From Mac N Cheese and Mexican Food Stations to Zucchini Lemon Soup Shooters and event rentals, there are countless reasons to love K-W’s Little Mushroom Catering
As a fully licensed catering company in Cambridge, Little Mushroom Catering has become a leader in Waterloo Region for innovative and sustainable full service event catering. Using fresh and locally farmed ingredients to make the best from-scratch food, Little Mushroom ensures that they offer something delicious for everyone – including those with dietary restrictions and allergies. That said, they offer more than just delicious, custom wedding menus. Little Mushroom Catering offers event coordination, event rentals, set-up, tear down, bar staff, edible wedding favours, cakes, custom menus, competitive pricing and more.
Staff at The Ring sat down with Elizabeth Allan of Little Mushroom Catering to find out everything an engaged couple would need to know about their catering services.
Thinking big leads to Little Mushroom Catering
Sometimes when one door closes, a new one opens! When the wine bar and restaurant that Stephanie Soulis was managing announced it was closing, she found herself thinking bigger. Combining her passion and experience, Stephanie developed the idea of opening her own catering business… “She didn’t want to go back to being a little fish in the big world of food & beverages,” explains the company’s Event Coordinator, Elizabeth. “So she decided to embark on her own with the goal of doing just a couple of events per month.”
“Little Mushroom was born and began to grow,” says Elizabeth. Stephanie began (in 2010) by catering small lunches, platters for board meetings and hors d’oeuvres for in-home parties. Her reputation began to grow amoung her new clients, especially in the art and tech communities. Stephanie started networking on a daily basis via peer to peer groups, Twitter and even speed networking.
They began taking on weddings and larger events, and soon watched their calendar fill up as their reputation for incredible menu items such as Baked Pear & Brie with Aged Cheddar Mini Grilled Cheese, Apple Plum Chutney & Chevre on Onion Shortbread, Duck & Cranberry Cigarellos, Bacon Wrapped Wild Boar and Chicken Breast stuffed with Proscuitto & Red Pepper.
Now, seven years later, Little Mushroom Catering has done more than their fair share of wedding and event catering. They continue to embrace and find love in this side of the business. Elizabeth says she finds inspiration by listening to couple’s story and who they are together.
“I want couples who meet with Little Mushroom to learn and understand that you don’t have to settle when it comes to your wedding. I enjoy educating and guiding couples, giving them the knowledge and peace of mind that they are searching for in the craziness that is wedding planning,” she says. “Hearing someone say “oh, I feel so much better after meeting you – you know so much about all of this” is the ultimate compliment and it’s what keeps me going with this career,” says Elizabeth.
Ashley Weisel and her finance hired Little Mushroom Catering to provide the food for their backyard wedding. “When we looked at their menu, the food sounded so appetizing and there were so many options to choose from,” she says. “Little Mushroom’s catering style is very classy without being pretentious,” says Ashley. “We loved the station style for dinner – they are able to do this in a way that they serve amazing food without the formality of a sit down dinner.”
Little Mushroom catered Jeremy and Melissa Young’s August wedding in 2016. “Little Mushroom was amazing right from the first meeting,” Melissa admits. She and her fiancé were looking for a catering company that would blow them away with food quality and flavour and Little Mushroom met and exceeded their expectations.
The Little Mushroom Team…
Elizabeth is a WPIC certified coordinator and has assisted with over 220 weddings in the past five years. Her main role is to guide couples through their planning process and help them make educated choices. When on site, Elizabeth’s main job is to direct the staff and her goal is to keep things running smoothly.
Stephanie is the owner and founder of Little Mushroom Catering. She has been involved in the food and beverage industry for twenty years. Stephanie takes care of the marketing & development needs and leadership responsibilities of a continually growing business. She can often be found at community events, visiting with potential suppliers and venues, or managing at events.
Katie Ferguson is the head pastry chef. Alongside her very talented assistant, Elaine, she creates stunning wedding cakes and dessert. She is also the sourcing and purchasing manager, which means she ensures that the ingredients used are local and top quality.
Yvette Shanks is the office administrator and is the first point of contact for potential clients calling or e-mailing the business.
Rachel Medeiros is the head catering chef and is often found on-site at weddings plating meals, working a pasta or carvery station, and also takes care of all of the pre-wedding tastings.
