We Are Family! Julie Fitzgerald Keeps Us All Together

We think it’s fun to tell people that our General Manager, Julie Fitzgerald, is the scissors and glue of our office.  But really, it’s no joke.  Julie has been with Entertaining Company for 15 years and she makes us the well-oiled machine that we are! So naturally, when we thought about talking family-style for our June blog, Julie was our first stop.

Here’s what she had to say.

Tell us about the dynamics of the Entertaining Company family.  So many members have been with EC for 16+ years. What’s the secret to getting everyone to work so well together?

Every successful family dynamic begins with a matriarch, and for us, that’s Wendy Pashman.  Off-site catering is not easy.  It’s fun, but it’s also full of physical labor and multi-pronged logistics — but Wendy makes us all forget about what’s hard about our job, because her creativity and constant push to try new things and out-do ourselves make every event full of excitement and fun…it’s like a constant big “unveil”.  Of course, if we’re having fun and experiencing a sense of wonder and excitement at an event, then the guests are too.

Have you ever coordinated a family-style wedding dinner?  What was it like?  Should brides consider it?

I love family style weddings and, an emphatic YES!  Brides should absolutely consider family-style. They need to be well coordinated, but at the same time, there is wiggle room in the details. A little controlled chaos actually adds to the effect, instead of coming off as mis-timed or poor planning.

I just oversaw a family-style wedding three weeks ago and it was truly lovely.  As good as the food was, what really struck me was that when the family-style platters begin to appear out of the kitchen, a real ohh and ahh moment fell over the dining room!  Guests’ eyes lit up and It was so much more of a statement than a single-plated dinner would be.  And, don’t forget that family-style fosters interaction at the table. Strangers talk to each other, pass dishes to one another, etc. Family-style dining really makes a party feel like a party!

What are some of your favorite fool-proof tips when hosting a family-style dinner?  

Do not serve soup! No really…do think about how the food will get from the platters to your guest’s plates. Think clean and easy flavors that have a strong “help-yourself” factor.  Of course, the key is, as with everything, lots of organization….but in this case, controlled chaos is ideal.

What restaurants do you enjoy family-style dining at?

Funny, we’re talking about family-style dining and this past Sunday, I just went out to dinner to Lincoln Square’s GATHER with my three daughters and my Entertaining Company family…Wendy Pashman, her husband Michael, and Chef Shawn. They do a lovely Sunday Supper every week and It was so delicious!