I was poking around at the High Falls flea market recently when I ran into a neighbor I rarely see. The conversation turned to food (as it so often does) and I discovered that she’s a caterer. “She’s a really good cook,” chimed in Charlie, one of my favorite dealers, who’s been on the receiving end of my neighbor’s talents at parties. (This is why communities need flea markets and farmer’s markets — to bring people together and provide topics for bloggers.)
It turns out that my neighbor, Jeannette Mahomed, is from a family that was in the restaurant business “forever”; she started in food prep herself about 20 years ago when she was living in a lovely Manhattan apartment she couldn’t afford. “I went into August Foods on Madison Avenue and said, ‘How come you don’t have spinach pies and lasagna?’ This was before everybody and their uncle opened a gourmet food shop.” You can guess what happened next: Jeannette made spinach pies and lasagna for August Foods, which sold out in a flash, and she became a caterer and could afford her rent after all.
With a Greek Cypriot father, an Italian mother, and an Egyptian husband, Jeannette’s specialty is Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food like tagines and couscous (“I can make it with my eyes closed,” she says). With her eyes open, she can also make just about anything else you might like to feed your guests, from finger foods to pass around, to an elegant beef Wellington you can pass off as your own at a sit-down dinner. At a recent bash for interior designer Brian Murphy, 100 guests noshed on morsels like mussels on the half shell with saffron aioli, and marinated chicken satay. Now who among us can prepare enough elegant finger foods for 100 people?
Jeannette can help you plan the party and set the scene, as well as the table. She’ll use your serving dishes and utensils or her own, and provide servers and clean up, if you want. Or you can have the food delivered, along with instructions about how to reheat it.
“Everyone should entertain at home; it’s fun to have a party, and if it’s not your thing to cook, that’s where I come in,” Jeannette says. “I’ve got a 10-burner stove with two ovens, two grills — it’s a big restaurant stove, the size of a small car, and I really use it. I love to cook.”
Her business is called Delicious Dishes (no false modesty here). Her number is 845-687-2197. Please feel free to invite me to your party.