Since establishing in 2012, B. Gourmet Catering has grown into one of Charleston’s premier full service, boutique catering companies. What started as a one woman show headed by chef Brooke Bishop, has expanded into a company consisting of five full-time employees and over 40 part-time onsite event staff in just four, short years. The company recently expanded their catering shop to double in size with a newly renovated tasting room for clients to meet with the Sales and Event Managers to sample a majority of their proposed menu. I sat down with Brooke to learn a little more about where her passion for food began and how it led her to open her successful catering company.
Ashley: Tell us about where your interest in food and catering began.
Brooke: I’ve always had a passion for food! I grew up in Central Pennsylvania where my parents own a business in agriculture. Early on, I helped my mother can and freeze vegetables from our garden. You learn to appreciate food from an early age when you see what it takes to get the item to your plate. It wasn’t until college that I realized I could make a career out of my love for food, cooking, and entertaining. While at Penn State I studied abroad a summer in Lyon, France at Institute Paul Bocuse and earned a certificate in both French cuisine and culture. It was here that I became obsessed with gastronomy.
Ashley: When did you decide you wanted to open your own catering company?
Brooke: Growing up in a family of small business owners, I always thought of owning my own business. Originally I was thinking more of a private chef business as opposed to full service catering. After gaining some experience in off-site catering, I fell in love with the industry and knew instantly that this was my future career.
Ashley: Where does your inspiration for your recipes come from?
Brooke: Everywhere!!! From dining out, traveling, family recipes, culinary school, researching food trends. I really like to create customized options for clients, it keeps things interesting in the kitchen!
Ashley: What are some of your favorite items to prepare?
Brooke: I really enjoy preparing hors d’oeuvres. Creating each component of the item and assembling it together to create a beautiful flavor-filled small bite is so much more fun than preparing large pans of mac and cheese (haha!).
Ashley: What advice do you have for couples when they are selecting a caterer?
Brooke: Like all wedding vendors, I think it’s important that the couple feels comfortable with their caterer. Yes, the food needs to be delicious, but they also should be receiving prompt and attentive service from the initial inquire through the big day.
Ashley: What is your favorite Charleston venue to work at and why?
Brooke: This is a tough one! I love working at Magnolia Plantation because it’s so close to our catering shop. We work there so often–we’ve definitely developed a comfort level with the space. I love working at Founders Hall because of the amazing kitchen space. The Legare Waring House and the Gadsden House are my overall favorites because they are such beautiful spaces.
Photography: Marni Rothschild Photography