Small Potatoes Catering & Events has been contributing its delicious creations to countless Bay Area events since 1995 when it was founded by husband and wife duo, Michael and Elaine Jennings. Specializing in local cuisine, Small Potatoes creates memorable menus with fresh, sustainable ingredients.
We recently sat down with owners, Michael and Elaine Jennings to find out more about this local favorite:
How did you get involved in the catering business? Have you always been a foodie?
Years ago when we moved to our home in Glen Park we built a great deck with plenty of room. Michael used to prepare food for us and our two (then) young girls. We started inviting friends over, and soon we started having regular Sunday gatherings for a houseful of people. Small Potatoes Catering & Events basically grew out of those Sundays.
What goes on behind the scenes of a caterer, something that a person not in the catering business would be surprised by?
We like to say that every catering job is a combination of camping and moving. We are meticulous planners, and do our best to anticipate every eventuality, but when you’re dealing with hundreds of human beings, often in an atmosphere of heightened emotions, we need to stay open, flexible and light on our feet.
How do you stay ahead of your competition?
For us it’s not so much about the competition as it is about continuing to challenge ourselves. Every day there are new techniques, new products, new purveyors. On the food side of things, we keep up with the restaurant scene, (including food trucks, pop ups, etc.) farmers markets, boutique shops, artisan producers and our trusted vendors. For presentation, we look to museums, theater, galleries, fashion and, when all else fails, a drive up the coast through Marin to Western Sonoma County.
What is the largest catering job you have ever taken?
2,200 guests in City Hall. We used the rotunda and both Light Courts, creating three distinct environments: Raw bar, martinis and champagne with a string quartet, Sushi and original Dim Sum with techno, and Southern comfort food with rock and roll.
Which event did you find the most gratifying?
One that comes to mind is a wedding on a private beach in Tiburon. Guests were escorted down the 220 steps to a table set for family-style service. We daisy-chained the piping hot meal down from our field kitchen perched high on the cliff, and had a bird’s-eye view of the guests enjoying the feast. The party spent a long time at table, then lovely, heartfelt toasts over coffee and brandy as the sun set behind the Golden Gate.