58 Lakeshore Dr., Ludlow, Vt.
If you ask Wendy Neal, owner and chef of the Ludlow catering business “A Catered Affair,” to show you a menu, she’ll need to talk with you first. That’s because each dinner party, celebration, or wedding she caters features foods that are available locally depending on the season and unique to the person she’s working with. “Every menu is different. I sit down with the person and come up with a menu based on their needs and the best foods available,” she said.
Neal dates the start of her catering business back to her sister’s wedding over 35 years ago. At the time, she was working as a ski coach at Stratton Mountain School and catered the reception with great success using the help of some of the Stratton students. From that time onward, Neal continued to cater mostly during the summers throughout the years, continuing as a racing coach, now for Okemo Mountain School, in the winter until retirement.
In 2013, Neal opened Stemwinder, a wine bar and restaurant with partner and wine shop owner Leslie Stuart. The concept and partnership is simple, Stuart handles the wine and alcohol and Neal handles the food. The combination has been a proven success, with the busy restaurant now in its fifth year.
Neal now schedules “A Catered Affair” events around her Stemwinder schedule with larger events, serving up to 250 people, primarily happening in the summertime. Neal does smaller dinner parties typically in the winter months as out of towners travel to Ludlow and want a special catered dinner.
In addition to the standing appetizer table, other specialties include small flatbread pizzas and fondue. In addition to her delicious food, Neal also credits her incredible friendly staff for her continued catering success and positive word of mouth. Neal adds, “Also without the efforts of my family, this business wouldn’t be possible.” Neal’s husband John, her son Pearson, and Pearson’s wife Elisabeth are a part of every event, along with her right-hand manager, Leslie Boyle.
You can follow A Catered Affair on Facebook. The website is currently under construction, but you can contact Wendy Neal directly at email@example.com.