Little Mushroom Catering’s Services…
Little Mushroom Catering is all about offering customization to clients with a focus on attention to details.
“We offer full service event catering for both personal and corporate functions as small as 20 people and up to 1500 people,” says Elizabeth. “Most of our clients are interested in unique and interactive dining experiences where the guests are well taken care of. Many of our clients are also environmental enthusiasts and care about where their food is coming from and how it’s prepared.”
For weddings, Elizabeth admits that Little Mushroom is unlike most catering companies because they don’t provide “packages” to choose from: “Instead, everything is individually priced and customizable so that your wedding truly reflects you,” she says, adding that per person prices can be found on their website, as well as a wedding intake form for clients to fill out. The information is then used by Elizabeth to create a tailored proposal to fit each client’s needs.
“There are so many options out there to make your special day exactly what you dream of,” says Elizabeth. “It’s not about picking A or B, it’s about finding the right vendors who are willing to create your own alphabet.”
According to Elizabeth, the custom dining stations are one of the most popular services that they offer. She explains, “Non-traditional styles of dining offer a more social feel to the event and a ton of flavor,” she says, adding that it’s also easier to accommodate dietary restrictions and allergies with dining stations.
Little Mushroom also offers Nom Nom Treats (customizable cookies that are addictively delicious), mini donut stations, or traditional tiered cakes, which Elizabeth describes as a way for clients to appease older generations by keeping the tradition alive, while still offering out of the box desserts.
“Little Mushroom sets themselves apart from their competition in every way possible,” says Melissa. “They try to use locally sourced fresh foods which is very evident in their flavours and quality of food. They have many options for hors d’oeuvres which are all beautiful and taste amazing! Steph had many great suggestions for us and was able to pick up very quickly on the style of wedding and food we were in search of. It is said that you eat with your eyes first, and Little Mushroom absolutely understands that. All of the food was presented and served in a very appealing and professional fashion.”
Melissa describes Stephanie as a dream to work with. From the initial meeting to tasking to follow up meetings and final touches, Stephanie ensured that the food and service were raved about by Melissa’s guests. “Our wedding was held on a private property without any kitchen or cooking equipment for Little Mushroom to use. Since we wanted to have prime rib on the menu (and prime rib should never be served anything other than medium rare) we wanted to ensure the company we chose had no reservations on being able to accomplish this for us. This was never an issue for Little Mushroom. They worked behind the scenes to ensure our food was cooked properly and served warm for everyone to enjoy,” says Melissa. “We also opted for bar staff and a coordinator for the day of our wedding. Beth was our coordinator and we can’t say enough about her and the work she did for us. She came to the property ahead of time to ensure everything would be perfect for us. She also attended our rehearsal and moved seamlessly into the wedding day where she never stopped moving. She took care of the smallest details which all added up to ensure our guests had the best experience possible.”
From bar staff, rentals and coordination to set-up and tear down
Little Mushroom also offers other services, aside from food. “We provide you with rental dishes, tables and chairs, linens, setup and tear down of the venue, non-alcoholic beverages, service staff, bar staff, full day or month-of coordination services, wedding cakes, and edible wedding favours,” lists Elizabeth. She also assists couples during the planning process, visiting venues, meeting with and choosing the right vendors, timelines, floorplans, menus, hall set up and tear down, how to run the bar, food and beverage services, minor décor, guest experience and everything in between.
Ashley appreciated getting help with all the little details when she hired Little Mushroom. “They were very accommodating to all of our needs as well as the needs of our families,” she says.
“Since our wedding was at my mom’s house, there were a lot of little details that needed to be figured out. Beth helped us with all of those details and even the details that we did not know we needed to think about. Beth made our day run so smoothly and allowed my husband, our families and myself to enjoy the day without being worried about everything behind the scenes.”
Melissa told The Ring that she and her husband can’t say enough about Little Mushroom Catering. “Steph was very professional and her knowledge of the industry was immediately evident. They created amazing flavours and beautiful presentations of food for us and our guests. If we have to pinpoint one memory for us that set Little Mushroom apart it would be the attention to fine details. They treated our wedding like it was their own,” says Melissa.
