Posts in Catering
DIY 4TH OF JULY BACKYARD PARTY
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Lightning bugs, fields of lupine, and the smell of cooking on the grill can only mean one thing: it’s officially summer. And, after the spring we’ve had in Bar Harbor, we’re more than ready for sitting outside with some good food, great friends, and tasty drinks. What better time to do all of these things than with a fun, DIY 4th of July alfresco dinner on Mount Desert Island?

Whether you say 4th of July or July 4th, we’ve got a few ideas as to how you can throw a fairly simple yet fabulous backyard party. And, because we’re in good company with others who are also always in the mood to eat, we enlisted the help of a few BHCC employees and friends to show off their red, white, and blue spirit.

Executive Chef Matt Leddy and his wife, Meg (who is also our Operations Manager & Creative Assistant) played hosts and put together an afternoon of celebrating that had the perfect balance of simple and flair. And, it wouldn’t have been a summer afternoon in Maine without some wet, moody weather, precisely when you’re lighting the outdoor fire pit.

“Inviting people to your home can always be a little stressful,” Meg revealed when asked about how she and Matt put things together. “One way Matt and I avoid the stress is to break up our to-do lists so that we both have a manageable workload. The day of, I’m able to just focus on the party space – for this, it was the outdoors area - while Matt stays in the kitchen prepping food. He makes his prep list so that when guests arrive, we’re only cooking outside, so he can enjoy the party too.”

An important thing to keep in mind when planning your own backyard bash is to try and create a nice flow to your space. You want it to be easy for guests to help themselves to drinks and snacks while mingling and finding a place to perch while socializing. Matt and Meg had three main “zones”: the fire pit, the dinner table, and the deck. And make sure to look for ways to make your event unique to you. Do you have some funky, mismatched furniture that would make a great outdoor dining area? Not sure about a tablecloth, but you have a bin full of old newspapers that are screaming to be used? That collection of mason jars collecting dust in your basement could be perfect for drinks, sauces, flowers, or even paper straws for the bar. And, those old plates and utensils that are hidden at the back for your hutch could breathe new life into your DIY party.

And, don’t forget about decor. You don’t need to spend a fortune on flowers, plants, or decorations. Nine times out of ten, you can just head outside and take a look around. Do you have any flowers that you could clip or even some greenery or twigs that might look good in a vase? Boom = instant ambiance. Maybe you live in an apartment building where you don’t have access to outside treasures? Hit up your local Target or Reny’s to find some inexpensive but on point decorations.

“I cut some fresh lupines, the unofficial flower of Maine, from our yard and arranged them in a big mason jar and beer growlers from a local brewery,” Meg said. “After adding a few American flags to my potted plants and lupines, I really started to see the yard becoming a party space. I bumped up the kitschy-ness by arranging some cute American-themed sunglasses, beer koozies, and sparklers purchased from Target. Other than some crates we borrowed from BHCC, all the decor came from around our house. With any event, whether it’s a cocktail party for a client at BHCC or a backyard bash at home, I try to create little moments of pretty, Instagram-able spaces that make the event memorable.”

For an easy shopping catchall, don’t forget to check out your local farmers' markets - there’s always so many incredible vendors and menu items at the tips of your fingers! If you’re local, come visit us at the Northeast Harbor Farmers Market on Thursday, July 4th, from 9 am - 12 pm and snag some of our popular house-made sausages, terrine, and pate. And, if you’re not hosting your DIY party until the weekend after the 4th, you can catch us at the Acadia Farmers’ Market in Town Hill on July 5th from 3-6 pm. We’d love to help you celebrate!

 

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RECIPES


Signature Cocktail - I Carried a Watermelon

A blend of agua fresca, rum, and Campari.

For the Agua Fresca

  • 4 cups fresh watermelon

  • 3 cups water

  • 3 tbsp fresh lime juice

  • 1 tbsp sugar

  • 1 ½ cups of white rum

  • ¾ cup campari

Combine watermelon, lime juice, sugar, and 1 ½ cups of water in blender at high speed until smooth. Strain the juice into a large pitcher, add remaining water and stir.

Stop here if you would like a refreshing non-alcoholic beverage.

To the Agua Fresca, add the rum and Campari. Stir and serve!

Matt’s Yogurt and Turmeric Chicken

  • Whole chicken, either spatchcocked or in pieces

  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt

  • ¼ cup turmeric

  • 1 tbsp onion powder

  • 1 tbsp garlic powder

  • 1/8 cup honey

  • ½ cup salt

  • ½ cup blended oil (vegetable oil)

  • ½ cup pepper

  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

Combine ingredients, smear over chicken, and allow to marinate up to 24 hours. Grill chicken until internal temperature at breastbone is 165F. Allow to rest for five minutes before serving.

Maine Lobster Bake

  • Lobsters

  • 5 ears of corn, shucked and cut in half

  • 1 lb of red potatoes

  • Fresh seaweed

Fill your large lobster pot 1/3 of the way with clean ocean water or (very) salty water. Once it comes to a boil, add some fresh seaweed, lobsters, more seaweed, and potatoes and boil for seven minutes. Add the corn and continue to boil for five more minutes. Strain and serve!

