Category Archives: cooking

cooking life

Tips for Opening Your Own Catering Business

Are you thinking about taking your cooking skills to a new level?  Sunny Gandara of New York’s Fork and Glass shares her top 5 tips for getting started in the catering industry.  Be sure to read the profile post on Sunny too!!!

TIP #1: RESEARCH. This means everything from what permits you need, food safety certificates, and how you want your business to be formed (For instance we are an LLC which protects us as private persons against law suits).

TIP #2: Know your competition and define yourself clearly. Are you a high end caterer or a “budget” food provider? (I would never suggest the latter, by the way…) What foods or events do you specialize in? Find your niche, and be GREAT at that – not mediocre in a million different areas.

TIP #3: Don’t be afraid to outsource – a caterer can’t be everything from a florist to a baker.  You need to know your strengths and let others do what they do best. This also saves you time.

TIP #4: Don’t get into this business if you cherish your weekends and holidays – this is when you’ll be working.

TIP #5: You must love this business in order to excel in it – love food, loving throwing parties, and most of all – be great around people!!  What is going to keep you alive is repeat business, nobody wants to hire someone they are uncomfortable around.

cooking spotlights

Spotlight: Sunny Gandara of NY’s Fork and Glass

I first met Sunny at J Records where we worked together in the International Department.  In fact, she spent nearly a decade in the music industry before realizing it was time to take a chance on her true passion – food.

Sunny is a Norwegian native and came to New York, by way of Rome, Paris, and San Francisco, 14 years ago.  She graduated from the Institute of Culinary Education in 2005 and also holds a diploma from the WSET [Wine & Spirits Education Trust], as well as several certified credentials from the Society of Wine Educators.  She currently has a totally awesome job as a mixologist and lead educator for Heavy Water [an ultra premium vodka brand from Scandinavia].  Sunny met her husband, [then Executive Sous Chef] Mark Gandara, while working the front of the house at the 3-star Scandinavian restaurant, Aquavit, in mid-town Manhattan.  How cute is that?!  Mark is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and has over 10 years experience working in several high profile Manhattan restaurants [such as Union Square Cafe, Alto, and the Russian Tea Room] and with celebrity chefs from across the country.


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cooking creativity

Too Pretty To Eat … Almost

This post is all about food that looks so good you can taste it.  My mouth is watering already.

Have It Sweet Confections is a green business in California, run by a husband [French trained pastry chef] and wife team that donates 15-25% of their monthly profits to Kiva and they buy a tree from Plant a Billion Trees for every $20 spent in their store.  As if these confections themselves were not enough to die for.  Love them!



And one of my favorite sites for beautiful food is TasteSpotting, a “visual potluck” where you can register and submit delicious things like these…

Mango, Red Pepper, & Cilantro Salad

Click on picture for recipemangosalsa

Crunchy Brown Rice Salad w/ Dill

Click on picture for recipebrownricesalad

And don’t miss out on SEASALTWITHFOOD, one of my favorite foodie blogs.  The photos are beautiful and the recipes are a collection of tastes from all over the world.  YUM.

Popcorn Shrimps

Click on picture for recipepopcornshrimp

Pasta Salad with Roasted Tomatoes

Click on picture for recipe



It’s Wednesday and “I’m Hungry”

I love cooking, but I’m not very good at sticking to a recipe.  I like to just look in the fridge, see what I have on hand and come up with something [hopefully] delicious.  I don’t have time for elaborate dinners or ingredient heavy dishes, so I try to keep meals healthy, flavorful, and most importantly simple.  Today’s recipe is for a refreshing Green Apple Salsa that can be used several different ways.

original recipe

GREEN APPLE SALSA – recipe by Shannon Young
[serves 3-4ppl]
1 green apple
1/2 large red onion
1 cucumber
Handful of fresh chopped cilantro
[salt, pepper, lemon juice to taste]

Dice or lightly food process [you want it to be slightly chunky] ingredients and serve on pita or tortilla chips!


Toss a few spoonfuls back into the processor for a couple more pulses, then mix with a tablespoon or two of mayonnaise for a crisp and tangy sandwich accompaniment!


Mix a few spoonfuls of the salsa into your ground beef, chicken, or turkey [I made it with my turkey burgers last night and it was delicious] to give your burger some flair!


Add about 1 cup of plain yogurt and liquefy for a great springtime chilled soup!  Chop up some fresh dill or mint and toss that in too if you have it handy!

I hope you enjoy this recipe.  Check back every Wednesday for more cooking related features!  Have an original recipe you think my readers or I will like?  Email me!  Bon Apetit!

baby / tots cooking creativity life

Life. Creativity. Baby. Humor. Cooking. Words.


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