Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Today Emily & Brian had their menu tasting. They both brought their mom's to have a sample of what might be on their menu. Em & Brian have plenty of time between now and July to make their decision but knowing Em, salmon is a definite. Yum!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

| Emily's Bridal Blog | Installment #3

I believe the perfect color combination sets the tone for every wedding. Inspiring wedding combinations are endless -- ranging from "fall harvest" (chocolate brown and burnt orange) to "bright spring" (crisp white with lemon yellow accents) to "understated sophistication" (shades of ivory and beige). The color possibilities are only limited by our imaginations! We want the atmosphere at our wedding to have a fun, summer, chic feel. So the colors I envision are....

raspberry pink with bright orange accents.

These colors also reflect my personality seeing as my favorite color happens to be pink! Some guys would likely veto this idea, but lucky for me, Brian is supportive and lets me be "creative director". I was so excited when I found invitiations that will help convey my vision even before the big day!

In the ballroom, solid ivory linen with a circle of gold chivari chairs will feature a pink folded napkin and colorful flowers as a centerpiece. The cocktail and bistro tables on the patio will be a little more bold and daring featuring this funky linen!This was an easy and exciting part of the planning process as my vision was pretty clear, although I can't say that it has been this easy with many of the other decisions....more to come on that!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Reflecting On Our 2010 Parties

"Wow - what an exciting and busy wedding season it has been! I'm so grateful to have worked with so any wonderful brides (and grooms) in planning and overseeing their celebrations. As I reflect on the sites, various styles and tastes of each, some highlights stand out" - Dave Thomas - Event Coordinator.

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION the staff of A Thyme to Cook - headed to Fishers Island

"One very special wedding location was on Fishers Island - a more picturesque site you could not ask for. It was so much fun getting to know the family. Bringing the staff, the food and everything we needed on a Ferry was definitely an adventure! Forgetting anything is not an option when you're catering an event on an island became our mantra."

"Another unique location was center stage at the Katharine Hepburn Theatre in Old Saybrook. What a beautiful venue! A pre-opera brunch was served."

"We thoroughly enjoyed planning and working with everyone involved for this Carnival themed charity event. The staff even got in on the act wtih their outfits - red suspenders and bow ties."

Check out the next installment reflecting on The 2010 Bridal Season - Fabulous Food!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Music with a Purpose

The Holiday Festival of Trees and Music
Lyme Art Association, Old Lyme CT
November 21 – December 4, 2010

A Thyme to Cook was proud to collaborate with our friend and colleague Josh Chalmers. Our Pastry Chef, Bill made a selection of treats for guests to nibble on. The decorated tree & table presented Rice Krispy Treats (the star tree topper was also a rice krispy treat), Melon, Champagne and Strawberry flavored Lollipops, Chocolate Bonbons, Mint Candy Cane Cookies & Almond Spritz Cookie Wreaths. The table featured Tiremisu Cups & Lavender Lemon Squares.

Proceeds from The Festival of Trees and Music will benefit the youth in music initiatives supporting musical artistic development of youth, programs and services with in the shoreline community & New London counties. Visit their web site for more information on their initiatives.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

If you're still looking for something yummy for your Thanksgiving table, try one of our tried & true recipes. Our pumpkin soup is out of this world. Have a very Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Pumpkin Soup

(1) 15 ounce can pumpkin puree
6 ounces chopped celery
6 ounces chopped onion
3 ounces chopped carrot
4 ounces sweet butter
1 tbsp curry powder
½ tsp allspice
¼ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground cinnamon
32 ounces chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup heavy cream
Salt & pepper to taste

Sauté carrot, celery & onion in butter til onion becomes translucent. Add stock & seasoning then bring to a boil. Add pumpkin puree and reduce heat to a simmer. Continue cooking for ~ 20 minutes. Puree soup together with an immersion blender, food processor or blender. If using a food processor or blender, allow soup to cool first. Add cream while blending

For an element of surprise place toasted pine nuts, sultanas (or golden raisins) and sautéed crisp julienned Serrano ham on the bottom of the bowl. Pour soup over.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Here is one of Lynn's latest gorgeous cakes. Linda's daughter in law, Amy had her baby shower this past Sunday and fun was had by all. The flavor of the cake was marble spice with caremel mousse. So delish! Not a piece left. Look for Lynn's other creations on her web site

