About 100 lucky residents sampled the culinary skills of Katilady Events Inc.’s latest team members while sipping wines and enjoying the sunset from the Beach Villa in Great Cruz Bay at the caterer’s private preview tasting on Friday evening, June 1.
Katilady owner Kati Steinborn hosted the event to reveal her two new kitchen wizards on board.
Ted Robinson, formerly of Tage and Paradiso fame, was welcomed as Katilady’s Celebrity Chef, while Edika Franco, recently relocated from New Mexico, is the esteemed catering company’s new Executive Chef.
“Ted (Robinson) and I have been talking since November,” said Steinborn. “He had the opportunity to go back to Tage and he took that opportunity. When things weren’t working out there, however, we started talking again.”
When the popular Cruz Bay eatery Tage first opened, Robinson focused on giving diners unique experiences.
One Table a Night
“When we set out to do Tage we wanted everyone to feel as though they were the only ones in the restaurant,” said Robinson. “We didn’t want it to be a turn-and-burn restaurant. We wanted to see the same people again and again.”
“I think that’s what is going to make it even better for me here — there really is going to only be one table a night,” Robinson continued.
Franco, a native of Mexico who has been in the catering business for 16 years, brings her wealth of authentic south-of-the-border and southwestern dishes to the company’s traditional offerings.
“I enjoy doing food from all over the world but I am a southwestern girl so I really love the traditional Mexican, New Mexican and southwestern dishes,” said Franco. “That’s what I plan to bring. The food will be as authentic as it comes.”
Tried and True with Something New
The traditional Katilady fare, however, will still be available, Steinborn added.
“We’ll be keeping the same tried and true Katilady recipes that have taken us a very long way,” said Steinborn. “But it’s time to add more. We’ll be adding Edika’s southwestern fare which is as authentic as you can get without going to New Mexico and eating there.”
Robinson’s popular dishes, like his famous souffle and spinach salad, will also be new additions to the Katilady menu.
If the dishes at the private preview tasting were any indication, Katilady’s new offerings are sure to be a hit.
Robinson’s grilled baby portobella mushrooms with truffled mashed potatoes and roasted rock shrimp were a hit and Franco’s yucca and plantain tuielles with a trio of dipping sauces — pumpkin seed salsa, burnt mango and mint conserve and classic pico de gallo — had the crowd going back for more.
In-villa or In-home Dinners
While Franco will handle Katilady’s day-to-day operations, Robinson will be spearheading the company’s drive to tap into the burgeoning in-villa catering field, explained Steinborn.
“We wanted to increase our share of the in-villa dinners and we anticipate that’s an area that Ted can do a great job in,” she said.
The often overlooked local foodie market will also be able to take advantage of Robinson’s new position, added Katie Shea Tarta, Katilady’s operations manager and event planner.
“Edika is taking on the role of Katilady executive chef and will handle the provisions that go out of here moment-to-moment,” said Tarta. “Ted is taking on the new role of celebrity chef for our local market. Locals often get overlooked because we have a tourist-based industry here.”
“Now locals will be able to get Ted’s food in their own homes,” Tarta continued. “We expect to grow Ted’s fan base to visitors too.”
“Everyone wants to know where Ted is going since Tage, and now people don’t have to go anywhere to find him — he can come to you,” added Steinborn.
Learn Robinson’s Secrets
People who have always wanted to know the secrets behind Robinson’s dishes will get the chance to see the master in action, the Katilady owner explained.
“We’re going to be offering anything from two to three hours of instructional cooking where people can learn how to make Ted’s famous souffle, to dinners where you won’t even know he was there,” said Steinborn. “We’re also going to be doing wine pairings, and with Edika’s specialties, even margarita and tequila pairings.”
In-home or in-villa dinners can be prepared for parties of six or more and a wide range of menus and times are available.
Instead of the expected ego-clashes one would imagine in a kitchen with two talents, the arrangement allows the chefs to concentrate on the finer details, added Steinborn.
Egos In Check
“Neither one of these two have huge egos — which is why this situation works,” she said. “Often when working under a crunch you can overlook the fine details. But now because we have both chefs on board, they get to concentrate on those details. “
“Part of the fun of our job is making people ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh,’” Steinborn continued. “With the duties divided, Edika and Ted will have more time to really wow people.”
Everyone at Katilady is excited about the new offerings and for Steinborn, the latest additions to her staff are dreams come true.
More Than Steinborn Wished For
“I made a wish list of what I wanted in a chef,” said Steinborn. “And I have found that if you ask for something and allow the universe to take over, it will provide for you even more than you dreamed.”
“Our team is now complete with the most professional and highly skilled staff around,” Steinborn added.
A number of people in the community helped to make Katilady’s private preview tasting a success, Steinborn explained.
West Indies Corporation provided wine pairings, Susan Pratt supplied flowers, Donald Schnell offered use of the Beach Villa, the V.I. Pale Ale guys poured their new Summer Brew and Chirag Vyas provided musical entertainment. Photographer Steve Simonsen was also on hand capturing the special night as only he and his lens can.
To book an event, cooking class, private dinner or wine pairing feast, call Katilady at 693-8500.