 
10 YEARS OF MEMORABLE MOMENTS
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As we enter the 10th year of what’s been a whirlwind ride at Bar Harbor Catering Company, I can’t help but look back in awe at the countless events and milestone moments that have occupied our calendars over the last decade. Most recently, our new sign that marks our new location in Bar Harbor! In honor of turning double digits, I’m sharing my top 10 most memorable moments, in no particular order.

1. Dana and Cassie

Dana and Cassie stand tall in my mind as one of our most memorable early Spring weddings. They say “April showers…”, but this May 2014 wedding was host not only to two of my favorite brides but also to one of our most epic downpours. It rained buckets, but these two fearless females grabbed their rain boots and didn’t let anything stand in their way of holy matrimony and one ruckus good time! Their photographer friend Erica Camille took advantage of the stormy skies and created stunning photos that would never have been possible on a “perfect” sunny day.

2.  Skye and Allen

9/10/11 is a date not easily forgotten and this fall wedding in Trenton was one for the books. Mother Nature gave us gorgeous weather and the decor was on point as Maine Season’s events Megan Gilpatrick worked her magic turning the bride’s family home into a wedding wonderland. The BHCC crew was even able to step in with sunflowers from our gardens when the family’s flowers didn’t bloom in time. We propped them up just in time for delighted squeals from Denise, the matriarch and mother of the bride. As the years have passed, we’ve watched the happy couple, Skye and Allen, turn from newlyweds to parents of twin baby boys and have had the pleasure of their company at a yearly wedding “revisited” private chef event at their home.

3. Lila and Dan

When Lila and Dan wanted to create a carefully curated elementary school inspired event in a local theatre to honor the time when they first met, we were excited to create a menu fit for the theme. We immediately set about to put spins on Lila and Dan’s favorite ‘90s lunchbox classics, (which also happened to be ours)! We started with a BHCC version of Lunchables, with house-made chicken terrine and parmesan crackers, red dragon cheese, and jam. “Tuna on Whitebread”, PB n’ J Tarts with Toasted Fluff, Cherry Milkshakes with Twizzlers Straws, and Malted Milkbread shortbread were all featured. For beverages, our bar manager Nick incorporated the couples’ favorite cocktail flavors to create “Teacher’s Pet” and “Lunch Milk,” served to guests from the venue’s ticket window.

4. Jenna and Steve

Many of our clients have become friends and friends have become clients, but catering your best friend’s wedding AND being in the bridal party isn’t something we experience every day. Our team killed it in the kitchen while I waltzed down the aisle (after an impromptu chorus of “Going the Chapel”) in what is my 4th most memorable moment. The waterfront wedding was a fairy tale fit for a queen and an Avenger (or two).

5. Laura & Brendan

Laura grew up summering on Great Cranberry Island, a small outer island off the coast of Mount Desert Island, and it was host to her and Brendan’s epic summer wedding in 2013. It was the first of what would become many outer island weddings for our company and let’s just say, no events give us as quite as much pride as one of these logistically challenging and undeniably stunning celebrations. Outer island weddings require a careful amount of planning where every detail, down to the last ice cube, must be considered. There are no bridges, so everything including food and people must arrive via barge, mail boat, or water taxi. Our favorite detail, however, had to be the bride killing it in her wedding dress and Bean boots.

6. Maine Coast Heritage Trust

When we were tasked with transforming an unused tennis court into a Rockefeller worthy party, we eagerly accepted the challenge. Using the Asian-inspired gardens as the backdrop, we created edible terrariums, a Cambodian beef station, and house-made waffle cones with pate and pistachios. The end result was a sunny August event complete with a few swoon worthy celebrity sightings.

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7. Sweet Details

Every event has it’s own unique personality that aligns with the vision of the couple getting married or the host. One of my favorite things about events are all the fun, personalized details that go into each and every one. Here’s just a snippet of my favorites!

We ♡ these handmade caramel favors and stamped favor bags by chef & Bride Brook.

We ♡ these handmade caramel favors and stamped favor bags by chef & Bride Brook.

Speaking of couples who make things, Cara and Will built, yes, built, this sailboat for their post-wedding adventures.

Speaking of couples who make things, Cara and Will built, yes, built, this sailboat for their post-wedding adventures.

 
Handmade Flag banners (and aprons!) sewed by the bride, Emily’s, super talented seamstress mother.

Handmade Flag banners (and aprons!) sewed by the bride, Emily’s, super talented seamstress mother.

8. Catersource

Working in the catering industry has afforded us some really amazing experiences, not the least of which is our annual excursions to Catersource. We anxiously await our trips each year to places like NOLA and Las Vegas and revel in the opportunity to immerse ourselves in catering, catering, and nothing but catering for several days straight. When our loved ones back home get tired of our ceaseless catering conversations, our friends at Catersource never tire of it, as they are blessed with the same affliction. We always come back refreshed and ready to take on the next season having learned, eaten, and socialized our way through each conference. We’re also especially proud to have been nominated for a few national awards there, although we jokingly refer to ourselves as the Susan Lucci of Catersource, having left empty-handed thus far.