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Deciding on a photographer was much easier than I thought it would be! But, deciding on a location for the wedding….that was exhausting! My fiancée and I struggled to find the perfect spot. We really wanted the water to act as a beautiful backdrop, so with that as a priority, our search began! We looked at some stunning locations such as

Eolia Mansion at Harkness Memorial State Park ,

The Branford House at Avery Point, and The Florence Griswold Museum on the Lieutenant River. Eventually, we decided on Eolia Mansion! It had everything we were looking for…except our guest list is much larger than the 150 guests that it can hold. We went back and forth a 100 times – cut the list or start the search all over again? Ultimately, we decided everyone on our list was too important.
We finally settled on The Crocker House Ballroom – an 1873 historic building that has plenty of room for both dinner and dancing. Inside, it has beautiful gold chivari chairs and four elegant pillars that give an architectural presence. Some drawbacks for us…it doesn’t have a beautiful water view and parking can be challenging.
Do I still think about having our wedding at Eolia Mansion…yes, every now and then! (especially since I am frequently catering weddings there!) ….. But, The Crocker House is where we will dance the night away, surrounded by our family and friends, and in the end, it’s not so much about the space as it is about who we are sharing the space with!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Linda is on her way to the warmth of Orlando Florida for the latest RED - Regional Education Day. Host Warren Dietel of Puff 'n Stuff Catering has assembled two days of "red-hot" education and two nights of events.

Linda is especially looking forward to speakers Rebecca Grinnals and Simon T. Bailey. Rebecca, the owner of Engaging Concepts Consulting will be discussing "Capturing the Luxury Wedding Market" and Simon, author of Releasing Your Inner Brilliance is sure to capture the attention of his audience as he discusses "discovering how to motivate your team and bring out your company's hidden brilliance". We all can't wait to hear about both seminars (and of course the night life) when she returns!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Well the seasons are changing, leaves are falling and the local growing season comes to a close with the danger of the first frost. As I cleaned out my summer garden I was reminded of the wonderful tastes of garden fresh produce. The use of local produce enhances every dish we as chefs can produce. I can still remember the taste of fresh spring asparagus picked that morning. Vine ripened tomatoes in all their glory in the heat of the summer. Living in Connecticut means a shorter growing season than some parts of the country so the challenge is how to save and incorporate those farm fresh flavors in the dead of winter. Some ways to save that mid summer flavor are making jams and compotes from tree ripened fruits, canning vine ripened tomatoes, making pesto from the final run of basil and dehydrating herbs and fruits. Produce is available year round but we all know that after being shipped across the country (or even from another country) the flavor profile starts to break down. The saving of fruits and vegetables when they are at their peek and abundant is a great way to incorporate some farm fresh flavor when the snow begins to fly. Well the good news this time of the year is I just picked all of my pumpkins from the garden and it's time to get creative and start carving. Happy Halloween everyone!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

7th Annual Hot Pepper Eating Contest!!

The 7th Annual Hot Pepper Eating Contest was held on October 3rd at The Cookery. Every year this event draws more people – spectators and participants alike.

The afternoon begins with a Chili Cook-Off. Chilli of all kinds are submitted and judged anonymously for the Hottest and Best Overall Flavor. Chilli has run the gamut over the years – from beef, chicken, and bean – to moose, bear, venison and reptile.

After “warming up” with the chilli and mass quantities of beer, the pepper contenders don their custom t-shirts and sit at a long table reminiscent of the “last supper.” Participants can consume as much white bread as they want….and drink as much beer or wine as they want to try to diffuse the heat; but they must eat the entire pepper (excluding the stem) in the time allotted.

The first round begins with at the lowest end of the Scoville Heat Scale and builds up to one of the highest – the Habañero. This year, nine different kinds of hot peppers were included (including some pilfered from Dominica!). As the tears flow and tongues burn, participants who can’t stand the heat bow out to signify their lack of tolerance and get a baby bottle with milk…oh….the relief of the burn with milk!
Watching the contest is definitely entertainment – facial expressions, moans, cries, and belly-clutching are only amplified by the continuous flow of alcohol (which only heightens the pain!).
The winner of the contest receives the coveted “Pepper Trophy” and $100. They also get to name the Hot Pepper Sauce (complete with photo) that ATTC makes from the remaining pepper bounty.

This is a highly competitive event with several repeat performers that have blown everyone away with their ability to withstand the fire.

