Becca Catering opens
If there's one thing that Rebecca Martin has learned, it's if you're going to cook for a president, you better do it right.
As a professional caterer, Martin had the opportunity to cook for a dinner party in New York where the guest was Shimon Peres, former president of Israel. The only catch was that she had to do the whole thing from a private kitchen that was only 800 square feet.
"I am used to working in small New York City spaces," she said. "You have to be super efficient. You have to be able to work by an ocean or in a garage."
Her digs have changed a bit since her New York days. Martin has opened a high-end catering service in Darien. Called Becca Innovative Catering, the business is at 7 Tokeneke Road, right across from the Darien Train Station.
"The profile of Darien has changed so much in the past decade," she said. "People are looking for more hip, cool, dare I say edgy events, presentations, and flowers. We really are a cutting edge service."
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Martin said she is looking to be the caterer of choice for those who are looking for something other than the standard menus and presentations you find at run-of-the-mill weddings and dinner parties. For instance, she and her team have created menus that are based on colors. On a blue menu, you might find bluefin tuna or a blueberry reduction sauce somewhere. The road food menu features hepped-up versions of foods you might find served out of trendy food trucks along the road while traveling.
"These are some of the things you might find in the best roadhouses, and we kick it up," she said. Think lobster rolls with lemon aioli from Maine, catfish and fried green tomatoes from the south, and Reuben sandwiches from New York.
Martin got her start in the suburbs of Boston. The granddaughter of a grocer, her parents raised her in the quiet hamlet of Belmont, located outside of Cambridge and very close in nature to Darien. Surrounded by gourmet food shops, she said she always was interested in trying new and interesting foods. Since the age of 15, she has worked in the food industry, learning the ropes working with caterers and in restaurants.
But it took a while for her calling to show its face. After graduation, she went off to Barnard College in New York City, where she earned a degree in English and Women's Studies. From there it was off to law school, where she hoped to become a lawyer, and found herself working as a clerk for a federal judge in the southern district of the city.
It was Sept. 11, 2001 when things changed for her. The mother of twins, she went into labor on Sept. 11, and later stayed home for two years to become a stay-at-home mom while her husband continued to work. She got bored -- and started baking.
"I was baking every day, and my husband made so many friends," she said. "My husband would get on the train with little bags with bows. I was even feeding the guy who sold the newspapers."
Eventually she found that she could only fit so many cookies and cakes in her home kitchen and opened her first venture at the Stamford Jewish Community Center in 2005. Called Sweet on You, she essentially took over the cafe, making pies and decorating cakes to order.
In December 2010, wanting her own space and to be independent, she moved the business to Summer Street in Stamford. Still, she always wanted to open a full-service catering firm that would take care of everything -- from the food itself, to the tables, music, centerpieces, and photography.
So when the space that was formerly occupied by Patricia Blake Catering for 10 years opened on Tokeneke Road, she jumped at the opportunity. Now she has a full kitchen, workspace and front office area where she can display her work for anyone who walks by.
Martin has a team of people who contract with her for events, including musicians, event venues, tent companies, lighting specialists, and entertainers who she can tap to provide services if needed. She even has a catering manager, Kathleen Rackear, who has worked for Martin before and who is a former food and beverage director for the Tokeneke Club.
"We are part of one of the most important days of their lives," Rackear said.
Becca Innovative Catering is located at 7 Tokeneke Road in Darien. They can be reached by phone at 203-202-9500, or visit www.beccacatering.com.