) Launch Party!

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Today, I have a really special blog that is close to the Culinary Crafts team's hearts - our launch party for the new series, The Craft(s)!  It debuted recently (hopefully, you all saw it!) and, in true Culinary Crafts fashion, we had a FANTASTIC launch party to get y'all excited for this amazing series!  For all of those who couldn't join us, we are sad you couldn't party with us, and for those who were able to join us, thank you and we hope this reminds you of this fun night!  Check it out! CC_LaunchParty Of course, we hosted the event at our downtown venue, The Tasting Room!  Such a perfect fit and we loved the decor!  We decided to go with a modern, industrial feel - and aren't these tables cool?  Love it! CC_LaunchParty2 We decided to create action stations that represented each episode in the series.  For each station, we created a dish as well as a cocktail that perfectly represented the theme and this station "Smoke" was so much fun!  The Smoked Maple Bourbon Sour Cocktail was AMAZING!  The creation of the drink was a pretty awesome show too! CC_LaunchParty3 We got to really pull out the creative guns on this one.  The Smoked Short Rib with a Smoked Demi Glace was put in a smoking chamber to infuse the meat with even more smoky goodness.  After it was properly infused, we placed it atop our Purple Potato Puree to finish the dish!  YUM! CC_LaunchParty4 Next up?  Our "Fire" station!  Of course, we brought some flame to this station!  Our Fireside Signature Cocktail was set aflame and our guests loved it! CC_LaunchParty5 Next we served Flambed Ramen with our Killer Broth with Chef-Torched Beef, Fire Grilled Peppers, and a Sesame Chili Sauce.  Perfect! CC_LaunchParty6 This is our Flaming Pumpkin Meringue Pie - which was SO delicious.  And our "Fashion" station served Housemade Ricotta and Squash Ravioli.  Such a decadently elegant dish! CC_LaunchParty7 Of course, while you are perusing the stations (because there are more to come - you better believe it), we had butler passed hors-d'oeuvres!  These Mini Brie Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Pomegranate Arils and the Crostini with Goat Cheese and Poached Pear Compote were so good! CC_LaunchParty9 Of course, we had to pay our homage to apples!  Utah boasts some of the best local apples ANYWHERE and we try to use them anyway we can!  The "Apple" station included Crispy Pork Belly with Whipped Cider Ricotta and Sous-Vide Cooked Apple Relish PLUS an apple dessert trio!  The Apple Pie on a Stick, Poached Apples with Mascarpone, and Apple Sorbet with a Dried Apple Chip were all divine! CC_LaunchParty10 BUTTER, need I say more?  This station included Butter Poached Scallops with a Brussel Sprout Slaw and Citrus Beurre Blanc as well as a bread station (mmm, carbs) with an assortment of house-made breads and house made compound butters and garnishes.  I'll admit, I tried EVERY SINGLE OPTION.  No regrets. CC_LaunchParty8 Last, but certainly not least, we include a station that gave a nod to one of our signature offerings, our House Made gelato!  The "Gelato" station included an Olive Oil Gelato with Balsamic Poached Pears Garnished with Sea Salt, Red Wine Gelato with Chocolate Shortbread, and Salted Caramel Gelato which we used in either a Porter Float OR a Root Beer Float!  Plus, to balance all of the sweetness this station has to offer, we brought in our Coffee Nerd Coffee Bar with cold brew and french press coffees!  Such a delicious treat and our guests LOVED the interesting flavors! CC_LaunchParty11 We are SO excited for our new series - and if you haven't watched the first episode, we hope you check it out!  (You can see it here.)  We are so thankful to each and every one of you who has helped us get to this AMAZING place in our business!  We are so happy to be able to bring you this new venture and also keep creating new and inventive culinary trends!  Happy viewing, everyone! Check out more Salt Lake City, Park City, and Utah County catering at www.culinarycrafts.com!

20x winner Utah’s Best of State

16x Best of State Caterer

3x Best of the Best / Hospitality

1x Entrepreneur of the Year