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Pepper's Holiday Magic

Posted by Pepper's Team Blog on Thu, Dec 18, 2014

by Style & Design

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It's not too late to add some Pepper's magic to your holiday party! We're still taking bookings for the end of the year, so dazzle your guests with delicious appetizers, entrancing entrees and decadent desserts! With custom flower arrangements, sparkling decor, and glowing candle light, we promise you a magical end to 2014!


Rustic Wedding Design

Posted by Pepper's Team Blog on Sun, Oct 05, 2014

It’s not often that you get to design a wedding from top to bottom, but with Matt and Sandie’s wedding this past week, we were able to do just that! I met with the bride and groom to walk through the Southborough Community Center, a lovely old house set on a beautiful property, to get an idea of what Pepper’s could do to bring their wedding vision to life. As we walked thorough each room, Sandie told me her vision, of rustic romance with lots of personal touches. She had bought plenty of pieces already that she wanted me to incorporate, so I went back to the design studio and started sketching, I sent over my sketches and a proposal and we were on our way, with a plan of building special pieces, staging pretty areas, and creating lots of floral arrangements!

Photo Backdrop

We started by building an interactive photo display, which was placed on the deck by the front door. I used vintage doors to create a photo backdrop, created signage for the door and more directional signage (and you can’t forget # info for photos!) We then added hooks and family photos so that all the guests could pose with the couple even when they were occupied elsewhere! With a couple more props and hay bales to sit on, it was the perfect place for the couple and guests to pose for photos! We love photo stations because they can create some of the most fun photos a couple has of their guests!

Table Decor

Next was the welcome table in the entryway. We wanted to create a first impression upon entering the house, something that really gave the guests a clear idea of what the whole look and feel was. We built this with an old door as the top and wooden wine boxes as the legs. I then drew up a custom welcome sign and set up a little rustic-vintage vignette with old trunks, letters, and little drawers full of flowers. The bride and her kids had created these fun windows with photos and writing and wanted us to include them in the décor, so I thought the perfect place for this one was on the gift table, we paired it with their gift box, another sign made here at Peppers, and more flower arrangements, it was the perfect place for guests to drop off their gifts and cards for the couple.

Ceremony Decor

After signing the guest book, guests headed into the great room for the ceremony, which was full of design details! First, we made this custom wood marquee sign especially for the couple, with hand painted details and vintage bulb lights, it was the perfect focal point for the fireplace where the couple would say their vows. Next we created this lovely floral garland for the fireplace and filled bud vases with flowers to give it some extra impact. Then we stacked wooden apple crates and filled them with flowers to more clearly define the ceremony area. It was a truly magical place for Sandie and Matt to say “I do!”

 Bar and Buffet

Last but not least, and of course for Pepper’s, one of our favorite parts: the food & drinks! For the bar, we built another backdrop of vintage doors, and created a marquee sign to designate the bar area. This was a cocktail style party, with lots of delicious little bites and appetizers for the guests to nosh on all evening long. So along with delicious passed hors d’oeuvres, we created this rustic stationary display for the tasty morsels that would be out all night long. With apple crates, a giant vintage spool top, a hand written menu sign and plenty of floral arrangements, this food display fit perfectly with the rest of the décor!

We wish Matt and Sandie all of our best wishes and thank them for letting us bring their wedding vision to life!

Revolutionary Themed - Old Manse Gala in Concord

Posted by Pepper's Team Blog on Fri, Sep 26, 2014


Pepper’s had the great pleasure to cater and design a Gala for the Trustees of the Reservation at the Old Manse property in Concord Massachusetts this summer, and since we’re not quite ready to accept that summer is over, we thought we’d share it now! We love events like this, that have not only a delicious menu but also lots of style and design elements for Pepper’s to design, create, and set up for clients!

Old Manse Gala

The Trustees of the Reservation decided on a Revolutionary war theme, and even had a Revolutionary reenactment, muskets blazing and all!

