Simone Grandmain: Mi concina, su concina
When I first met Lisa Tenorio, owner of North Tahoe Catering (northtahoecatering.com), she was assembling a platter of gourmet sandwiches while a co-worker was preparing what appeared to be a platter of vegetables, ready for roasting.
“Healthy snacks,” she explained, “for on-board one of my client’s family jets.”
While not all of Tenorio’s clients have planes, her business and other catering companies in the Truckee-Tahoe area have certainly taken flight due, in part, to the popularity of the airbnb genre.
Once upon a time, hotels were the only game in town for our visitors, meaning restaurants were the logical choice for dining. (Ever try to feed family of four from a hotel room microwave? Don’t.) Now short-term rental homes with full kitchens are a popular choice for Truckee-Tahoe vacationers and dining-in is on the up-swing. These days, if you are a gourmand who wants to know what’s happening in the Sierra food scene — talk to the caterers. These folks do more than just deliver the goods. Their services run the gamut of on-site personal chefs, to daily prepared menus, to serving staff for family gatherings, to all of the above.
The late great Chef Chris Banovich began North Tahoe Catering more than 20 years ago and Tenorio, who worked with Chef Chris, purchased the company shortly before his death last year. Her background in event planning made her invaluable to North Tahoe Catering then — and now.
“I am not a chef, I’d like to emphasize that. I handle the planning, the scheduling, the details so our chefs can be free to do what they do best — create wonderful food. It’s important that the process from beginning to end is seamless.”
Holly Verbeck, owner of HeyChef!, a private chef and kitchen staffing dining service (heychef.com), concurs. “Yes, the number of clients who come to us who are not homeowners, but who are home renters, is large – always has been. Vacationing in a hotel means going out or eating snack-type items from a cooler, whereas vacationing in a home means planning out meals and menus for everyone, and then coordinating shopping. Home feels more like home when it is not a hotel. And when the kitchen gets used. This requires that you put in more time at the front end to ensure you get to enjoy your vacation AND your food. Or you need to engage the qualified and efficient help of a local shopper/chef service to make your life easier.”
For more than 20 years HeyChef! Has been doing just that.
It is no wonder, with more and more Truckee-Tahoe visitors booking short-term vacation rentals that Truckee’s new Kitchen Collab (kitchencollab.com) is a happy, busy place. This 2,000-square foot chef’s dream of a kitchen (make that several kitchens) is utilized by local caterers and restauranteurs 24 hours-a-day to keep up with the demand of home-dwelling guests to the Sierra. It also boasts a room for tasting dinners and a larger room for pop up dinners hosted by, among others, The Tahoe Food Hub and Slow Food, with an emphasis on farm to table.
Those in Truckee-Tahoe’s restaurant and catering industry predict they will be setting up shop and preparing masterpieces in the privacy of our vacationer’s homes for the long haul. I ask Tenorio if there is a new food trend North Tahoe Catering is focusing on. “I’m researching Keto,” she says with a laugh.
Again, by popular demand and served in the comfort of your vacation rental home.
Simone Grandmain lives in Truckee.