KATRINA White prides her business on its service as much as its quality food. “My business aim was to bring really good quality and interesting food from the city to the country with good service to back it up.”
Relish Catering has called 15 Doyle Street, Narrabri it's home since 2006 after moving from her home town of Walgett. Relish Catering now, employs three full-time staff. She and her team travel within a four-hour radius of Narrabri, busily keeping up with demand, and a functions booking list that takes them well into next year.
Ms White’s decision to become a caterer/chef didn’t come at the completion of high school but came while travelling abroad. “When I left school, I didn’t know what I wanted to do so I did a June Dally Watkins course for 12 months and then went to an investment company in Macquarie Street, Sydney, where I worked for about 18 months as a personal assistant,” she said.
“I got sick of sitting in an office so then did nannying around Sydney for about two years to save up to go overseas.” She took off overseas and spent two-and-a-half-years abroad. “I’d always been interested in cooking and had an Irish friend who recommended the 12-week intensive Ballymaloe Cookery School in Ireland,” she said. Ms White spent the course under the watchful eye of accomplished chef, Darina Allen - the Maggie Beer of Ireland.
“After that I just knew I wanted to get into catering,” Ms White said. She spent the majority of her time overseas in England before coming home in 2001. “I was in a different kitchen every week in England, doing mainly corporate events,” she said.
“After spending time overseas, I was going to have three months at home then go to Melbourne.
“I thought I’d do a bit of catering and it grew from 20 to 30 people up to 500 people per function in four years”. “Now, I could tell you what I’m doing up to April next year, with 20 to 30 weddings to do each year.”
Relish has expanded to two competent teams able to cater for this large demand.
Ms White, says she has no set cooking style but rather accommodated all taste preferences across seven three-course dinner menu options, including a vegetarian meal. “I am probably more influenced by Asian and Mediterranean foods because they’re the flavours I like but I give anything a go and have a variety across my menu,” she said. “At the moment I’m into a bit of Moroccan with preserved lemons and cinnamon in my dishes.” The food’s interesting and of high quality, yet not over-the-top, she said.
The Relish Catering menu offers everything from zaatar crusted lamb fillets on baked pumpkin wedges topped with garlic aioli, to oven-baked Atlantic salmon on rocket and caper mash with spicy tomato salsa.
“I think the key to catering success is you’ve got to have excellent suppliers and produce – if you don’t have that, you’re lost,” Ms White said. “I’ve also been really lucky to have good staff who don’t mind travelling. “You’ve got to be prepared to go out of your way a bit more and cope with all situations, such as when a marque falls down just prior to the wedding party arriving for the reception.”
Ms White had a Relish Catering trailer custom-made with a cool room and ovens because the majority of her work involved on-site food preparation for marque weddings and other outdoor functions.
The Relish Catering family has now expanded to include Katrina's husband Shane and daughters Willa, and Bonnie.
Contact Relish Catering at (02) 6792 4178.