When it started to rain during dinner, Melissa describes one example where Beth went above and beyond. “Without being asked to, Beth took it upon herself to take all of our gifts, decorations, pictures, couch cushions from outside around the tent and moved them very quickly to a dry area,” says Melissa, adding that Beth then moved everything back once the rain stopped.
“She didn’t take credit for doing this or make us aware, and if it wasn’t for someone letting us know she had done these things, we never would have known. Some may argue that is part of their job, but we disagree. She went over and above to ensure EVERYTHING remained perfect for us for the duration of our wedding and we can’t thank her enough.”
Ashley admits that she may not have been the easiest client to deal with – especially with a lot of last minute requests – but the team at Little Mushroom was very accommodating and never said no to any requests. “My husband and I were probably very frustrating customers as we had a lot of last minute changes to our guest list and the menu,” says Ashley. “Each time I contacted Little Mushroom about the changes they were very accommodating and never said no to any of our requests.”
Three reasons why brides should choose Little Mushroom Catering…
• They offer rentals, set-up, tear-down, event coordination, bar staff, dessert stations, cakes, edible favours and sooo much more
• They customize the menu, style of service, timeline and rentals for each couple to suit their needs.
• They are versatile – offering seven styles of dining service. There are four different menus available, as well as options to easily go “off menu”
• They locally source ingredients and prepare food fresh from scratch. They are also environmentally conscious and have been awarded for their sustainability efforts
• They’re connected – many local wedding experts know, have worked with and love the team at Little Mushroom Catering
• They get involved with local wedding trade shows, including The Ring’s Wedding Expo events across K-W and Cambridge, giving couples a chance to see and get a taste of what Little Mushroom can do for weddings
• They have been a part of some incredible style shoots featured in The Wedding Ring Magazine, working with local wedding experts every step of the way
Ashley believes that Little Mushroom Catering prices were very reasonable for the services they received. “Our guests raved about all aspects: the meal and bar service and I think that the cost for that was worth it. The estimate that they gave us was exactly what the bill was in the end, there were no hidden fees or costs,” she says. “Compared to other caterers that we spoke to, Little Mushroom was on par as far as value, but we felt that their quality was above average.”
Melissa admits that when they were looking for their caterer, they shopped around. “We priced out about six different companies from the KW area and Little Mushroom was very comparable if not a little bit more expensive than the rest. Now having said this, when you compare prices that’s all you are doing, you are not comparing food quality, service level, personality, ability to pull off anything you request,” she says. “So if we talk dollars alone, they might be a bit higher but after comparing their food with other companies at the few tastings we did, there is no comparison. Little Mushroom blew them all out of the water! Choosing Little Mushroom was the easiest decision we made.”
A few of our favourite things at Little Mushroom…
• Kid’s menus containing items kids will actually eat, but that aren’t deep fried or processed (veggie plates, sliders, pasta, grilled cheese…)
• Soup shooters. Hello.
• Mini Grilled Cheeses Food stations – three types of cheese, house-made preserves, and, of course, bacon (obviously!), to create your own Mini Grills on baguette or pretzel bread in their Panini press
• Creative food stations – from Pierogis Stations to Poutine Stations (ie. the Poutine station serves potato wedges, gravy, ketchup, mayo, cheese curds, caramelized onions, bacon, with option to add veggie or beef chili, or BBQ pulled pork. Mmmmm…)
• Maple BBQ Salmon Fillet
• Seared Scallops with Red Onion & Balsamic Reduction
• Ricotta Gnocchi in Brown Butter
Detail, details, details…
• Little Mushroom Catering has serviced over 250 weddings – 72 in 2017!
• Catering services for 20 and up to 1,500 people
• Catering options range from $40 to $200 per person
• Catering services are completely customizable
• Little Mushroom Catering is a Living Wage Employer and certified Feast ON
• Little Mushroom Catering has won awards People’s choice awards for their chili, meatballs, and tacos!
• LMC won a 2017 Business Excellence Award in Sustainability, 2016 Diamond Award for Best Full Service Catering (Cambridge Times) and 2016 Diamond Award for Nom Nom Treats as Favourite Wedding Favour (Record Reader’s Choices)
Contacting Little Mushroom Catering
To learn more about Little Mushroom Catering, contact Stephanie or Elizabeth directly by email using the form below. 🙂
You can also visit Little Mushroom Catering online at www.littlemushroomcatering.ca.