Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIV, No. 10
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Coldwell Banker Princeton Office

Prudential Fox and Roach, Realtors

Gloria Nilson GMAC Real Estate

Henderson Sotheby's International Realty

N.T. Callaway Princeton Office

Stockton Real Estate, LLC

Weichert, Realtors

Advertise in Town Topics

Iris Interiors

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Weather Forecast

It’s New to Us by Jean Stratton

CUSTOMIZED CATERING: “We are a full-service catering company, and can provide everything from delicious cuisine to china, silver, linens, servers, and even tents. Everything is customized to the client’s wishes.” Elizabeth Kelly, Director of Events for Provence Catering, specializes in the New Jersey market.

“Soup to Nuts” Full-Service Hospitality Is Available From Provence Catering

When it’s a really special event — whether a wedding, anniversary, family reunion, bar/bat mitzvah, or corporate gathering — you want only the best. The guests must have the best time ever, and you must enjoy your own party!

Provence Catering, headquartered in Jeffersonville, Pa., near Philadelphia, has been providing its special brand of hospitality to clients for nine years, and it now has a Princeton office.

“Owners Pamela Horowitz and Michael Yatzin had been wanting to expand into the central New Jersey area, and that will be my focus,” says Elizabeth Kelly, Director of Events.

“Formerly a vice president with Bank of America in California, Ms. Kelly has been doing a lot of work in Princeton. “We have been focusing on the Princeton market, and it is excellent,” she reports. “We offer restaurant-quality catering food that is customized to the client, and we have fabulous presentation. We welcome the person who wants something extraordinary.


“Weddings, corporate events, cocktail parties, bar/bat mitzvahs, graduations — we do it all. The most important thing is that if it can be done, we can do it! And it will be the highest level of full-service hospitality and event planning.”

Brides and grooms, corporations, and Princeton University have been recent clients, and Ms. Kelly notes that “The menu is very important to our clientele. They are often very knowledgeable. Our food is the highest quality with the freshest ingredients. We do a lot of Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and Asian food. Many people here have traveled a lot, and they are familiar with different cuisines. We have also found that many people at Princeton University events are health-conscious, and often vegetarians.

“It is important to know your audience. People often forget to mention who will attend the event. They may have particular dietary restrictions, and you must be aware of this. We are able to provide vegan and gluten-free menus as well.”

All sizes and types of events, from black-tie to picnics, children’s parties to power point presentations to summertime soirees are all part of Provence Catering’s domain.

“We really do everything and all kinds of specialties — a party for two or corporate events for 2000,” says Ms. Kelly. “Hot chocolate bars to iced vodka bars, ice cream sundae bars to wedding chocolate fountains and ice sculptures — we do it all!

“We serve a lot of salmon and steak, also Indonesian food, Asian, north African, and eastern European Kosher-style. Also, many people love our pigs-in-a-blanket and our mini-hamburgers as hors d’oeuvres. And our award-winning pastry chef makes incredible desserts, fabulous cakes and cookies.”

Mouthwatering Menus

Provence Catering’s menus are indeed mouthwatering at all levels. Samples from a Vegetarian Cocktail party could include curried vegetable canapes; figs and goat cheese; grilled pineapple spears; and roquefort grape bites, among many others.

At a Small Plates reception, guests could enjoy Maryland crabcakes; chicken Yamagichi (boneless breast of chicken filled with nori, carrot, red pepper and green beans, baked and sliced into medallions, served with a ginger scallion wasabi aioli, with fresh water chestnuts); and a mosaic of fruit.

A Welcome Cocktail party offers a sampling of Tuscan chicken; filet croustade; oriental shrimp; crudité display; and Mediterranean Tabla (roasted red or yellow peppers marinated with extra virgin olive oil and fresh garlic, accompanied by Niçoise and kalamata olives, marinated mushrooms, hummus, baba ganoush, topped with fresh mint, tabouli salad, served with pita bread and crisps).

Wedding menus are extensive, with hors d’oeuvres of every configuration and ingredient — Cajun shrimp purses (morsels of shrimp mixed with Cajun spices wrapped in flaky puff pastry, baked, and accompanied by a sweet chili dipping sauce); Lobster Monserrat; strawberries and goat cheese; wild mushroom brioche diamonds; antipasto de Provence; green tea-filled shrimp.

Sweetly Seductive

Dinners include Asian beef salad; pineapple smoked salmon; peppercorn chicken; filet of beef; wok-charred tuna; and lamb chops, among many other choices.

Desserts are sweetly seductive, with wedding cake, chocolate fountain, and a variety of offerings such as specialty creme brulée; apple and blueberry crisp; chocolate praline bombe … the list goes on!

“We do a lot of weddings and family milestones, including reunions,” points out Ms. Kelly. “Families are often so spread out now that these are the only times they can get together. They want these events to be really special, happy celebrations.”

Such celebrations are frequently at home, she adds. “It’s more relaxed. No pressure to hurry to leave a restaurant, and again, we can provide everything for the client, including a tent.”

“We really enjoy being part of these life celebrations,” she continues. “You’re participating in an important day in people’s lives. We can help them enjoy the day by letting them delegate all the worry to us!

“I am looking forward to spring and summer, with Mother’s Day and graduations,” she adds. “And we’ll have more outdoor events and some beach settings.”

Time Frames

Ms. Kelly notes that Provence Catering can work within a variety of time frames; typically two to four weeks is desirable for a corporate event, and for a wedding, once the venue is chosen, the caterer is also usually chosen. “So, we usually have plenty of time,” she reports. “We can also even handle a next day lunch, as long as people know it will be ‘chef’s choice’!

“We are also able to work within people’s budgets. Regardless of their means, everyone has a budget.”

In areas outside of Princeton, Provence Catering has provided catering for such clients as the University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School of Business, Swarthmore College, Naval War College, Boy Scouts of America, Colgate-Palmolive, Siemens, Tyco, and Patton-Bogs, among many others.

Another service offered is cooking classes in the Provence Catering commissary for four to six people typically and for bridal parties.

Ms. Kelly can be reached at (609) 651-1786. Email: Website:

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