This year, we are pleased to announce the first female winner – Raechel Brown – a member of our event culinary team. Throughout the year, she will proudly display her Pepper Trophy and gear up to defend her title next year!

Brides Against Breast Cancer

Don't know what to do with your wedding dress after the big day? If you don't have grand plans for it, give it another chance to walk down the aisle and donate it to Brides Against Breast Cancer.

Your dress will be refurbished and sold at one of their "Nationwide Tour of Gowns" sales held across the country. All donation proceeds go to The Making Memories Foundation that grants final wishes to men and women suffering from terminal breast cancer.

It is estimated that this year alone over 200,000 women and nearly 1,200 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Sadly, breast cancer will take the lives of almost 40,000 people this year in the United States and over 300,000 worldwide. In the United States one person will be diagnosed with breast cancer every 2½ minutes, and one person will die of breast cancer every 12 minutes. Many know that this disease is the second highest killer of women in the United States, but a little known fact is that breast cancer is the number one killer of women between the ages of 15 and 54. - message from Making Memories

For more info, go to Brides Against Breast Cancer

Friday, September 24, 2010

Chili & Peppers – Peppers & Chili

The 7th annual Hot Pepper Eating Contest is here!

This Sunday, October 3rd, A Thyme to Cook hosts the annual Hot Pepper Eating Contest. Kicking it off is the the Chili Contest! Each year we have grand flavors of various chili recipes to taste and vote on for "Hottest" and "Best Overall." Bill, Julie, Brian and Dan have won the chili contest and this year I am once again attempting to get the prize.

I have already started my chili with a bunch of fresh garden love. Each day or two I add in more and more tomatoes and peppers from my garden. It’s a lot of fun and it introduces the Hot Pepper Eating Contest……

Let the games begin... We’ve had as many as 15 participate in selecting and eating hot peppers from mild to down right fire blazing until the contest is over and the last one standing is not sucking on a baby bottle of milk.

Our A Thyme to Cook Gang looks forward to seeing everyone again!
Lori Post, Client Relations

Working for a caterer is like nothing else. It’s fast paced, exciting and can be a little crazy, especially during wedding season!

As the office manager, I don’t plan or attend the events, but I still have contact with the clients if they have questions and I’m right in the hub of the action! How cool is that??? (Pretty cool!) But occasionally, I’d like to actually attend a wedding and see how it all comes together. Trust me, I’ve probably been to over 50 weddings in my time, but because I’m getting to be of a “certain age”, pretty much all my friends have passed the marriage stage and are on to children, so my wedding prospects have just about dried up.

Finally, finally, someone decided to get hitched and my husband and I were invited! I couldn’t wait to see how the bride’s vision came to life! What were her colors? How many attendants? Favors or no favors? DJ or Band? Sooo many choices!! (Can you tell I like weddings??)

It was a tented affair, held at the home of the groom’s grandparents, with views of his grandmother’s beautiful flower gardens. The couple walked barefoot down an aisle of sand and released butterflies after they said their vows. The color scheme of purple, orange and white was reflected in the linen, paper lanterns and the flowers and everyone looked gorgeous! Good food, good spirits and good friends (with some dancing thrown in) all make for a great evening!

Sadly, there are no more on the horizon, but I guess this was enough to satisfy my wedding craving for now. I’ll just have to wait for our own Emily to get married next summer. Only 295 days left!!! (….not that I’m counting!)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Emily's Bridal Blog

Next July, our own Emily will be getting married. Needless to say, the office is a-buzz with ideas for her and her fiance, Brian. Over the next year, we thought it would be fun to follow her planning and experiences from her bridal point-of-view. Here is the first installment of Emily's bridal blog....

Weddings, weddings, and more weddings! Working for A Thyme to Cook for the past nine years (both in the office and at events) has allowed me to see tons of weddings! It seems as if they are second nature to me! However, there is one wedding next July that will be unlike any other… because this time, I’ll be the bride!
Over the course of the next year, my fiancée and I get to make exciting decisions like picking out colors, rings, food, dresses, music, flowers…the list goes on! We thought we would share details of the planning process as our thoughts and ideas emerge.
One of our first decisions on our long list was choosing a photographer (of course, that was after I had an exhaustive search for a caterer….just kidding) We decided on Tim Brown, owner of TAB Photographic– a very enthusiastic photographer. We just had our engagement shoot this past month because we couldn’t wait to work with him! Although it felt awkward at first (trying to have an intimate moment while someone is watching you!), he made us feel extremely comfortable. In fact, at the end, I really didn’t mind the celebrity status! Here are some highlights from our shoot…

contact TAB Photographic

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

From our Chef.....

