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Seasonal Entertaining: Do It Like a Pro

Credit:  Shannyn Higgins

Lazy Gourmet’s Kevin Mazzone says keep it simple and don’t stress

Without batting an eye, the team at The Lazy Gourmet is known to cater the most intimate of parties of just six people, and then immediately prepare to oversee an event for 12,000 guests.

While this suggests how white-hot the catering scene has become in Metro Vancouver, it also shows why The Lazy Gourmet name is so synonymous with catering, whether the clients are convention organizers, businesses, event planners or individuals celebrating a special day.

General manager Kevin Mazzone says: “We’ve been in business long enough to have seen and done it all. As a result, we haven’t yet encountered an event where we cannot accommodate. The possibilities are endless.”

Launched in 1979 by Susan Mendelson, The Lazy Gourmet was one of Vancouver’s first catering companies. Executive chef Jenny Hui maintains the company’s focus on great food, from traditional Chinese meals and seasonal menus rooted in West Coast flavours to vegan, gluten-free, or dairy-free options. 

The Lazy Gourmet is also highly sought for being able to throw parties that are second to none. Mazzone says:  “We love being able to do things that are out of the traditional event planning or catering wheelhouse. Last year, on a Tuesday, we were asked to stage a fairy-tale wedding for a couple at a Langley estate taking place that coming Sunday. We organized, planned and executed everything in just three days. From tenting, flooring, valet, flowers, sound and lighting, it was amazing to see all the vendors come together to develop the celebration.”

As for the event that attracted 12,000 people, it was staged on behalf of one client and required 180 staff.

 Although the company has fed and entertained its fair share of renowned and revered individuals, such as 2010 Olympic Games athletes, and delegates to the Dalai Lama conference, Mazzone says the simplest approach to organizing events is often the most effective—and this is especially worthy of consideration as we head into the holiday season.

Christmas is the busiest time of year for The Lazy Gourmet (conference season between April and May comes second). Mazzone has seen too many clients announce a gathering, leave preparations to the last minute and panic as a result. “So if I have advice to impart, it’s to not stress out. Just give us a call, even if you only need us to drop off food and come back later to pick up the plates,” he says.

Other advice from Mazzone: pick a theme and stick to it; consider custom décor as a trend (monogrammed napkins, custom linens and unique plateware are sure to impress guests); use risers to make holiday buffets look more dynamic; and consider music as a mood setter. “Some of our clients ask for a three-piece band, and others request a holiday playlist,” he adds.

Mazzone concludes: “This is the time of year when people should get together and be happy, so with regards to celebrating the season, remember that having fun is the first priority. Dazzling festivities aren’t necessarily a prerequisite, but good food is. Don’t waste time worrying. Just let us know how we can help you.”