 Rustic Cheese Display

On top of the passed hors d’oeuvres, we wanted to have an impressive cheese station for this event as there would be plenty of time while watching the revolutionary reenactment for guests to snack. With stacked wine crates for height and tea dyed reproductions of historical documents to add a historical feel to it all.

Rum Bar

We carried this look through to our a delicious rum bar with copper cups, and our own wine barrel display.

 Antique Book and Vessel Centerpieces

When guests moved into the tent for dinner, they were lead to their tables with centerpieces of antique books and vessels filled with flowers. We actually scoured antique shops for all the unique vessels and books found at each table. Complimenting the antique books with newer hardbacks that were all spray painted and then hand painted with gold accents on the spine to make them blend in with the older books. We then built some lovely floral arrangements in everything from antique teapots to vintage metal beer steins.

Dessert Display 

Last but not least was our opulent dessert display, with all our tasty treats displayed on gilded mirrors, surrounded by candlelight, with a backdrop of colonial flag bunting. We loved creating all the design elements to complement this event and the property.

Wedding Theme Inspiration: ORANGE You Glad…

Posted by Pepper's Team Blog on Tue, Sep 09, 2014

by Jody Boyajian

Senior Event Designer

Mango. Tangerine. Or just orange. Whatever hue you call it, this sunny color is sure to make a summer wedding original and memorable.

cake design

A recent bridal couple spiced up all aspects of their Larz Anderson Auto Museum wedding with a winning combination of navy and white chevron striped linens with orange charger plates, napkins and floral centerpieces.

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Other details included an orange slice in each water goblet, orange paper lanterns throughout the tent, orange display linens and orange imprinted sunglasses for guests to wear during the outdoor ceremony. Even the bride and bridesmaids wore bright orange shoes!

This wedding had a cohesive and fun design plan that reflected the personalities and spirt of the couple.

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Here’s to coloring your wedding with creativity!  



Farm-to-Table Dinner Event

Posted by Pepper's Team Blog on Tue, Aug 19, 2014

Being Customer #1

Have you ever been the first customer of a business?

While participating and donating samples of our catering cuisine at a benefit for the Worcester County Food Bank nearly 17 years ago, I met with Ann Starbird from Crystal Brook Farm. Ann was sampling the first offering of her yummy Chevre and I was taken aback with the delightful tang, mouthfeel of her delicious cheese. Before the doors opened for the general public, I found myself placing our first order and therefor begining a long relationship, offering Ann’s local Chevre to the delight of the customers of Pepper's Fine Catering. In the first year that Ann was in business, we were buying up nearly all the Chevre she produced, which for a small business can be both a godsend and a leap of faith. While we have always sought to be the best caterer in the area, offering enjoyable cuisine crafted by a passionate culinary team, being customer number 1 to a local farm will forever remain a highlight and speak volumes to our culture.

Fast forward to this past Thursday when Pepper's Fine Catering collaborated with Crystal Brook's Chevre, Lilac Hedge Farm (grass fed meats) and our gracious hosts, Indian Head Farm in Berlin. MA to produce their first Farm-to-Table dinner. Tim Wheeler’s family has been farming on their land in Berlin for over 200 years and it is a spectacular farm in which Tim’s wife Janet has raised another generation of Wheelers to continue the traditions of farming.

Farm to Table

The setting of our 70 foot long table overlooking the berry fields couldn’t have been more idyllic. The torrential rains of the evening before had given way to blue skies.

