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March 25, 2024

Global Fare: Catered Locally

"I urge you to travel – as far and as widely as possible. Sleep on floors if you have to. Find out how other people live and eat and cook. Learn from them – wherever you go."
— Anthony Bourdain

When someone mentions international cuisine, what does it evoke? Where does it take you? Imagine a mouthwatering Vietnamese beef and green papaya salad redolent of Chinese five-spice , the comforting simmer of a rich Bouillabaisse with crusty bread, a seared Chilean sea bass in all it's crispy glory or pillowy gnocchi finished with browned butter and aromatic Herbes de Provence. You've just stepped into Executive Chef, Caroline Arend's kitchen. Join us this month as we shift gears for a decidedly personal look at her formative experiences around food, travel and family. We'll see how they laid the foundation for her culinary processes and inspired her catering ethos. She shares her impressions of the culinary regions she finds compelling and outlines how they inspire her team's delicious creations.

Caroline Arend, owner and Executive Chef at Caroline's Fine Food:

"As far back as I can remember, food was a big deal in my family. My parents bonded over food. They literally ate their way through Europe on their honeymoon. My father was posted to Paris in the '60's and he and my mom took the opportunity to attend Le Cordon Bleu as a couple. Some of my earliest memories are of dinner parties for family and friends. They were elaborate, multiple-course affairs: usually French or Italian. Totally over the top by today's standards. Our kitchen was a warehouse of obscure gastronomic gadgets. I will never forget the bustle, the abundance, the hours of prep, the delicious smells, the dedication and the love. I know it sounds hokey, but my concepts of family and community - even of love - are inextricably bound to the cooking and sharing of good food.

It was with my mom, on her weekly forays into the dingy recesses of NYC's Chinatown, that I first encountered truly exotic food (and fell in love). We'd take the train downtown and when we'd get off, it was like stepping into another country. My mother was a determined shopper. She was fearless. A great example. We'd go where no one spoke English and explore, point at things, sample, haggle and buy the unfamiliar. The shops were full of novel scents: earthy, mysterious, spicy, pungent and woodsy. I would admire the orange ducks on hooks, the eggs covered in charcoal nestled in big ceramic jars, alien sea creatures, massive roots and pharmacies full of weird powders, teas and dried mushrooms. I wanted to try everything I saw with the notable exception of the live turtles. I waged an unsuccessful begging campaign to buy them as pets and thus save them. Afterwards, we would always go to the local Dim Sum "palace" where my knowledge and appreciation for the Chinese culinary arts took root and blossomed. Big cities have their downsides but they're great when it comes to familiarizing yourself with foreign cuisines and cultures. I was blessed with the opportunity to travel abroad for an extended time, much of which I spent haunting the restaurants of Italy and France.

I think if you're really interested in food, especially if you want to make it your career, you've got to travel. Just as a writer needs to read, a chef needs to eat - to experience different cuisines and to immerse herself in the culture from which it sprang. It stretches you - rounds you out. It helps you to see things in a way you've never seen them before. It's creatively inspiring! As I worked my way through various restaurants and catering ventures in Boston, the conviction slowly grew that I wanted to bring this world to others - that I should open my own catering shop. I wanted to share my excitement for amazing food and offer my personal spin on some of the world's great cuisines. I knew that corporate and private catering didn't have to be hum-drum or one-size-fits-all. Wedding food doesn't have to be...well, "wedding food". It should be memorable and inspiring but It should also be comforting. It should flood your senses and put a smile on your face. It should be art."

The Four Pillars

"Of course, there are many wonderful cuisines and my team and I draw elements from a variety of cultures when creating our menus. Honorable mentions go to: Spain, Greece, Japan, India and several styles of BBQ across the globe. However, the bedrock of our brand rests on my four go-tos. They tend to be our pillars."


"It's hard to deny that historically the French set the culinary bar in the West and raised cooking to an art form. I'm a believer in the mastery of tried and true techniques and the French, well, they pretty much invented them! My team is Escoffier-trained and we make use of these techniques every day. The French shine when it comes to sauces, pastry, roasts and the use of eggs. When I think classic French, I think Blanquette de Veau, Pate de Choux, a nice Bordeaux, a stellar country pate. Elegant, sublime, comforting."


"Italian food is a delight, chock full of regional surprises. Many of our rotating case offerings are influenced by the interplay of Italian flavors: sunny tomato, crisp basil, extra virgin olive oil, roasted red pepper, rosemary, salt, pepper and garlic. More than any other cuisine, coastal Italian best reflects our brand: unprocessed, clean, flavorful and authentic. Like other aspects of Italian culture, Italian food is joyful - a reflection of the country's personality. When I think of Italy, I think of fresh, clean seafood, sublime homemade pasta, peppery olive oil, lemons, Tiramisu, local sausage, a buttery farmyard Taleggio with a phenomenal Tuscan loaf."


"The Chinese resemble the French in that they set the culinary bar on their continent. Asian cuisines are a creative bonanza. They showcase  flavors that were rarely, if ever used in the  west as well as uniquely eastern cooking techniques. I'm not a fan of "confusion fusion"  which is a trendy mashup of styles and flavor profiles that don't jibe. However,  there are some skillful ways of  incorporating eastern accents in a western dish and vice versa. Some of our appetizers, case offerings, DIY food bars and other menu offerings are influenced by Chinese and Vietnamese dishes. When I think Chinese, I think of earthy, umami, fermented, garlicky and spicy notes. It conjures the unique flavors sesame seed and peanut oils give to food. I think of steamed bok choy, black bean paste and of course, Dim Sum: the tapas of the East!"


"I love the unique prism of Vietnamese flavors!  Vietnamese fare is healthy, light and delicious which dovetails nicely with our style. Some of our favorite influences from the region include: Thai basil, garlic, papaya, ginger, coconut milk, chili oil, fish sauce, lime and curry."

If you would like to explore our delicious international offerings in further detail for your next corporate or private event or if you have any questions about our other menus, you can reach us, here.