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:
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!
Our 2017 season began like most others - a well-rested crew starting off with a long list of enthusiastic goals for what would be our busiest season to date. One of those goals, which we carried over from basically every season before that, was to have zero waste. Yes, I said it. Zero. Waste.
You’re probably wondering, how in the world does a catering kitchen manage that feat?
First, we nominated a Zero Waste Ambassador who started weighing out our compost each day so we’d have an eye-catching tally to report at the end of the season. But with all our good intentions, things got away from us and we had to focus our energy more on creating delicious cuisine and magical events than on ensuring our zero waste initiatives were met.
That’s not to say some great progress wasn’t made, however. We’ve always had a robust composting and recycling program, both of which have improved year over year in the nine years we’ve been in business. Our neighbor’s farm benefitted from the tons of compost we saved from the trash that fed his gardens and we had long since replaced Styrofoam and other similar products with biodegradable and compostable alternatives.
As such, our momentum last season propelled us into 2018 with great ambition. To top it off, we were invited to join a local group of food businesses on and around MDI who had similar goals in mind - namely to reduce food and other waste produced by businesses like ours. So, we joined the Sustainable Business Pledge and we haven’t looked back. As a participant in the pledge program, we promise to:
We’ve made huge progress thanks to this pledge, and one of our biggest achievements has been with regards to trash. We’ve reduced our trash output exponentially - going from several large bins to one small bin for the ENTIRE kitchen.
We’re excited to see where this all leads to next and we know one thing for sure, the local pigs are super happy with all our food scraps.
Mandy Fountaine is the owner of Bar Harbor Catering Company, lifelong Mainer, and lover of all things food and travel related.
Bar Harbor Catering Company staff embarked on an oyster shucking adventure last night with a class at Bar Harbor Oyster Company (BHOC) where Mount Desert Island (MDI) natives and BHOC founders, Joanna and Jesse Fogg, put on a quite a show, from start to finish.
As we approached the side yard where the class was taking place, a fire crackled in the outdoor chimenea, offering a warm welcome, but also, warding off the ever persistent black flies. Bosun, a massive Greater Swiss Mountain dog, boomed hellos as he proudly showed off a bone he was carrying around like a trophy, stopping every so often for a neck or head scratch. We milled about, introducing ourselves to those we didn't know, and then settled in at tables set up along the deck, anxiously awaiting the moment when we'd dig into some oysters.
For me, this class was a big deal. And, not because I hadn't shucked oysters since my days working on the Olde Port Mariner Fleet in Portland, Maine. No, it was because I hadn't eaten an oyster in more than 20 years and tonight I was going to try to let go of the judgment that I've held onto for so long of these little mollusks. Not only would I shuck, but I would also eat an oyster. And, maybe more than one.
BHOC specializes in Bar Harbor Blondes, which spend three years growing on their 22-acre farm at the mouth of Mt Desert Narrows. This farm is very close to one of MDI's biggest saltwater marshes and the cocktail of warm, cold, fresh, and salt water creates the perfect conditions for abundant phytoplankton to thrive, one of the Blondes' favorite things to snack on.
You might be thinking, "What does an oyster farm look like?" For BHOC, their farm consists of moored floating cages that are similar to a lobster trap in construction. Water at the surface is warmer, and the plankton more plentiful, which allows the oysters to filter feed and grow. To aid in the growth process, Joanna and Jesse regularly flip the cages to expose the oysters to the sun and a bit of a drying out phase. This ensures that the shells are bleached, and doesn't, as I thought, mean the oysters are dying a slow death. Apparently, oysters are very resilient, and this drying process doesn't negatively affect them. More importantly, though, this process ensures that all the gear and the oysters are clean from bio-fouling. After 24 hours, the cages are returned to the water and back to their feeding positions.
When winter really sinks its teeth in at the end of December, BHOC drops all the oysters and their cages to the ocean floor. The cold water has an important job in the growth of the oyster - it prevents the shell from growing but it continues to develop and enhance the flavor and texture of the oysters.
The cold weather is also important when it comes to shucking. Not only do the winter months help produce a lovely, well-manicured oyster, but it also makes the shell exceptionally strong, which in turn, makes it easy to shuck. And, what's hidden inside is something that, up until yesterday, I always thought was rather appalling. In reality, it's the perfect morsel of delicious, briny, salty meat. And, when you add a couple of additional accents, like mignonette sauce or lemon or garlic, you won't be able to stop yourself. No, seriously. I ate at least 20 of them, and I feel absolutely no shame.
I'm by no means an expert shucker (yet), but I think I did well, as did the rest of the BHCC staff. We had a fun night, met some new friends, and ate A LOT of oysters. My favorite: when Joanna put the oysters on the grill with a little manchego cheese and an herb pesto.
The best part? They sell their oysters out of their garage - by reservation or on an honor system. And, you'll definitely be on your honor if you have Bosun reminding you that there's someone watching.
Heather Anderson is our new Creative Director & Event Planner. She loves Maine, writing, photography, a good outdoor party, and now, oysters.