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The wafting aroma of spit-roasted pork steamship provide by Lilac Hedge Farm, the charming & enticing food display and table settings by Caitlin Spaulding, Stylist extraordinaire, along with set-up Chefs Tom Little and Matt Bauce together created an over-the-top cuisine experience for the 70 guests. All of the fruits and vegetables were picked within 24 hours of dinner and the creative chefs crafted a menu that showcased the nuances and tastes of the unique terroir of Indian Head Farm.

farm table setting

Imagine... fresh Kale Caesar Salad, stuffed eggs 3 ways with Lilac Hedge's fresh eggs, Vegetable Ratatouille, Corn Pudding as well as 5 other enticing dishes and a three berry desert in the Garden Shed with local musicians who popped in for the fun of it.

garden shed

It took a team effort to provide such a memorable feast, and we are so thankful for the farmers that we were able to feature and support. Also a big thank you the volunteers from Pepper's and Indian Head Farm for their exceptional help as well as the guests who didn’t hesitate to be the first to experience this amazing event. Tickets sold out in 3 days of the Indian Head Farm (to table dinner) - it is likely the dinner memory of the summer.


Here's to Customer number one!




Farm to Fork, Farm to Table - Call it what you’d like.

Posted by John Lawrence on Fri, Jul 18, 2014

Farm to Fork, Farm to Table, call it what you’d like.

We’ll call it fresh...

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Do all strawberries taste the same?

Head over to a local farm, say Indian Head Farm in Berlin and bring your sweet tooth and napkins.

Eat slowly. Savor the vibrant color, the aroma after your first bite, then the overwhelming essence of strawberry and the excessively juicy berry oozing of goodness ( this is where the need for napkins comes in ). OMG. After consuming a dry, shipped from across the country berry from a super market, you’re sure to have an epiphany.

This was my experience a few weeks back when I had stopped over to Indian Head Farm in Berlin a few weeks back and picked up a few baskets of strawberries & blueberries. I met with Tim and Janet Woodward and began chatting about the farm, their produce and their love for what they produce. The Woodward’s had shared that they would love to host a dinner in which lovers of “fresh” could experience what they do, each and every day.

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60 seconds. That’s about how long it took me to commit myself and Pepper's Fine Catering to join with the Woodward’s and cater a farm to table dinner event. We all became animated while walking over the fields. The ideas were flowing and we broadened the concept to include products for other local farms as well. No doubt that we would invite Ann Starbird to bring over some of her delicious Chevre from her Crystal Brook Farm. Eggs would come from Lilac Hedge Farm and Tim would source the Steamship of Pork from another local farmer and so began the menu considerations.

We have already began crafting a few new ideas and this past Sunday we tested out a grilled zucchini, sweet corn & goat cheese salad with a fresh rosemary, lavender salt dressing.

Having shopped at Indian Head for some 25 years makes this an easy evening to wrap our heads around and be forewarned to purchase tickets asap. We will only sell 50 at 50 dollars each. The menu, farm and the evening will far exceed your expectations and chef Lawrence will also throw in a barrel of his craft brewed beer made with his best buddy, Tim McGee to complement the tastes of the evening.

The Farm to Fork Dinner is to be held on Thursday, Aug. 14 from 5-8pm, with volunteers from the farm as well as Pepper's Fine Catering will be putting in collaboration with Indian Head Farm at their 232 Pleasant Street location in Berlin.  

Farm Fresh Veggies

Why Do We Love Catering?

Posted by John Lawrence on Fri, Jun 13, 2014

Many of our friends in the restaurant industry who are so used to having every resource at their fingertips will often ask us if we are playing with a full deck when we speak about the challenges with catering, such as:

  1. Setting up temporary kitchens in garages, under event tents, the unfinished basement or in the field with no power or running water

  2. Relying on a tent to cater a gala event for 300 guests, in 30 degree weather and rain in the forecast

  3. Packing up two truckloads of equipment for an outdoor wedding, setting up and then repacking at midnight under moonlight

Perhaps we are a little insane, but there are a number of things that motivate us and keep our catering team happy, receiving thoughtful accolades every week from our joyful clients is a key motivator. We always look forward to Mondays, as it is when we receive numerous Thank You notes of praise for “exceptional cuisine and attentive service to our guests”.


             Thank You Wall                Thank You Notes


Recently a film crew from Nightline Prime on ABC arrived to film a real estate broker open house that we were catering and the on-air interviewer went ga-ga over our Lobster BLT Salad on editable spoons as you can see in the previous link. Her expression and joyful sounds were priceless, once she gave it a try. That’s what we’re talking about.

Lobster BLT

It’s those reactions that we receive and knowing that we serve memorable cuisine and award-winning catering services to each and every event drive us to do it again and again. We never get tired of reading Thank You notes from our clients never and as challenging as catering can be, it is also one very rewarding service to provide.

Catering isn’t just about the food. While we admittedly are a food driven company, we are equally driven to service, as well as style and design. Yes we do have a style and design director who is charged with 

enhancing all of our work with panache & to best complete the vision of our client. Great food presented with style completes the efforts of all of our group.

Lastly, the third leg of the Pepper’s Fine Catering trilogy that forms the basis of our everyday is the fabulous and attentive service staff. They are the directors of first impressions and we always get a mention in every thank you note on how pleasant and attentive these key members are to a catering event experience, led by our proactive event managers who execute their well thought out plans for service.

We are so fortunate to have such a terrific “service oriented” team in our midst and offer you this question, wouldn’t you prefer to relax and enjoy your party and guests like never before by engaging the team from Pepper’s at your special event?

Thank you to all of our loyal foodies, who have engaged & challenged us to do it once again, as good or better than the last time.

Catering for Open Houses: Champagne, Exquisite Food & Selling a Luxury Home

Posted by John Lawrence on Mon, May 19, 2014

Catering for Open Houses

catering open houses

It's no secret to successful real estate agents, who are looking to sell multiple properties or that extra special “designer showcase home”, that attracting the right prospect calls for the some “out of the box” thinking.

People seek to imagine themselves in the right home and setting the stage with furniture, lifestyle function and special activity is certainly an important strategy that many progressive developers and real estate brokers deploy to move the sales of homes.

While the depiction of Annette Bening in her role on American Beauty and her quote of “I will sell this house today” depicts a harried broker scrubbing the tiles, dusting up a storm, savvy brokers deploy numerous tactics to move a high end piece of property. 

Hosting an open house, especially a broker open house, is still a strategy that has numerous other benefits besides finding the right buyer. This is where, as in life, putting together a well thought out plan will drive a higher percentage of results. A high end broker open house should also attract sharp agents who also sell to the upper level marketplace and have a Rolodex of contacts who can expose the Host agent to a network of new contacts.

As a caterer who has been called on by dozens of agents who seek a tasteful and memorable solution for custom beverage and clever food stations that really showcase a home and its special nuances, we have achieved the highest amount of raves by placing food and matching beverages in focal points around the home and property that gets visitors to slow down and take a moment to capture a home’s unique aspects of architecture, views or simply it’s terrific and useful design. We recently catered a gorgeous open house that was featured on a segment of Nightline Prime on ABC. You can read more about it in this article in the Telegram & Gazette.

Toll Brothers, a nationwide upscale home builder employs these strategies and takes it a step ahead in some of the following ways.

1. Inviting the right guests, such as public officials, Chamber of Commerce, brokers and other “influencers” that network with people who speak with those who may be in the market for something special.

2. Schedule your open house after “working hours” for higher level of attendance.

3. Enlist local vendors who represent what is special about the area. Local craft brews (we featured Jack’s Abbey beer recently), farmers market, Spa and other lifestyle types of vendors. Everyone wins with this exposure.

4. Go digital & use social media to further boost awareness and interest. Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest are getting more powerful by the day.

So take a page from Annette Bening’s character and make the home a sparkling presentation, hire a great catering company to help you, the broker look great and with all of this advance preparation, relax and enjoy your Open House Event.



“In Season” and Saving Some Green on your 2014 Wedding?

Posted by John Lawrence on Tue, Apr 15, 2014

It may come as a complete contradiction, to wrap your head around saving money and booking a prime wedding venue during the high season. Asking the right questions and being opened minded, can help you capture a gorgeous and memorable site.

How so, you ask?

1.)    Dates are booked and on occasion a date is cancelled, leaving the venue eager to fill the space.

2.)    Friday evenings and Sundays create a unique opportunity both in savings and unique menus.

3.)    Wedding vendors may be inclined to offer a break or value add-on to fill these time spots.

If you consider a traditional wedding: it’s 5 hours with a cocktail hour, 90 minutes for dinner, leaving 2.5 hours for the fun, dessert, dancing and cocktail.

Ponder this, begin your Friday evening wedding a little later than usual, have an enhanced cocktail hour with both hors d’oeuvres & chef active stations going on at the same time. Then morph into traditional Toasts, First Dance etc. and phase right into the “party”, giving you plenty of time to thank attendees and enjoy your guests. You transformed your 5 hour reception into a paced 4 hour reception saving on the food, staffing and perhaps the Venue rental. It starts to add up to some serious green when you hit multiple areas that affect your overall budget.

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As for a Sunday, think about a Caribbean Brunch and take-off on an island theme. You can have some real fun with this and it’s a perfect lead into your Cancun or Bahamas honeymoon.

In Central Massachusetts, the stunning Tower Hill Botanic Garden is booked up for their Saturdays this season but has further discounted their Friday and Sunday events quite a bit, offering a great value for this one-of-a kind venue.  Pepper’s is taking an additional 10% off our normal costs for this terrific venue. Tell your friends about this deal!

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Likewise, Gardens-at-Elm-Bank, located in Wellesley, also has a few open dates to fill and they are open to meeting prospective couples and showing the gorgeous grounds of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society.

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Ok, so you see an opportunity to save a few greenbacks on a venue, what else you say?

Yes, to seasonal flowers? Many wedding flowers travel thousands of miles, increasing the cost and carbon footprint. Mixed media bouquets are both clever & contemporary, but can also save you considerable amounts of money. Speak to your floral professional and have an honest dialogue on their knowledge and recommendations. Our style & design specialist often mixes in vegetable, limes & herbs in her floral displays for a unique & seasonal look that really “pops”.

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Gifts for your attendants?

Etsy.com for those one-of-a kind and special gifts for the ladies.

For the guys, consider moneyclam.com as they have monogramed (or wedding date etched) money clips as well as one that has a built in bottle opener.



Designing an Asian Station

Posted by John Lawrence on Tue, Nov 26, 2013

By Heidi Bouchard ~ Head of Style and Design

Pepper’s Fine Catering owner, Susan Lawrence, recently came to me for help in designing stations for an Asian Inspired Gala.  She had a vision with some specific ideas.  One of them would be a major focal point set in front of the huge stage at Mechanics Hall in Worcester, MA.  To say the Hall and Stage are grand would be a bit of an understatement. It would have to be big and impressive as not to look dwarfed by the majestic nature of the room.

The station was Asian inspired, 32 feet long and would have 4 Chefs cooking and serving guests. We would need 8 wok set ups.

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~Chinese Long Beans Stir Fried and topped with Crispy Five Spice Shrimp and Hoisin Sauce

~Handmade Pork Dumplings with China Moon Orange Sauce

~Vegetable Shoo Mai with Citrus Ponzu

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Susan and I collaborated with the culinary team and concluded that guests would start in the center of the station and flank off to the right and left. Immediately I decided that the major focal point to display would be in the center. In addition to having to be large I decided to also raise the table to give the station even more presence.

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Susan and husband and co-owner John have traveled to Asia many times over the years and have collected wonderful pieces that are displayed in our Tasting Room.  I often use them for very special events. The center arrangement soared to over 10 feet high and featured a huge gold hand-painted fan, dyed red Asian willow, bamboo and an oriental lantern.  The plates were set on glass covered trays filled with green bamboo rice and across the front of the tables were glass boxes with wheat grass and bamboo ferns.

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Pin lighting was added by Revelation Productions of Worcester which brought life to the display. A culinary and visual feast!

Delicious and Beautiful……that’s what we do best.