20 Questions with Holly Sheppard of Fig & Pig Catering

With over 15 years of catering and restaurant experience, Culinary iInstitute of America graduate chef Holly Sheppard founded Fig & Pig Catering in 2012 to provide clients with accessible and delicious food, using the best possible ingredients. To this day, Fig & Pig continues to be a creative, quality-driven catering company devoted to showcasing seasonal ingredients and producing, exceptional, food-focused events.

Photo Credit Chaz Cruz

Photo Credit Chaz Cruz

Holly Sheppard, Chef & Owner

Holly Sheppard, Chef & Owner

How did you get started in weddings?
I knew I wanted to be involved in weddings but wasn’t sure how to break into them. I decided to cater my friends wedding at cost as a favor. As she would say, she “had champagne taste on a beer can budget!”  We executed that wedding and even ended up in a couple of magazine editorials. From there I grew…

What’s your favorite thing about working in the industry? What’s the most challenging?
I love how weddings bring the most important people in your life together to one place. Cooking for all the special people in a couple’s life is one of the most beautiful things. I especially love recreating their food memories, their heritage, or just their favorite foods.  The most challenging aspect would be the timing of serve-out to land perfectly around the timeline and speeches.


Favorite thing about catering an event at the Green Building?

The staff is always organized and helpful. That is surprisingly hard to find in event spaces in NYC. It’s a well oiled machine. It was also the first venue to believe in me 6 years ago when I started Fig and Pig. It will always have a special place in my heart because in some ways I owe a lot of my growth and success to them.

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What inspires you to come up with your menu ideas?
I often go out to dinner to try new things and also rely closely on my clients to give me insight to their heritage or favorite meals. I love being challenged with new cuisines or trying to recreate a meal someone describes to you.


Photo Credit       Amber Gress

Photo Credit Amber Gress

Photo Credit Chaz Cruz

Photo Credit Chaz Cruz

 

What’s your favorite food?

I love to eat Italian with a beautiful glass of wine. I also could eat tacos every single day.


What are your favorite local ingredients to work with?

Delicata Squash and brussels sprouts are probably the two vegetables I get most giddy about when they are in season. Tomato season is always just perfect. When asparagus makes its first appearance we’re reminded there is more to life than squash and potatoes and it denotes the beginning of Summer’s bounty.


Is there a chef you admire the most? Who and why?

I admire many chefs but Dominique Crenn has always stood out to me. Her food is a work of art on many levels. Each menu is a poem.

What are some of your clients’ favorite dishes?

Braised Short Ribs, Vietnamese Grilled Steak, Jasmine Rice Pilaf, Curry, Roasted Arctic Char and sauce verte.

How would you describe the food your company serves?

Refined Rustic. Our dishes may often be a familiar family favorite that is executed with modern method, technique, and purpose.

What are some of the food & beverage trends you're predicting in 2019? What do you do to stay current on trends?

I think cocktails will be elevated to a higher level in the wedding industry. As for food trends, I think healthy, clean menus will be seen more.

 
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Questions you should ask when you are interviewing a caterer for your wedding:

  • How many weddings do you do in a day? A weekend?

  • Where do you get your front of house staff?

  • Do you have any fees not shown on the estimate?  

  • What is the Chef’s background?

  • How many years have you been in business?

  • What sets you apart from other caterers?

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Photo Credit    Katie Osgood

Photo Credit Katie Osgood


Click image to read “The Ferocious Cooking of Fig & Pig” in Popular Mechanics


Any tips for couples on how to develop a wedding menu?

Go with what YOU love as a couple. For example; food memories, cultural backgrounds, favorite meals. Remember this is your day and wedding food doesn’t have to be boring.  Try and make your menu cohesive. If you mix Italian food with Vietnamese food it can work but it needs to be thoughtfully curated to make sense as a whole menu.

If you had one weekend to travel anywhere, which city would you dine in?

Mexico City, Mexico; Hanoi, Vietnam; Barcelona, Spain

How does living and working in Brooklyn affect you as a chef?   

It keeps me sane. I just love this borough.


What do you listen to when you're cooking?

I love Lucinda Williams, Fleetwood Mac, Pink Floyd, Garth Brooks, The National.

Favorite cocktail?

Depends on the weather but an Old fashioned, a margarita, or a French 75.

Favorite spot to dine in Gowanus?

Two Toms. It’s old school Gowanus. An institution.

 
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On your day off, what are you likely doing?

Hanging upstate with my best friend and dog Sully.  We sit by the fire, entertain friends, hike, draw, and of course cook!

Tell us about one life-changing meal…

The entire country of Vietnam changed my life on a culinary level. I had never been around such beautiful food with so much depth. It was a Chef’s dream and it changed the way I cook to this day. Everyone should visit that beautiful place.

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