CTbites Team April 12, 2019
Orchestrating stylish and sophisticated catered events throughout Fairfield County and New York that incorporate great food and thoughtful service is what has earned Ratatouille & Co. Catering their great reputation. The mission of this innovative catering company, however, goes beyond canapes and silver trays. Ratatouille and Company use the power of the culinary arts and the hospitality industry to empower women to learn a skill set they can use on their road to independence and success.
In 2017 Founder Evelyn Isaia and Partner / Chef de Cuisine Cathy Brower embarked on a journey that combined their professional backgrounds and passions and wrapped them all up into a company that would not only serve a discerning clientele, but that could offer women who were less privileged than themselves an outlet and a teaching platform from which to blossom into accomplished women in their own right.
“We set out to lay down a foundation from which immigrant and refugee women could find their voice and their way,” beams Evelyn, a Westport, CT resident and former private wealth manager of over 30 years “We are partnering with nonprofit organizations focused on workforce development and providing these women with proper training in the culinary field and opportunities for them to make their way, support their families, and share their talent with others.”
Cathy, who studied at the Culinary Institute in Florence and specializes in Italian and Mediterranean cooking, as well as the pastry arts, went the culinary route after 30 years of being in the publishing business for the likes of the New York Times and Success Magazine, “These wonderful women who we have the privilege of working with come from all backgrounds and skill levels. It’s thrilling to see women returning to work with a passion for cooking, refugees and immigrants who share their culture and their recipes, chefs in training, and others who share a love for the culinary arts and entertaining.”
The training ground under the tutelage of these dynamic entrepreneurs encompasses both front and back of the house disciplines. From proper service and etiquette, and setting a room and a table, to safe serve kitchen guidelines, mise en place, cooking techniques, and creative plating; all of these skill sets can be applied to work and life, instilling a strong work ethic and building self-esteem.
Ratatouille & Co. partners include; Building One Communities in Stamford; Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants (CIRI) in Bridgeport; the CT Chapter of the Women’s Business Development Council: the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in NYC; and Emma’s Torch in Brooklyn, NY.
A catered event produced by Ratatouille & Co. is imaginative, flavorful, visual, and choreographed to a tee. Menus feature vibrant and seasonally inspired dishes, as well as an array of dishes from the many cultures that define this innovative catering company.
After the New York premiere of Alexandra Shiva’s new doc “This Is Home: A Refugee Story” — a group of refugee chefs prepared a triumphant Syrian feast in celebration.
Shiva’s Epix movie from It producer Jason Blum’s Blumhouse Television screened at the SVA Theatre and featured a Q&A with the director and The New Yorker’s Hilton Als.
The film, which won a Sundance audience award, follows four Syrian families arriving in America.
For a homey dinner afterward, hosted in the open kitchen of Shiva and her playwright husband, Jonathan Marc Sherman, caterers Ratatouille and Co. — which aims to not only serve delicious food but empower women and create opportunities by hiring refugees and immigrants with a passion for cooking — served a spread of falafel sliders, labneh and kebbe.
Among the guests were Ethan Hawke, “Fox & Friends” host Ainsley Earhardt, Alexandra Pelosi, Sandra Bernhard, Martha Plimpton, Josh Charles, Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan, Jake Paltrow, Griffin Dunne, Blum and producer Lindsey Megrue.
The film airs June 22. Blum’s upcoming credits include HBO’s “Sharp Objects.”
"Meanwhile, Ratatouille and Company, a Westport, Connecticut-based catering business that launched in May 2017, partners with nonprofit organizations that provide workplace development to immigrant and refugee women. Ratatouille hires those women on a per-event basis, and CEO and cofounder Evelyn Isaia says they currently have about 10 who are active, with plans to add teams in New York City to serve parties in that market." READ MORE
"Launched last spring, the food business provides employment and training for immigrant women as it dazzles customers with an eclectic international menu that ranges from Thai dishes, like Salt Encrusted Branzino, to Tuscan specialties, such as Spaghetti al Limone with Seared Scallops." READ MORE