Florida Keys Business
Sunday, July 14, 2013
Moveable feasts
Formals or flip flops, Chef David Fuhrman creates Great Events by catering to the clients

Whether meeting with brides, business planners or birthday celebrants, the owners of Great Events Catering want to make the party planning experience as "unintimidating as possible." The company's storefront on Truman Avenue is decorated simply in a casually welcoming style that doesn't overwhelm people with possibilities of silverware, chair styles, table dressings or three different kinds of wine goblets.

The meeting room has a colorful Balinese table, where David Fuhrman, the chef of the operation, presents tastings for his clients.

Fuhrman and his wife Julie Shreck bought the longtime catering company exactly a year ago, and although Shreck also owns Simply You Weddings in town, Great Events gives every event the same attention to detail and always delivers exactly what the client wants -- not what the caterer thinks is "in."

"I'm very client-specific," said Fuhrman. "And I'm the first to tell someone that we're not for everybody. I rely very heavily on food stations and small plates as opposed to formal sit-down dinners or buffets."

Fuhrman and his staff also set up on-site kitchens at most event venues rather than cooking the food in the catering kitchen on Truman Avenue and "hot boxing" it to the site.

"So many things can go wrong or be delayed at events," he said. "If everything is already cooked, then it's not going to be perfect if the bride or birthday celebrant is a half hour late, or if the venue has to move inside for rain. I'd rather cook most things on site so it comes out hot and fresh as soon as it's supposed to."

No request is too simple or involved for Fuhrman, whose chef career has taken him from Nantucket, where he and Shreck worked at the same resort, to the end of the road at Key West.

Some catering chefs may cringe at a client's request for pigs in blankets as appetizers. Not Fuhrman.

"I'm happy to do whatever the client wants, and I love taking traditional items and reworking them, so my pigs in blankets may be made with chorizo, but it's something everyone will enjoy," he said.

"We focus specifically on the food for an event," Shreck said. "We don't muddy the waters with decisions about linen colors, flowers on the tables or colored napkins. We provide silverware, plates and black or white linens. And for weddings, we highly recommend that brides, especially out of town brides, work with a local wedding planner."

But she emphasized that it doesn't have to be Simply You Weddings.

"We work with all planners all the time," Shreck said, "But I've owned the planning business for five years, and I planned the wedding of Dan Buteau's daughter; he was then the owner of Great Events," Shreck said. "He knew Dave was a chef and the situation begged the question of why we didn't also have a catering company."

So when Dan wanted to sell Great Events a year ago, we took the plunge," she said.

A year later, things are going strong.

Despite Shreck's involvement with weddings, Fuhrman ensures that his other non-bride clients don't feel like an afterthought, so he works one on one with every client to make sure every event is a Great Event.

mmiles@keysnews.com

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