Chowgirls Cook Killer Meal at Perspectives' Cooking with the Stars
Heidi Andermack of Chowgirls Killer Catering, along with partner Amy Lynn Brown, taught Perspectives guests how to create a summer party menu.
When Heidi Andermack and Amy Lynn Brown went through the exercise of naming their new catering business in 2004, they came up with a few variations on the theme—Ciao Baby, ChowChicks—before settling on its memorable moniker, Chowgirls Killer Catering.
“We used to have a cowgirl theme, but we outgrew it,” Andermack said. The duo, located in the Solar Arts building in Northeast Minneapolis, has a long list of accolades, including the first Outstanding Caterer award from the Charlie Awards.
Week 5 of Perspective’s fundraiser, Cooking with the Stars, presented a lesson on a party menu that could also be downsized for a summer meal. The menu included:
- Heirloom Gazpacho;
- Summer Squash & Cambozola Bruschetta;
- Baby Kale & Roasted Blueberry Salad;
- Sweet Corn Risotto with Shrimp;
- Sautéed Peaches with Rosemary Honey & Ricotta.
Once the willing-and-able participants finished preparing their meal, they sat down at the tables normally occupied by the youngsters who are learning to cook and eat nutritiously at the Kids Café, a program of Perspectives that provides shelter and social services to women in transition.
As the dishes were being cleared and washed, Andermack and Brown answered questions.
“Why catering rather than opening a restaurant?” one man asked.
“Fear,” answered Andermack. “What if you go to all this trouble and no one came? With catering, we knew what we were preparing for.”
The business that started with just the two of them and low overhead is now a thriving catering firm, where they invest in their people, offering PTO (personal time off) and two free massages “since their on their feet.” “We don’t have a lot of turnover,” Brown added.
When asked what they’re last meal would be, Brown replied, “surf and turf, something that can’t be screwed up.” Because after all, what a bummer if your last meal was burned or overcooked.
How do they come up with their recipes?
They develop their own recipes and change menus quarterly, Andermack said, deciding what to take off and leave on based on the what’s on trend and what’s seasonal.
Their advice for catering your own party was to start seven days before the event and do something little every day. “Put your friends to work,” Andermack suggested.
But throwing a party is hard even for professionals.
“I can do this all day long,” Brown says, about cooking for strangers. “But when I throw a party, I’m a hot mess.”
|Amy Lynn Brown of Chowgirls gets the
ingredients ready for guest chefs to assemble.
|At a catering event, the chilled gazpacho is
served in canning jars for a more festive touch.
|Grayden Snyder, son of perspectives board
member, Tiffany Snyder, is an active participant at the cooking series.