When it comes to raising the bar in creative food experiences, Catering By Design has been a leader for years. Owner Ingrid Nagy, CSEP has served as ILEA Denver president and continues serving the event professional community with ILEA at an international level. Her team visited the stage multiple times last June at our annual IDEAS award gala, they make a splash at Catersource, and most recently were awarded the 2014 Caterer of the Year by ICA (International Caterers Association).
We asked marketing manager Kristi Duce to share some history and insight this week as we spotlight a company that defines the very values of creativity and innovation ILEA embraces, a company that defines the standard of excellence in Denver events. Grab your latte, enjoy, and prepare to be inspired!
Tell us a little about Catering By Design, highlighting its inception and more recent evolution as part of Four Five One Events.
Catering by Design got its start 19 years ago as Paul’s Catering, which made its official debut in 1996 when the owners, Al Marcove and Dave Sixta, hired Ruth Carney as Director of Operations, Ingrid Nagy as Director of Sales, and Cade Nagy as Executive Chef. Catering by Design grew from its humble beginnings as a division of Paul’s Place restaurants into a full service catering firm, serving hundreds of thousands of meals annually to some of Colorado’s most respected companies and individuals.
In October of 2002 the company changed ownership. Al Marcove decided it was time to get out of the food business, and sold the company to his managers of the catering firm: Dave Sixta, Cade and Ingrid Nagy and Ruth Carney. In July of 2004, Cade, Ingrid & Ruth purchased the shares of Dave Sixta. Then in October of 2004, the three partners decided to change the name to Catering by Design. With the name change, the partners vowed to continue providing a great service to their customers and to adopt the mantra “Bringing your culinary ideas to life, every season, and every occasion”. Then in 2005, Cade & Ingrid purchased the shares of Ruth Carney, and now are the sole owners of Catering by Design.
In order to achieve the goals of expansion of the company, Cade & Ingrid realized that they needed to have a bigger “home” for their catering operation. Therefore, in 2006, they purchased and renovated a 32,000 square foot warehouse and turned it into a show kitchen and offices, with ample warehouse space to accommodate their growth potential. In October of 2007, to celebrate their new home, they threw a whopper of a party to thank their clients and vendor partners for years of partnership. This event, dubbed “Raising the Bar”, was the event of all events in 2007, and has since won numerous awards including “Best Event for a Signature Caterer” and Best Décor”, as well as a finalist in several other award categories.
In 2009, as we discovered the needs of the condition of the market, we created a new brand Denver’s Picnic Company. This is our more casual sister brand, intended to meet the demands for an economical option for our corporate picnic clients. We realize that the perception of Catering by Design may be higher end, thus alienating the simple picnic events. The picnic division will continue to serve our clients with the quality of service and homemade menu items that they are accustomed to, but under the division of Denver’s Picnic Company.
In 2010, with a growing warehouse of event furnishings and custom designs, it was time to create yet another brand – By Design Event Décor. This brand allows us to continue to provide clients with our award-winning style regardless of our involvement of the catering. By Design Event Décor is committed to providing a unique and spectacular take on event design for occasions of all types and sizes. From small private wedding settings to impressive corporate conventions and retreats, we are well equipped to design and service any and all event concepts. We specialize in unique and original event furnishings that are truly ahead of the event design curve, with amazing value at that! Completely unique to our market, we employ our own group of master craftsmen in our own workshop to both design and build any new furnishing or event set pieces to make your event a real success.
Who is Four Five One Events?
With now 3 brands, there was a need for an umbrella company to identify us as one united front. When Cade and Ingrid started this journey, they were operating out of a tiny unit on 451 West Gerard Avenue. It was definitely not ideal, but it was here that the drive to develop into something different was fueled. Today that something is Four Five One™ Events and our family brands: Catering by Design, By Design Event Décor, and Denver’s Picnic Company. Each brand offers a set of unique services that are interconnected, but growing more independent every day. As we continue to morph and evolve, our vision to be recognized as the go-to company for every noteworthy event stays in focus. In fact, it’s very clear. And to support our vision, we’re shaping a business where creativity is our constant and imagination is free to challenge the norm.
Our Calling … To be constantly creative and to re-imagine your experience
Our Core Values … Quality, Professionalism, Innovation, Profitability, Service
What differentiates Catering by Design from other caterers in the area?
We only offer full service catering (no drop-offs) and fully cook on-site, guaranteeing clients the best quality every time! We also own all of our cooking equipment and the cost to “bring the restaurant to you” is included in our services.
What advice would you give a bride or groom when searching for a caterer?
Talk to the caterer. Really tell them your likes, dislikes and expectations. Many brides and grooms will send every caterer the same email with the date, time, location, guest count and budget. Standard, boring and basic details typically result in a standard, boring and basic proposal.
A client that trusts Catering by Design to do what Catering by Design does best. When we are asked to replicate a dish from a favorite restaurant or one of grandmother’s recipes – we will never be able to replicate that. Ask us what we do best and allow us to ‘wow’ you and your guests with those items.
Do you have any hidden talents?
Our Chef is also an amazing photographer and takes all of the photos on our website. We also have a full-time carpenter on staff, as well as a mixologist. And Chef’s signature dish is the Pecan Smoked Salmon with Forest Mushroom Cream Sauce. It is a must-try!
Thank you so much to Kristi Duce, Marketing Manager at Four Five One Events for contributing these insightful answers and for allowing us to spotlight one of Denver’s very best catering and decor companies!