20 Questions with Naturally Delicious

Naturally Delicious approaches every event with creativity and meticulous attention to detail. Since founding Naturally Delicious in 1997, chef and owner Loren Michelle has built a team of chefs and event planners who are passionate about serving great food and creating memorable moments.  ND takes pride in customizing every detail to their clients’ taste and budget and producing parties where their clients feel as relaxed as their guests. Naturally Delicious caters weddings, mitzvahs, non-profit and corporate events off premises and hosts chef table dinners and private social events in their Private Dining Room, Wine Tasting Room and Garden.

Photo Credit    Katie Osgood

Photo Credit Katie Osgood

Loren Michelle, Owner

Loren Michelle, Owner

How did you get started in weddings?
Naturally Delicious started catering weddings more than 20 years ago. We started locally, planning weddings in Prospect Park at the Picnic House, The Boat House & The Beaux Arts Tennis House and hosting small intimate weddings mostly in Brownstone Brooklyn.  

Our wedding business has grown since 1997 due to the positive experience/reviews and word of mouth from our happy clients. We now cater weddings all over the tri-state area in every venue imaginable, from industrial warehouses, lofts, museums, tented gardens and wineries to upstate farms and beach locations.

What’s your favorite thing about working in the industry? What’s the most challenging?
My favorite thing about working in the industry is creating new and unique event experiences.  Even if events take place in repeated venues over time, each one has some sort of different twist. At ND, we love to collaborate with other vendors especially event planners. Everyone brings something to the table and we’re inspired by creating partnerships with so many talented industry professionals. We also love getting to know our clients and helping them plan the perfect menu that reflects them as a couple and or organization.  Whether it’s creating a fun play on an event theme, reimagining a couple’s favorite meal or creating a menu that represents the clients’ essence, it’s all very gratifying to me.

What's most challenging about the event  industry is helping clients understand how much an event really costs and what amazing value we bring to the table with all of the services that we provide.  When my team and I speak with clients about their events we help and guide them to understand the different options and all of the financial choices; ex what’s the difference between a plated vs. family-style dinner. In addition to educating them on catering costs we also help them understand what to expect for their entire event; including venue planning, floral, photography, music and invitation costs. We guide our clients to “spend smart”, focusing on the details that matter most to them. Usually after speaking with our team, our clients feel relieved and excited about all the possibilities.

Photo Credit    Katie Osgood

Photo Credit Katie Osgood


Favorite thing about catering an event at the Green Building?

I love the rustic industrial charm of the main space of the Green Building, plus its hidden speakeasy and urban garden.  The style of the space works as a great canvas for us to envision design ideas with our clients. I love recommending the Green Building for a venue to clients who have a keen eye for design because it offers so many layout & design possibilities.  It’s also great having the option to incorporate the custom-crafted farm tables into the design of a communal family-style wedding.
— Heather Levine, Naturally Delicious Wedding Planner & Event Producer

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What inspires you to come up with your menu ideas?
I do a lot of traveling and I am most inspired by what I find in the local markets. Whether it’s the “souk” in Tel Aviv, the Marche in Paris, La Boqueria Food Market in Barcelona or locally at the Grand Army Plaza farmers’ market.  I also love exploring and finding hidden ethnic restaurants who serve really great homestyle food. - Loren


Photo Credit    Max Flatow

Photo Credit Max Flatow

Melissa King; Director of Sales & Events

Melissa King; Director of Sales & Events

What are some of your clients’ favorite dishes?

Our food is all about being seasonal.  For the fall and winter months our clients love our “72 hour” red-wine braised short ribs, creamy parmesan polenta and shaved kale and brussel sprout salad with currants and pepitas.  In the spring and summer a go-to favorite is our watermelon, feta and heirloom tomato salad and our saffron risotto cakes with local market greens. The risotto cakes are delicious, gluten-free & vegan so they appeal to everyone.  Our signature grilled seasonal green market vegetables with balsamic glaze are the exclamation point on almost every menu we cater. - Melissa King; Director of Sales & Events

How would you describe the food your company serves?

At Naturally Delicious we create approachable elegant food.  We love focusing our food around the seasons and customizing our menus to suit every client’s vision.  We’re inspired by re-inventing the classics and incorporating a modern twist. - Loren

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

I think we are going to see even more creative plant-based (vegan) composed dishes on menus everywhere.  Also beverages and desserts infused with CBD. - Jacob Heger, Sales Account Manager

 


What’s your favorite food?

I love really fresh oysters, rustic artisanal breads and really good homemade butter with Maldon sea salt. - Loren


What are your favorite local ingredients to work with?

Parsnips, Cauliflower & Kabocha Squash - Loren   


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

I am really into Gregory Marchand, who created Frenchie in Paris.  I love his approach to food, menu inspiration and how really simple yet elegant and complex the food is. I love how he also incorporates just 3-4 ingredients into each dish. I ate at Frenchie the last time I was in Paris and I was blown away. - Loren




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Photo Credit    Moss & Isaac

Photo Credit Moss & Isaac

Questions you should ask when you are interviewing a caterer for your wedding, according to Jacob:

  • Can you custom design a menu for us that reflects us as a couple?

  • What are all of the services that you provide?

  • Do provide day-of wedding planning coordination services?

  • Have you worked at the venue where my wedding is before?

  • Can you tell me some ways to create a non-traditional wedding experience?

  • Do you offer vegetarian, gluten free and vegan menu options for my guests?

  • What do you do with any leftover food? Do you donate it? What non-profit organizations do you support?

Photo Credit    Lyndsay Wynn

Photo Credit Lyndsay Wynn

Photo Credit    Katie Osgood

Photo Credit Katie Osgood

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

We guide couples to select what they love to eat. Our philosophy is to inspire our clients to take their guests on their own culinary journey. We encourage our clients to make their menu choices about who they are as a couple. We support them and recommend that they don’t start from a place of trying to please everyone, but rather focus on their own individual tastes. - Loren

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

Definitely Mexico City! - Loren

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

New York City and Brooklyn has such a strong culinary food scene with inspiration in every neighborhood. The ethnic fusion of foods, markets and great restaurants create so much inspiration and possibility are all the reasons why living and working in Brooklyn is so inspiring to me as a chef.  - Loren

 

What do you listen to when you're cooking?

Favorite cocktail?

Mezcal Grapefruit Gimlet - Loren

Favorite spot to dine in Gowanus?

 
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On your day off, what are you likely doing?

Sailing in the Long Island Sound with my Husband Herve and or doing yoga and or planning dinner parties with friends.  - Loren

 

Tell us about one life-changing meal…

El Cellar de can Rocco in Girona, Spain. It was an epic 12 course meal at one of the most famous 3-star Michelin restaurants in the world. Every course was creative, inspiring and the food was absolutely perfect. I dined at this restaurant with my son Pablo at the time who was 12 years old; after lunch we explored the ancient village of Girona and headed back to Barcelona by train.  - Loren

Photo Credit    Moss & Isaac

Photo Credit Moss & Isaac


“Pull up a chair. Take a taste. Come join us. Life is so endlessly delicious.”
— Ruth Reichl