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You Gotta Have Faith!--Celebrating 20 Years

It's funny but I have been keeping track of how long we have been in business by the age of our youngest child, Cole. They were born on May 18, 2003, on my 42nd birthday. A welcome surprise!! Now they're 20, and so is TSH Catering. (Yes, I just revealed my age, too. You do the math. ) It's all mindblowing to me!

Those early days don't seem like yesterday but it is amazing how time has flown. I have some vivid memories of those early days:

Coming home one day from work to the kitchen at our first house in Beverly, which smelled heavenly of garlic and lemon grilled lamb chops, only to find an empty fridge! (ARGH!@#@!! )

Balancing Cole in the Baby Bjorn on my chest while trying to type a proposal for a client, and finally screaming, "I need help!" Tim soon found Sarah Just from the Seminary who along with her husband Adam became part of our family.

My first visit to our first professional kitchen in Ipswich, on Old Right Road, with Cole in the baby bucket on the prep table, made it all seem real.

What were we thinking? A new baby, and a new business? Tim and Paul both had three young kids at the time.

It really was a leap of faith, but we hoped our clients would follow us from the Singing Beach Club, and you did!

Tim and Paul wore many hats in the early days. They wrote the menus, visited the venues, cooked the food, set up the tables, served the food, broke it all down, brought it back to the kitchen, and did the dishes. Catering is the "moving party" and a hell of a lot of work.

I don't know how they did it, but I do know their mutual love of fun and food makes for a strong partnership.

They have always had a brotherly relationship and have the same hard work ethic, which has lasted through some very tough times: divorce, a recession, back surgeries, breakups, cancer, rehab, a liver transplant, death of parents, cancellation of a son, and of course, a pandemic-Yikes!

When one is down, the other lifts him up! It has lasted more than 20 years and that is saying a lot!

The Boys:

Luckily, for the first nine years, we were able to hire our first "Chef Dave" Silverstein. We couldn't have started our business without him. He is a very talented, passionate person! Speaking of passion, he met his beautiful wife Katie while working for us.

The 3 Amigos at The Beach Club

It was love at first sight, and they now have 3 kids! They currently live in Wimbledon, England, but stop by the kitchen with the kiddos when they visit family in the summer.

That is not the only love match that has happened at TSH. Tom and Abby Durkin met at TSH, too, and are now also married with 2 kids! There have also been lots of other love/lust connections but I won't go into that.

We also hired a lot of other wonderful staff. One thing that has been true over the years is that we treat our staff like family, and we like to have a fun, positive kitchen. Tim is no Gordon Ramsay. In fact, he is one of the kindest people I know. (Awww!) He really loves teaching and mentoring young people. Paul is basically a "large child" in the best way and is a ton of fun! He is the first to organize employee outings to a Sox Game, a ski trip, and a holiday party at his house on his day off!

Scroll left to see a slideshow of our Team over the years!

Many of our Team have gone on to start their own businesses or are still working in our industry, which is one of the ultimate compliments to us. (They have also called us to do THEIR weddings!) Our Event Planner, Britt Cole started her own wedding planning business with her partner Francie Dorman called 42 North, and they hired our former event planner and manager Lindsey Shacktman to be a chief planner at their other wedding planning company Mavinhouse. Jenn Freedman started Chive, a sustainable catering company. Jake Crandall is now a Partner at Coastal Mass Brewing. Rachel Clayton was the first female Executive Chef at Myopia Hunt Club. Brian Heitz is the Executive Chef at Manor Vail Lodge, Vail CO. Twins, Sam and Matt Lounsbury, who still work for us from time to time, have their own event company, HMS Events.

Even if they don't stay in the business, we feel the skills you use from catering, like working hard and being flexible and organized, apply to many careers. We are very proud of all our "graduates", some of who worked for us since high school! Sita Greelish formerly our top event planner, is now a successful real estate agent. Allison Phillips, a former server, bartender, and planner, is now a full-time ceramic designer and potter. Event planner, server & bartender, Daron Thayer took her graphic artistic talent to a great new job. Alex Kramer catering chef and bartender, went back to his roots and is building courses for Project Adventure, and Katie Vitale, formerly our designer and catering chef, is now a certified Reiki instructor!

This employee deserves special mention. Our second and current "Chef Dave", David Comprosky, came to us in 2012. The kitchen runs like clockwork under his management and we would be lost without him.

Not only is he a very talented and creative chef, but he also treats our business like it is his own by keeping track of every penny! He does all of the food ordering, too, which is a feat! Can you imagine trying to figure out what and how much to order for clam chowder for 200? Crab Cakes for 50? Charcuterie for 150? Seriously! He does it every week and he never makes a mistake! Also, did I mention his food is delicious and beautiful, too? I could go on and on...He is THE BEST. PERIOD. Fun fact about Dave, if you are in his good graces, he might surprise you with some of his "to die for" cinnamon rolls or a lemon cake!

