Interview with Member Tammy Laroche
What is it like to be a professional caterer? We spoke with member Tammy Laroche about her catering business, Parkway Banquet Hall, in Peterborough, Ontario, to find out.
How did you get into the catering business? Was it your love for cooking?
I have been cooking since I was about 5 years old. That is when I baked my first cake. I remember my mom setting me up at my little wooden table with the mixer and letting me go. She told me what ingredients to put in and I did the rest. When I served that cake to my grandfather, he could not believe that I made it. He went on and on about how light a fluffy it was and how tasty it was. I think that was when I was hooked.
I was cooking full meals by the time I was 9 years old and still loved getting compliments on my cooking. My first real job was in a pizza sub shop in North Bay Ontario making subs and pizzas when I was 15. A good chunk of my family are also foodies! WE have red seal chefs, cooks, caterers, bakers, personal chefs and restaurateurs. Food has always been big in my family.
Every job I have had since then was food oriented. I loved being a server, a bartender and a cook. I was hired by my landlord about 12 or 13 years ago as a banquet server. When he sold the business, I went with it. The new employer had me supervising staff and eventually managing and planning events. I was planning everything from small meetings to weddings of up to 400 guests.
What is special about your venue?
We are the only venue in the area that has everything in one spot. We plan, decorate and cater. This is very important to many of our customers since everyone is so busy these days. It is also helpful to customers that are not in the area. They love the fact that we do everything here. Our motto is, "You supply the guests, we'll look after the rest!"
Do you serve any dishes using cream cheese at your venue that you'd like to share with the community?
Of course! I use Philadelphia cream cheese in many of my dishes. My absolute favourite on is Herb and Garlic. I use it in mashed potatoes, my Bacon Sesame Cheese Log, my mushroom tarts and in my cheese fondue fountain. I also use the regular cream cheese for my smoked salmon and cream cheese potato skins and obviously for my cheesecakes and cream cheese icing.