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Your experiences with these Toronto caterers?

2
2bwed0609 Mar 5, 2009 06:58 PM

Hi there,

I'm trying in desperation to come to a decision on which caterer to hire for my wedding in Toronto, this summer. My venue requires me to choose from their list of partnered suppliers.

The choices I am considering are:

En Ville
Daniel & Daniel
A Catered Affare
Presidential Gourmet
Jewell Catering

Does anyone here have any experience with any of these OTHER than D&D?

All I can find any info about from anyone outside the event planning industry is D&D. They come highly recommended but my sense after reading various reviews is that they are great for corporate events with big budgets or social events with big budgets but that if you don't have a huge budget they may not be the caterer for you. We are on a budget and they are not being very flexible on the pricing. I am trying to figure out however if the other caterers are realy THAT different from what D&D offers, for the price difference. I've spoken w/ reps at each, and there are nice people at each who are more than happy to have our business but my main concern is food quality and value for the money.

Thoughts? Hoping to get insight from some of you Toronto ChowHounds! Thx in advance.

  1. j
    jorestes Mar 26, 2009 12:16 PM

    I would try a smaller company with more personel touch and better food. Sequel at yonge and lawrence both the food and service was fabulous and they are more flexible with budget

    1. 2
      2bwed0609 Mar 22, 2009 12:12 PM

      Thanks to everyone who replied. After our tasting we decided to go with D&D. The quality is excellent, as is the presentation, quantity, and flavour.

      1. s
        SpiceMustFlow Mar 8, 2009 11:00 AM

        I was familiar with D&D catering from encountering their product at many corporate events, so I was happy to call them when it came time to book for my own wedding. The sales manager listened to my requests, promised to get back to me with a quote in a few days, and... never called. I phoned back and left a message. No response. One other caterer had returned with a quote of such inflated prices that I knew it was a "f*ck off, we don't need your business" response, but D&D couldn't even be bothered to get back to me at all.

        I then took the unusual response of writing to the owners to complain about the lack of service, but I guess they were as uninterested in my little garden wedding cocktail party as their sales rep was. So I don't care how good their food is, I'll never set foot in that place again.

        1 Reply
        1. re: SpiceMustFlow
          p
          Prok Mar 12, 2009 03:03 PM

          Have worked with all companies on your list except Jewell. Enville & Catered Affare are not in the same ball park so you won't be comparing apples to apples. While capable event executors, their food is absolutely second tier. (Bordering on ghastly.) D&D is good to work with, as long as you get one of their good reps. Their bad ones are really bad. Their events are very well executed & their food is moderately good. Not brilliant, nor particularly innovative but better than average catering fare. My best experiences have always been with Presidential. I've used them about 10 times in the last 6 years for both coprporate and private events. Out of all the caterers (except Jewell) PG has the best and most creative food, best staff and best value in that price range.

        2. h
          Helen Mar 7, 2009 05:24 AM

          I had Jewell Catering for my son's wedding eight years ago, all I can say is that they were excellent - but I don't know what they're like now.

          1. b
            beergal Mar 6, 2009 06:31 PM

            We contacted Presidential Gourmet for our wedding. I told them what I wanted and what i didn't want on the menu. When the rep sent me the menu proposal, it had all the stuff I didn't want on it. I asked for mexican inspired food and certain types of meats and appets and I got all the stuff told him I didn't like. I didn't get it. Afterwards I told them I didn't like the menu and then they changed it to what I actually asked for. They still tried to get us to add other stations for our small wedding(60 people) which I told them I didn't want. I wasn't happy with our interaction. They kept calling me, a couple times a week to seal the deal i guess but it felt like harassment. Finally the co-owner call me to ask what they could do to win our business and I told them I had gone with another caterer based on all the info above.I didn't appreciate that they didn't listen to what I wanted and that cost them my business. He seemed very upset that his partner f'd up.

            1 Reply
            1. re: beergal
              2
              2bwed0609 Mar 6, 2009 09:39 PM

              I am sorry to hear that. I have had similar experience w/ D&D. I don't think they have been awful, they've just been having a tough time 'getting' my vision, which is frustrating because I'm not asking for anything odd or strange. I wanted similar to what you asked PG for - mexican inspired, caribbean inspired, exotic inspired, etc. - a summer menu... they had a few great suggestions but without an enormous budget it seems like I'm relegated to only serving chicken breast and mashed potatoes or salmon and mashed potatoes at my weddign and that's exactly what we had wanted to avoid, in the first place. I'm hoping we can get it right with one of these guys.