It's very unusual and wonderful that our current kitchen is located about 5 minutes from our house. I mean how many industrial parks abut a beautiful neighborhood in Hamilton? We have been happily ensconced at 8 Scott's Way in Essex for 17 years now. Our kids have ridden their bikes and cut through the fence to work! (Occasionally we walk to work, too!) The location doesn't get any better! Tim was able to design the former dance studio and hair salon into his own 5,000-square-foot kitchen! We also have windows to look out of while we work, which is really unusual for an industrial space. It has also been the location for some legendary parties and concerts!

Our Kitchen:

John Coughlin, our landlord, takes meticulous care of the property and buildings. Our neighbors, Mayer Tree, Quinn Brothers, Lark Fine Foods, and of course, Scott's Auto Clinic have become friends who have helped us in many different ways over the years, too As a matter of fact, in the past month alone, Scott has fixed my car three separate times, & Mayer Tree craned a heavy oven into one of our trucks! We are very grateful for our business community. --A special thank you to Kevin Bottomley who backed us at his bank for our business loan to build out our kitchen during the Recession! We'll never forget that!

Our kids have grown up working with us, too. After successful freshman years at Hartford Art School, University of Hartford, and UNH respectively, Cole is a server and our cookie maker and Will Ten Hope helps with the packing and parties. Jack and Kiely TenHope have helped with many parties over the years, and still do from time to time. Jack is currently employed with Mayer Tree, and doing great! Kiely is a special ed teacher for Valley Collaborative and just got an excellent review! Our kids Ben and Jack are currently working in our industry. Ben manages and bartends at Highlot and Joyface in the East Village, NYC. (They are also writing music with Cyndi Lauper. They collaborated on a song for the new Amazon Prime comedy/horror series, in which Cyndi has a part, called "The Horror of Dolores Roach" which premiers on July 7th!). Jack has moved out to Reno, Nevada to live with friends, have adventures with his customized truck, and ski. At 6 foot 5 inches, he is the tallest sushi chef on the west coast at a restaurant in Truckee, California, called the Drunken Monkey which is part of a restaurant group, managed by our former employee Katie Belageron.

Our Kids:

We have special memories of our "interns". In high school, our nephews Kevin, Brad, Sam, Jonah, and Ted, niece Katie, and our good family friend Rich each came out for a couple of weeks in the summer. We were happy to have the kids stay with us and learn a little about our business and get to know them better. And in some cases, give them their first job! We have a lot of happy memories from those days and look forward to seeing some of them at our Hopkins Family Reunion this summer.

The Interns:

Our parents have supported us from the beginning. Tim always considered George Moniz, a caretaker at the Singing Beach Club and Brookwood school, like a grandfather. He often stopped by our kitchen to catch up with Tim, while Tim chopped, telling the old Beach Club stories. We miss him! Paul's Dad, Jack Ten Hope, a former manager of Seven Oaks Golf Club, and school administrator was a big fun-loving personality, like Paul. He and Paul's Mom, Linda visited us often when they were alive and were very proud of their boy, Paul. They loved to visit Farnham's when they came down! Tim's Dad, Bill, a former finance manager for a park district, a sweet man with a great sense of humor, was also very proud of Tim, too. His 87-year-old mother Rita is a great cook, as was his grandmother Flo. He inherited their talents and love for cooking. As a boy who had trouble in school due to dyslexia, and never went to college, he has been extremely successful. My parents Dolores and Walter Clayton have always supported Tim, as do I, and are very proud of his success!

The Boys' Parents:

I would be remiss without mentioning some key members of our super Team who continue to make us shine. In the office, we have event managers and planners extraordinaire, Amber Fritsch and Sarah Patrick. In the kitchen, we have sous chefs Anna Aguiar, our Polish dancer, Greg Kunath, our plant whisperer, Stan Garnette, our newest sous chef, and "Czech Dave" Spulka, our "positive" tattooed man. Our bookkeeper is our best friend, Judy Pallatroni, who "keeps us honest" and also hits a mean golf ball. Our accountant is Tim Philpott, who recently became a grandfather for the first time, and our wise financial advisors are "Slim" Dickran Babigian and Kevin "The King" Bottomley.

We also work with the best vendors, venues, and event planners on the planet which are too many to mention. Thanks SO MUCH to all of you!

Finally, it is YOU our dear friends and clients whom we are grateful to the most. You let us into your homes and businesses and trusted us with your most important life events.

We will be forever thankful for your faith in us!

Some Party Pics: