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Sue Bush
More articles from Sue Bush

Flo's Catering With A Personal Touch

By Susan Bush
12:00AM / Sunday, July 16, 2006

Flo's Catering With A personal Touch owner Philomene Rivard and catering service assistant Ric Belair
Adams - Town resident Philomene Rivard believed she had two things going for her when she decided to launch a catering business.

"I like to cook," she said during a July 15 interview done from the North Adams-based Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 996 kitchen as she prepared food for a wedding reception.

"And I like to eat."

"Flo's.....Catering With a Personal Touch" offers traditional catering for weddings and events such as showers, meetings, luncheons, family or class reunions, birthday, graduation, and anniversary parties, or other events, Rivard said. The "personal touch" promotion means that she will work with any event theme and can create food items that reflect a particular occupation or interest, she said.

A lunch delivery service is being developed, Rivard said.

The catering business has been in operation for a few weeks, she said.


Tina Hewes and Pat Reed work at a VFW Post 996 kitchen as part of a Flo's catering service team.
Rivard earned food handler certification in 2005 while employed as a cook at the Monument Square Child Care Center in North Adams. The National Registry of Food Professionals awarded Rivard the certification after she completed an 8-hour training course and passed a three-hour test. The training was provided by the American Food Safety Institute. The certification is important, Rivard said.

"I learned a lot because of this training," she said. "There were things that I learned that are actually part of the [state and federal] laws that I never realized was part of food handling."

She decided to enter the catering arena because friends and family members have raved about her cooking for years, she said.

"Some people are having a hard time believing that I'm going into business," she said. "For so many years, people would eat my cooking and say 'This is so good, you ought to be in catering.' So now I'm like, 'OK, I'll go into catering.'"

She has a number of "secret recipe" ingredients and "I won't be telling you what they are," she said.

The menu for the Saturday reception included a pepperoni and cheese platter, a "special recipe" shrimp platter, kidney bean salad, chicken wings, cocktail franks, swedish meatballs, and an Italian pasta entree. The VFW kitchen was a hive of activity as Rivard and assistants Tina Hewes, Pat Reed, and Ric Belair dashed about and monitored the cooking progress. Belair's teen-aged sons Chris and Rikki also lend their helping hands to the venture, Rivard said.

Rivard said that she invested about $2000 in start-up costs. She has crafted a buffet dinner catering menu that includes roast beef and baked ham. Buffet-style dinners include garden salad, a pasta and sauce dish, a potato prepared from a list of choices, such as mashed, scalloped or au gratin, and a vegetable. Additional meal choices include pork with gravy, fried chicken, bacon-wrapped scallops, Black Diamond steaks, prime rib, and chicken breast with stuffing.

Rivard is offering a "picnic basket" that brings uncooked cook-out staples to an event or backyard party. If a customer asks, a "cook" will be provided to prepare picnic basket contents, she said.

"That's right, you can get the picnic basket with or without the cook," she said.

Side dish choices include macaroni salad, potato salad, baked beans, macaroni and cheese, rice pilaf and onion rings. Bread choices include breadsticks, garlic bread, cornbread, Italian bread, and dinner rolls, according to a Flo's catering service menu. The menu includes "per person" pricing; for example, the cost of a fried chicken dinner with four accompanying items is listed as $5.95 per person.

Rivard said that people interested in the catering service are welcome to call for additional information. She will provide meal cost estimates, she said.

Rivard may be reached by calling 413-652-9411 or at a www.floscatering.com web site

Susan Bush may be reached via e-mail at suebush@iberkshires.com or at 802-823-9367.
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