              My experience w/ PG is that it's hard getting them to get back to me. Must be a different guy. I dealt w/ them in the fall and gave up on them as was too hard getting responses from them in the first place. Decided to revisit the idea of working w/ them again and contacted him 2 days ago and have yet to get anything back from him this time other than an acknowledgement (a friendly and very warm one I might add), of my initial reconnection. I gave him a lot of information yesterday and didn't receive any reply back today so likely won't until next week now that it's the weekend.

              Responsiveness is key in catering I woudl think... the early bird catches the worm. Some of them don't quite get that. I had similar experience w/ companies like Marigolds & Onions back in the fall... getting a response from them was like pulling teeth. And when I did speak to someone she was less than friendly. Hence why they are not on my current list of considered caterers. So far my best service has been w/ En Ville. I just need to get the entree quality up and I would be happy to give them my biz. But in the meantime looking for input from the rest of you on them plus other caterers on my list.

              Thanks again!

            2. j
              JennaBean Mar 6, 2009 08:00 AM

              I've used En Ville and D&D many times. En ville should be able to do something nice and tasty for you within the budget you have. Be creative with the food items you pick. Something very simple items can be dressed up to appear much more special for your special day.

              3 Replies
              1. re: JennaBean
                2
                2bwed0609 Mar 6, 2009 08:21 AM

                Hi Jenna, thanks for your input. Since you have experience w/ En Ville would you please tell me what you think their best dishes would be entree wise? We were told they make great steaks (by our rep there) but don't want to offer steaks at the wedding as people are so fussy about how they like their beef cooked and it is just iffy. The chicken and fish were both bland/dry... I think we'd like a dish that's marinated and/or cooked in its own juices - rather than something that was just seasoned prior to placing on a rack in the oven and oven grilled, dry or with a glaze that doesn't infuse w/ the meat but which just stays on top.

                Suggestions based on what you've enjoyed with them would be welcome.

                Our menu is for an outdoor summer event so we'd like something fresh and summery and ideally want to stay away from the traditional Italian or French style recipes most banquet events serve.

                Thanks!

                1. re: 2bwed0609
                  j
                  JennaBean Mar 6, 2009 09:17 AM

                  For chicken we've done both the Rotisserie Chicken which was very tasty and the lemon (and I want to say thyme but I'm not 100 percent) I prefered the Rotisserie as it had more flavour in my opinion but folks did enjoy the lemon chicken as well. For fish I wouls say the black cod hands down.

                  Now I've never done this with En Ville but I have hosted a semi-formal bbq for a wedding event in the past. I know it sounds odd, but it worked out really well for the couple who also had an outdoor summer wedding. Just something to think about as I think the price point for their bbq offerings is rather good.

                  1. re: JennaBean
                    2
                    2bwed0609 Mar 6, 2009 02:24 PM

                    Initially we wanted to do the bbq concept but were told the bbq would not even be part of the ambience, it would be up by the kitchen which is a small trek from where we'd be having the reception (not far but you wouldn't see the bbq) so it sort of took away from the ambience especially since we would be charged more believe it or not to bring in the huge bbq. You'd think they'd have one there but I guess they don't.

              2. JamieK Mar 6, 2009 07:28 AM

                My company used Catered Affare for lunch meetings for several years. I realize the type of event is different but we always enjoyed their food and never had any problems.

                2 Replies
                1. re: JamieK
                  2
                  2bwed0609 Mar 6, 2009 08:25 AM

                  Thanks JamieK, would you mind giving me some ideas about what kinds of food you thought was great/memorable with them?

                  1. re: 2bwed0609
                    JamieK Mar 6, 2009 09:38 AM

                    I can't be specific -- they served many lunches, usually sandwiches, salads. Bread was always fresh and interesting, fillings were tasty with quality ingredients. I think there was a grilled chicken sandwich I particularly liked. Salads were good, I liked the pasta salads, and I think there was one involving chickpeas that was tasty. People seemed to enjoy the desserts but I'm not a dessert person, so I didn't indulge.

                    They were reliable and punctual. Sorry I can be more helpful than that.

                    We also used Daniel et Daniel from time to time. I think it depended on which department was ordering the food. They were good too.

                2. ribboy Mar 6, 2009 06:19 AM

                  This is not one of the above however....I was at an event that was done by a company called A Simple Table and the food was excellent.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: ribboy
                    2
                    2bwed0609 Mar 6, 2009 08:24 AM

                    Thanks Ribboy as I'm sure others who search the forums for catering reviews will be glad to know that... unfortunately I can only work with the caterers listed as I am restricted to those who have a contract with my venue.

                    :)

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