Having recently returned from the CaterArts symposium in Louisville, Kentucky, I have had some time to reflect on my experiences there. I was most amazed at how fellow culinarians can truly pull together. There was a very diverse group of chefs at the conference from all areas of catering from many different places in the United States and abroad. The one thing that stands out from my experience was how my fellow chefs “step up to the plate” and help one another. Helping to prep or plate one another’s food or being thrown together with a "mystery basket" and preparing multiple items in an hour. The creativity and teamwork shown was an example to chefs everywhere.

With interesting new ideas all around me, I enjoyed lots of great food and experiences to keep my passion for food fueled. I enjoyed touring a sustainable farm that not only produces vegetables, but beef as well. My waistline is still trying to return to normal! Cocktail parties, gala dinners, regional cuisine, decadent desserts...Wow. Think sour cream ice cream, crispy fried shrimp Diablo, pork belly corn dogs, a coconut tropical fruit verine, empanadas, croquettes ahhh the list goes on and on.

But alas as much as I like to travel and experience what the culinary world has to offer it’s good to be back where I am truly happiest. In the kitchen.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Staff Feature: Lori Post, Client Relations

This past June, I celebrated nine years with my A Thyme to Cook family. Working within a “boutique” catering company, family is the only word that I can come up with that truly describes how close we all have become. It’s a joy participating with the Event Coordinators planning their menus and events. At times I even join the party staff and work in the kitchen or as a bartender or server. Participating in this capacity has definitely given me fantastic insight about the “nuts and bolts” of executing an event. It’s a lot of hard – “go, go, go” work….but I wouldn’t give it up for anything. I enjoy wearing all of the hats that I do.

Prior to entering into the catering business, I enjoyed years in the great big world of retail. Although retail has become a tiny part of my life, it set the stage for the social interaction here at A Thyme to Cook.

Some stuff that makes me happy: Being a “mother” of three cats - Chester, Nicholas and Jack keep me very busy. Summer solstice begins the season when I can play in my amazing vegetable garden. Tulips are my favorite flower, bike riding for miles and miles is my go to exercise, the ocean and cooking brings peace and my continuing love- hate relationship with bowling!

Friday, July 23, 2010

caterArts is only a few weeks away!

The team is off to Sullivan University in Luoisville Kentucky again this year for CaterArts, a conference produced by the International Caterers Association (ICA).....a unique learning journey with top chefs from across the country. From August 8 to 11 they'll be attending classes taught by the best in the business.

Our own Executive Chef Shawn Bittman kicks off the week leading a morning session "Breakfast and Learn! Rise and Shine to Breakfast Profits." With hands-on demonstrations, farm to table dinners, Lunch and Learn sessions and Special Presentations, this year is even bigger and better!

Check out more information and registration info HERE.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Staff Feature: Dave Thomas, Event Coordinator

I constantly give myself the license to explore a new path and indulge in something different. Go ahead - Be Creative.

I have over 12 years experience as Marketing and Communications Services Manager for a product design firm in New York City and then returning to Southeastern Connecticut to operate my own retail, floral and event planning business. My past experiences have proven beneficial as well as a natural progression to the world of event planning and catering with A Thyme to Cook. I am dedicated to assisting our clients with an unwavering commitment throughout the process. In addition, I pride myself on being detail-oriented in coordinating all of your wedding or special event needs. My creative eye is another asset to our clients, enabling me to expertly assist in the creative set up of each function.

In my spare time, I enjoy volunteering for various local causes, antiquing, gardening (my serenity), and spending time with my family and friends.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Staff Feature: Emily Secchiaroli, Office Assistant

I have worn a lot of different "hats" while working at A Thyme to Cook since 2001 - from serving food, to loading trucks, to helping with photo shoots! But now, most of my time is spent as an Event Floor Captain, Party Manager, or Office Assistant. I love being able to see the behind-the-scenes planning at the "cookery" translate into beautiful celebrations!

