Thursday, January 31, 2008

Tastebuds of Naples Catering

Chef Greg Shapiro and his Personally Hand Carved Edible Handiwork Luscious Closeup
Salmon and Cucumber Rolls, Tuna Tartare, Edible Orchid, Rosemary
Tastebuds of Naples has closed the restaurant portion of their enterprise to concentrate on the more successful catering branch. A similar path was followed by Bonita's Danny Mellman in 2007.
Tastebud's BBQ favorites are still being served, especially the tender pulled pork. What's nice about Tastebuds catering is that Chef/Owner Greg Shapiro takes the time to find out and create what the client enjoys. This is a rather novel idea in Naples, where many caterers just produce a list of items, the per-piece price, and you select. Not bad, however, if you are fortunate to attend a few catered events in the season, you can both quickly identify a caterer, merely from being served the same tired "signature" appetizers that that caterer is so proud of. Soon diners just get tired of being served the same caterer's signature dishes, year after year. Ugh.

Cheese, Grapes and Wine

Other caterers are content to buy frozen bulk Sysco or Costco-type appetizers, defrost and serve them-not a bad deal for the caterer for the money, not great taste treat either, with the all-too-common "just defrosted" signature- cool to frozen interiors, and hot exteriors.Lazy caterers have soggy crostini or toast, dampened from the toppings. Then there are the caterers like Tastebuds, who create and cook everything from scratch, and the crispness and freshness are a welcome delight.

Diana Shapiro and Chef/Son Greg Shapiro
Pulled Pork Sandwiches (Wow!), Roast Beef, and Tuna Tatare
A Cornucopia
How did this topic get started? Tonight I stopped by the grand opening of Clay Cox's "Kitchen Designs by Clay" on Airport and Vanderbilt (435-0995), .and tasted the 12 year old Cheddar, the marinated Mozzarella balls with organo and EVOO, 5 other cheeses, sampled the flawless fresh fruit and smiled at Chef Shapiro's hand carved fish from watermelon, and chatted with Joe Travis co-owner of Tastebuds. I and others quickly realized this was not a "typical" caterer. Nor would Clay, one of the top custom kitchen professionals in the area, select just a "good" caterer-only a top caterer would do.
Homemade Chocolate Truffles and Fresh Strawberries
Tastebuds- Heather & Greg Shapiro, Diana Shapiro, Joe Travis

Tastebuds of Naples 239-774- FOOD (3663)


SteamyKitchen said...

hungry after reading this post!

Ivan Seligman said...

We can't wait for you to have a cooking class down in Naples!