10 Questions about Talk of the Town Catering & Events with Chef Dee Dee Williams
1. Tell us about Talk of the Town.
Talk of the Town is a personal chef/catering business that services the greater Jacksonville/St. Augustine area. We have been in business in Jacksonville since 2004 but opened for business since September 1998.
2. Can you tell us about your Personal Chef service?
My Personal Chef services include preparing the meal for an intimate dinner for two, cooking for parties of twelve, to preparing individual meals for anywhere from a week to a month.
3. How is that different from your catering service?
In my view, with catering there is less intimacy due to the larger number of guests involved. With a smaller group typical of a Private Chef event there is more ability to interact with guests and to get feedback.
4. Tell us about your catering business?
We've been catering events of all types and sizes for 14 years now. We've been active in Jacksonville since December 2004. I really enjoy meeting new people through catering. I also enjoy learning new trends in food and preparation, something that continually keeps us fresh while giving us an edge in the culinary field. We have a unique taste and prepare and serve with love and care for our clients. We strive to provide excellent customer service and because we know that people enjoy food we strive to make their experience with us a memorable one. We also enjoy giving back to the community.
5. Can you tell us about your cooking classes?
Sure! Our cooking classes are focused on sharing tips and recipes with those who want to try different ways of preparing and seasoning various types of food. A class syllabus on the meal selection is given and we provide fun facts about the spices and herbs that are being used in the preparation of the meal.
… are they public or private?
They are currently private and scheduled by appointment.
… how many students per class?
Up to 8.
… and where are they held?
At the client's home.
… are they for novices or people looking to kick up their skills?
It is for anyone who wants to know the basics as well as those who want to improve their skills. They may be able to teach me a thing or two. ☺
… do you cover baking, or just cooking?
Both baking and cooking.
6. Back to your overall business. What sort of food do you offer? Do you have specialties?
We offer all types of food. We are very experienced in a broad variety of ethnic cuisines and styles of cooking so there is no one specialty that we focus on.
7. What geographic area do you cover?
Currently I am servicing the greater Jacksonville and St. Augustine areas but I do travel within the states of Florida (Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, Daytona, Tampa & Orlando) and Georgia (St. Mary, Savannah and Atlanta).
8. What's your Birthday Club?
It's a birthday treat you can order for yourself or someone else. We will prepare your choice of a cake, a dozen cupcakes or a dozen cookies for the birthday person. We bake the birthday person's favorite flavor of treat to help make their day a little more special.
9. You have a daily meal offering. Can you tell us about that?
It's personalized meal preparation for busy people, or for people who just want a little help with the cooking. We start by sitting down to discuss what type of food you like to eat and how many meals you want help with. Some people just want dinner made, whereas others want two or three meals a day. For people who have specific dietary requirements this can be a big help because everything's packaged and ready to go for them. And it's tasty, healthy food you'll look forward to, not the bland diet food that many people dread. Depending on what someone wants we can do anywhere from a week to a full month of meals. It's very handy!
10. Can you tell us a little about your background? Where did you learn to cook? How long have you been cooking for?
I was born and raised in Jacksonville. My alma mater is Andrew Jackson Senior High School, graduating class of 1993. I moved away that same year to Fairbanks, Alaska! I resided there for three years and then moved to Atlanta, Georgia where I attended the Art Institute of Atlanta and obtained my AA in Culinary Arts. I have been cooking since I was about 15 or 16. I love experimenting with different herbs and spices. I have recently taken to spicy food which I used to not like but I’ve become accustomed to it. When I cook I cook with love and care. I have a theory that the way that you feel when you are cooking is how your product is going to turn out so that is why I try my best to be in a calm, happy state when it’s time for me to teach a class or prepare for an event.
11. What brought you back to Jacksonville after culinary school?
I didn’t immediately return back home after school as I lived in Atlanta for three years and then moved to Columbus, Georgia for four years and then returned to Jacksonville. But after a long drawn out decision I made the move in 2004 to return to my home town and bring the experience and flavors I acquired over time back home to share with new and old family and friends.
12. You're involved with a program called "Educating our Youth". Can you tell us about it?
Yes, this program is something that is very near and dear to my heart and I hope that it will draw youth from all around the city. It’s basically a tool that can give the young people of today an insight on becoming an adult as well as preparing them for the job market. The other goal is to also share with them the insight of becoming a successful entrepreneur if they would like to. As we can see there are some children and young adults who want to follow in the footsteps of Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg. I’m looking forward to the program being a great success.
...what motivated you to start the program?
My nephew had to work on a project for school and I assisted him with it and it piqued my interest and the idea blossomed into this program being started.
...you teach youth about business skills. Do you also teach them cooking?
Yes that is something I hope to be able to do once a facility has been found to accommodate such a wonderful task. We also would like to have their parents involved as well so that it can be a family affair.
...how has the program being doing?
This is going to be our first initial run of the program and we are in need of sponsors and donations to help get the program fully off the ground but we look forward to this venture to be a continuing affair for the youth of the community.