Outside of the cookery, my time is spent spoiling my two nephews whom I adore! I am also busy working on my own wedding plans as I am newly engaged - the numerous weddings I have seen will surely be an inspiration! In the mix of it all, I am in the process of completing my Master's in School Counseling and decorating my new home.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Staff Feature: Shawn Bittman, Executive Chef

We are proud of our talented team and will be doing a weekly feature over the next few weeks highlighting each member.

Sandor (Shawn) Bittman, our Executive Chef.

"How Thyme Flies! Having been in the culinary trade for the last 25 years, it's hard to believe the last 12 have flown by here at A Thyme to Cook. Looking to do something new and interesting, I left hotel kitchens behind and joined the crew at ATTC to work in off-premise catering. When I started, my oldest son was six years he's going on 18 and I am a full-time father again with a four-year old. Yep, some say you have to be crazy to be in this trade, I guess it's true. My love of food allows me to try some really cool things such as fizzy grapes and fruit pearls. You've never seen a happier crowd than at my son's daycare when I bring in some new foods for the kids to try.

On top of a busy work schedule, I balance some adult time by volunteering in local government as the Chairman of Planning and Zoning in my hometown of Sprague. I'm also a part time pool shark and a member of the American Pool Players Association for the past 15 years. To round out my busy schedule, I'm also a member of the American Culinary Federation, Connecticut Chef's Association and Knights of Columbus."

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Back from a whirlwind week at Catersource in Las Vegas!

The ATTC team with our friend Pauline Parry from Good Gracious! Events.

The ATTC Team got to mingle and share experiences with caterers from around the world during a jam-packed week of education and experiences. This year, not only were we attendees, but educators! Linda presented a 75-minute seminar on "25 Years and 25 Things We Have Learned the Hard Way"; and Gina did several short demonstrations - "Hot Rocks are a Cool Station" in the X-perience Room. Linda was also an "Expert" at the "Ask the Experts" luncheon and a presenter for the International Catering Association CATIE awards. Chef Shawn and Chef Bill got to go on a tour of the kitchens at Caesar's Palace....gorgeous kitchens and a unique sneak peek at what goes on behind-the-scenes.

While we did not receive any CATIE awards this year, it was an honor to be nominated three times amongst some incredible caterers. We were runners-up to South Africa, Toronto, and California. We did receive some other recognitions - Linda was sworn in to the International Catering Association as Membership Chair; and Gina received the ICA Service Star Award.
Some other highlights:

Live champagne chandelier; a new take on S'Mores; personalized crisps; Mango Mousse with Meringue Sticks and "Pop Rock" Surprise!

The education was enlightening....the events were inspiring and we are all energized and re-charged for the 2010 season!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Style Me Pretty Featured Wedding

Another featured wedding on Style Me Pretty today! Focusing on the GORGEOUS flowers provided by Blush Floral.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Our Inspiration to Reality Shoot - Ampearsand - is live on Style Me Pretty today!

We had such a blast working with such cool vendors! Thank you to all......

INVITATIONS: Stonington Paperie

It was a very cold whirlwind of a day.....but just look how it turned out!

Thank you Style Me Pretty!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Cake Tasting Week

Some of our wedding couples taste testing cake. Hailey & Randy - 9.18.10; and Alexis and Adam - 6.19.10

Wrapping up our Annual Cake Tasting Week today! Visions of Chocolate Ganache, Carrot Cake and Lemon Buttercream have been dancing in our heads all week!

The traditional wedding cake is still the most popular choice for a wedding; however, cupcakes are still making an appearance! Especially decked out in unique liners - check out some great ones at Layer Cake.

Buttercream to fondant; sugar flowers to polka dots or stripes! Our brides & grooms are very creative! They are finding inspiration in art, fashion, nature and architecture......we have some spectacular sweets planned for 2010!

Monday, February 8, 2010


We have been nominated for THREE CATIE Awards!

Best Single Plate Presentation
Cocoa Panna Cotta with White Creme de Cacao Gelee
Vanilla Bean Tuille and Caramelized Fig
on a Black Currant Reduction Painted Plate

Innovative Mixology
"Promiscuous Mary" with Tomato Horseradish Foam
Best Use of Food as Decor
Edible Runway
Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner - Dessert

This is the 4th year in a row that we have
been nominated for a prestigious
CATIE Award (Catered Arts Through Innovative Excellence)
Winners will be announced March 8th at the ICA’s annual
award gala in Las Vegas honoring top catering companies,
their chefs, owners, and events!
Stay tuned....