Meet our Patch Partners: Windows Catering

Today we our introducing you to the fabulous Windows Catering! We had the honor of enjoying their delicious food at one of our last events and all of us at The Dandelion Patch, plus our guests, were raving about the food for weeks! We talked to Sarah Nester, an event designer for the company who shared great advice on planning a wedding (or any event!) you need catered!

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Photo via Gascoine Photography

The Dandelion Patch: How would you describe Windows Catering to a couple? Does Window’s have a specialty?

Windows Catering: Over the past 28 years, Windows Catering Company has established a national reputation as one of Washington DC’s premier off-premise catering companies. Our highly acclaimed culinary and operations teams have an outstanding reputation for delivering the highest quality cuisine and professional service. Our “new American” -style cuisine is abound with inventive interpretations and modern creations of American, regional and international cuisine. Chef/Proprietor Henry Dinardo, Executive Chef Pasquale Ingenito and Executive Pastry Chef Laurent Lhuillier (National Team Pastry Champion) continually update Window’s offerings with a variety of delicacies that include items like Truffled Lobster “Corn Dog” with Grain Mustard Soubise and Hudson Valley Foie Gras with Torchon Apricot Peach Compote and Moulard Duck Ham. Chef Lhuillier’s pastry creations and wedding cakes are simply awe-inspiring in both taste and presentation. We can cater a gala for 1,000 guests, a summer barbeque for 200 or a tea party for 30 with as much care . There are no limits to what Windows can do for our clients! (And trust me, we’ve done it all over the past 28 years!)

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The Dandelion Patch: How would you suggest making the decision between serving food buffet style or service style at a wedding reception?

Windows: Windows wants your wedding to be about YOU and your guests. The debate between a buffet and seated service-style is primarily about the vibe you want to create in the room. Buffet style service tends to lend itself more to a casual, interactive atmosphere. A served meal is more formal and does not create as much interaction between guests. When choosing between the two options you should also consider the variety of foods you’d like to serve…and of course your budget. Buffets, or stations, provide more flexibility in the types of cuisine you can offer. 

Regardless of your choice of service, the menu you create with your caterer is a wonderful way to showcase who you are as a couple. For example, if you’re from the Jersey Shore, and you want Boardwalk Fries at your wedding, it is our job to recreate your desires and not push you into picking something standard. Many people chose off-premise catering for the freedom and creativity it provides. So if you like the variety that comes with buffets, do a buffet! If you desire a more classic duel entree with filet and lobster for each person that’s absolutely fine as well. 

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The Dandelion Patch: How did you get into the catering business? Do you have a favorite memory from a wedding (or any other event)?

Windows: Funny enough, weddings are the reason I got into catering. In my former careers, I was an event/wedding planner (for a non-profit and association as well as for Bash DC), and over time I grew to realize that I loved the opportunities catering provided. If you want to focus on weddings, you can. If you want to focus on huge galas, you can. If you prefer ensuring lawyers get their weekly lunch buffet, then you can have that opportunity as well. There are so many reasons people need catering. And what they really want is good food and good service no matter what the event may be. I’m proud to work at Windows because we provide our clients and their guests with just that. 

Our corporate drop business is fascinating to me as well, we can do 500 boxed meals for a youth group, provide a beautiful lunch buffet for a board meeting, or deliver a special cake for an office birthday celebration. And, of course, seeing how our kitchen operates is just amazing! They start at 5 am and go well into the evening in production…It’s constantly buzzing and humming here and I love that. 

My favorite memory at Windows is standing 10 inches away from First Lady Michelle Obama for a luncheon hosted at the Library of Congress. I actually was a little star struck. We get to meet and interact with so many fascinating people in our business.

The Dandelion Patch: Is there anything you wish couples knew before choosing a caterer?

Windows: Do not be afraid to ask direct questions and have a budget in mind. We need to hear what a couple’s vision is for their special evening. It can be frustrating if couples aren’t clear on what they want. We formulate our menus and design elements around YOU, so tell us what you want! Also, do not write off a caterer based on budget concerns. Some of my favorite weddings have been intimate weddings at the home for 30 or 40 guests. I love the idea of an intimate dinner party! Be creative and don’t get caught in a box. Feel free to challenge the idea of what a wedding “is”. It is what you want it to be!

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The Dandelion Patch: What are options that a couple needs to think about when providing food for their guests?

Windows: Most guests recognize that a wedding means they need to be open and flexible to what they are being offered. However, you certainly want to be respectful of allergies or dietary restrictions, so be sure to ask, especially if you’re doing a plated option. And I find that most guests have a real “When in Rome,” mentality. If your wedding is in DC, incorporate elements of what DC is to you. We have a very exciting culinary scene in DC. While staples like Maryland Crab Cakes or Shenandoah Trout are also an option, many people comes to DC for the amazing fusion cuisine. We are constantly being asked to add a little Latin or South American, Asian, or even European flair to our good…and Windows is always up for experimentation. 

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The Dandelion Patch: Please provide us with a fun fact about yourself!

Windows: I feel very fortunate to be in this industry. I love going to events… so why not work in events! But my absolutely favorite guilty pleasure of this industry is when the client asks me to be creative with the table design. It’s the planner inside of me that gets really nerdy and excited about a beautifully designed room that I helped create. My second favorite guilty pleasure is shopping for that one treasure or gem at secondhand, discount or antique stores. I could spend all day looking through junk for that one pair of 1950’s Balenciaga gloves (which hasn’t happened yet…)

Doesn’t that food just make your mouth water?! Thanks to Sarah for talking to us and thanks to Windows Catering for all that they do! Like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram/Pinterest @TheDandelionPatch for more information on our fabulous patch partners!

All other photos courtesy of Steven Saldana of Studio Saldana. 

-Jessica