9. Relationships

This one is not a single date or a moment or even an event, but rather a compilation of bonds and relationships that have been forged in the blank spaces between all of the goings-on: the moments between prep and event and planning and execution, the long hours spent driving and bouncing to our favorite throwback jams in our lovingly worn pick up truck, and the many times we reflect on what we just accomplished, together. These moments, which when strung together form the true identity of who we are as a company, a bunch of weird people who love food and Maine and sharing it with the people who live and visit here.

10. New Digs

No memorable moments compilation would be complete without the mention of our new home at 367 State Highway 3 in Bar Harbor. The purchase and renovation of the former convenience store during the winter of 2017 was tedious and time-consuming but made all the better by our trusted partnership with our favorite builder (and patient human) Jake Johnson, owner of J. Johnson Builders. Jake and his partner (and wife!) Rachel, transformed this once dark and dreary space into the light-filled production kitchen, tasting room, and office space of our dreams (and then some). It has hosted countless tastings, meetings, and is the epicenter of all of our crazy ideas and foodie fantasies, many of which come to life on the plates of diners at one of our many events.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mandy Fountaine is the Owner and Chief Culinary Officer of Bar Harbor Catering Company, lifelong Mainer, and lover of all things food and travel related.

WHAT KIND OF PARTY WILL YOU THROW THIS YEAR?
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We realize it’s only January, but we’re already immersed in summer planning and really loving what’s coming up this year. There are some new trends to be on the lookout for (balloon walls!) and a few not so new ones we hope stick around (all the candles!), and as we begin a new season, we can’t help but think back to some of the standout events from the previous one. We worked a little over 200 events last summer, which adds up to A LOT of wonderfully unique moments. Creative event themes were a big deal last year, and one that stands out as an overall favorite was an epic birthday bash, Viking style.

As huge fans of the TV show The Vikings, our clients wanted to transform their yard into a scene from the hit show, complete with animal pelts, skulls, and lots and lots of fire. They thoroughly enjoy hosting a good party, so needless to say, the bar was set high and we were more than up for the challenge. We delivered the dinner party of their dreams and had a blast doing it.

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Appetizers

  • Charcuterie boards

  • Deviled quail eggs

  • House-made grilled sausage and pepper jelly

  • Char-grilled bruschetta

Family-Style Dinner

  • Roasted chicken, lamb, and ribs cooked over an open fire

  • Charred local carrots with carrot top pistou

Dessert

  • Dutch oven molten chocolate birthday cake

Signature Drink

  • Smashed and smoked wild Maine blueberry margarita

 

Venue: Private residence in Northeast Harbor | Florals: Provided by host | Photography: Bar Harbor Catering Co | Decor: Bar Harbor Catering Co | Event rentals: Wallace Events

WHAT ELSE ARE YOU GETTING WHEN YOU BOOK BAR HARBOR CATERING COMPANY?
Image credit Mark McCall Photography

Image credit Mark McCall Photography

At BHCC, we understand the important role food plays in the success of each event and each customer’s experience. We make sure to always find local and organic ingredients, along with sustainable poultry and meats, to be able to deliver food that is both restaurant quality and presented creatively. When you think Bar Harbor Catering Company, you surely think of food first, right? Every successful event doesn't just start with great food - it’s the attentiveness to the little details, in-depth logistics, and the realization of your vision coming to life. When you become our client, the kitchen is only the beginning!

So, what else do you get when you book us for your full-service event? We provide our clients with an extensive array of additional benefits that include:

  • Rentals coordination

  • Assistance with the day-of schedule

  • Access to our preferred vendors and venue lists

  • Venue set-up planning and production

  • Site visits

  • Unlimited calls/emails/meetings/menu revisions and reminders throughout the planning process

  • Day-of setup

  • Basic decor for food stations and bar

  • Extensive cleanup (including trash and bottle/can removal)

  • Free use of our tabletop catering equipment (platters, serving utensils, bar equipment, coolers) and our refrigerated trailer

Not sure how to juggle the rentals on top of mapping out your schedule? Just pick your patterns and styles and we’ll act as a liaison between you and the rental company, handling any changes and revisions throughout the planning process. We offer seamless integration with the rental company by checking in the rentals before the event and setting them back up for pick up after the event. And, there’s no need to worry about when you’re going to have your first dance or when the salad should be served. We’ll go over every detail with you to make sure your day-of schedule meets your vision and that the day’s activities flow seamlessly. Besides the food, the next most important aspect of an event is its design. We pay careful attention to specific details such as the color and theme of your event, centerpieces, decorations, the flow of traffic through the event and table layout, timing, lighting, and music, and we use all these aspects to guide the food presentation and event planning throughout your event.

Have you ever seen Top Chef Restaurant Wars? That’s basically what we do at every event, no matter the size. We create a fully functioning “restaurant” at your event’s location, serve top-notch food and beverage to you and your guests, and then take it all down (leaving it better than we found it!). And we typically do it all in 12 hours or less!

Whether you’re planning a wedding, a large corporate party, or an intimate birthday bash, we want to help you make it a stress-free and spectacular event. Check out our FAQs for additional information or click the button below and shoot us an email - we'd love to chat more!