Star caterer Paula Fenner
In August, the Columbia, Md.-based National
Association of Catering Executives gave its Caterer of the Year
award to Paula R. Fenner, CPCE, director of catering at The
Adolphus in Dallas. Praised for offering an exquisite level of care
when guiding meeting planners through the process, Fenner has been
known on chilly days to warm up on-site planners with a steaming
round of cappuccino. To reap the benefits of her expertise, we
asked Fenner a few common catering questions.
M&C: Smoked duck sounds great, but is it too
strong for most palates?
Fenner: We have found duck to be a popular
appetizer. We do a terrine of foie gras and cured duck breast with
a tart apple-and-shallot chutney on toasted brioche.
M&C: Will attendees protest a lamb entrée? Should
planners serve beef instead?
Fenner: Definitely do not steer away from lamb
just use it differently. I would incorporate it into a cocktail
reception as Asian-marinated lamb chops; just make sure you offer
the cute white sleeves for the bones. Or you could use it as an
M&C: Some popular fishes, like wild salmon and
Chilean sea bass, are becoming endangered. Is there an edible,
environmentally friendly fish?
Fenner: Chilean sea bass has been removed
from the endangered list. Regardless, work with your chef so you
always get the freshest fish. We have seen an increase in halibut
and char, which is very similar to salmon.
M&C: What do you think about coffee flavoring in
Fenner: I would pair the coffee dessert with
an orange sorbet, which works beautifully with the coffee flavor
and also pleases the palate of non-coffee fans, such as myself.
Everything works with food; it’s just how you pair it and present