Chef Lauren Mozer fills us in on navigating the new normal within the private event and catering world
Plus the inside scoop on an upcoming TL Insider POP event!
Chef Lauren Mozer has become a name synonymous with luxury dining in Toronto. Her once private chef service has grown into the esteemed event management and full-service catering company, elle cuisine. Despite all the challenges posed onto the culinary world by the COVID-19 pandemic, there is one distinctive quality Lauren has sustained – resilience. From the expansion of elle cuisine’s pastry team to the launch of the Stay Home Catering service, there has been no challenge too grande to overcome for TL Insider’s exclusive caterer. Catching up with Lauren, we discussed how she and the elle cuisine team are navigating the new normal, what makes a successful microevent, and the exciting VIP Movie Night on September 15 in partnership with TL Insider.
How has elle cuisine been adjusting to the city’s reopening?
We’ve been catering limited-capacity microevents, which has been a really exciting opportunity to get back into what we love about this industry. There have been challenges adjusting to this new version of our original business model, mostly due to the fact that we’d completely re-organized our internal structure and procedures to succeed with the new business model – “The elle Market – Stay Home Catering”.
Right around the time we hit our stride with the elle market, Stage 3 was announced and our team and procedural structure had to yet again shift. Straddling these two business models, while challenging, has been incredibly rewarding as well. We’ve been able to bring the elle cuisine experience into peoples homes and connect with an entirely new network of clients, while answering the demand of in-person events simultaneously.
Have you sensed an eagerness from clients to get back out to real-life events? And if so, what does that mean for you as a caterer?
The eagerness from clients has come in a wide-range of comfort levels, so we’ve taken a lot of time to work through procedures and ways of offering different types of service that meet their needs. It’s really exciting to see how people are eager again to connect and socialize in shared spaces. As caterers, all we can do is provide the best feedback and advice while keeping the safety of our team and our clients in mind as top priority.
What are some highlights of the microevents you’ve catered?
The first micro-wedding we did was on this beautiful property on the water in Gormley, Ontario for only twelve people. We did a gorgeous tasting menu and the ceremony was just so beautiful. Another highlight was a 40th birthday celebration in Bedford Park for sixteen guests. It was a Moroccan-themed event, designed by Rachel Clingen. She designed the most gorgeous setting, where we curated a menu to match the theme. Everything was stunning and the guests had a really great time.
Have the microevents presented new opportunities that aren’t necessarily an option with large-scale parties?
Absolutely! With the capacities we’re working with now, as Executive Chef I’ve been able to completely customize menus again. It feels like it did back in 2014 when elle was still a private chef service. With a skeleton team, we are more nimble and flexible, so we can answer to custom requests in a way that works. It’s likely to be a temporary scenario, so I’m trying to soak it up while I still can.
Can you share with us what you have planned for the TL Insider POP event presented by elle cuisine?
We wanted to host something outdoors so people can gather within their bubble and collectively feel comfortable while social distancing. I had this idea about doing a classic movie night, but enhancing it with service staff, a full food menu, and a super comfy Muskoka chair. In partnership with The Symes, who have very generously sponsored their space for this, we’ve been able to bring that idea to life with our VIP Movie Night on September 15.
What’s on the menu?
On the drink menu, members will find Good Sundays, Stel & Mar wine, pitchers of sangria, Aperol spritz and margaritas. For food, we’re running with a gastro-pub theme. From the elle cuisine team, we’ve got some great classic comfort foods like truffle fries, braised beef sliders, loaded nachos, superfood salads and ice cream sandwiches. We’re really excited to present some of those classic comfort foods in a new and unique setting.
Experience TL Insider today for the very special rate of only $75 a year. Sign up here using promo code TLPOP.