Did you ever notice that when you haven't seen a friend in many years, as soon as you catch up again, it feels like you were just together the day before? I caught up with a couple of former classmates in 2015, and despite leading different lives in different parts of the country for the past 25+ years, it seems like just yesterday we were walking through the halls of our high school. One of the classmates with whom I reconnected was Julia Khoury. I don't think we'd seen each other since leaving our home town for college in 1988, but we've connected through social media over the past couple of years. When I started my Hands On blog last year, I reached out to her to see if she'd be willing to participate. We were finally able to coordinate our schedules at Thanksgiving.
Julia runs Julia K Caters in Rochester, NY. In addition to typical catering events like weddings, corporate events, holiday parties, etc., Julia K Caters prepares breakfasts, lunches, and snacks for charter schools. The business currently serves 600 students per school day. The charter school business is expanding, and when we met, Julia was bidding for more contracts which would bring the total number of students served daily to over 1,500.
Julia graduated from SUNY Fredonia with a BS in Human Communications with minors in Dance and Marketing. She's been in catering in the Rochester area for the past 20 years, but recently decided to start her own catering business with the support of her brother and business partner, AJ. Great food is in their bloodstream - Julia started in family restaurants when she was 8 years old, in addition to the strong "food centric" traditions of growing up in an Italian / Syrian household. Julia and AJ started Julia K Caters in mid-2014 and business has been booming ever since!
They recently moved their business into a new facility on the premises of the former Spaghetti Warehouse in downtown Rochester. In a large space with tall warehouse windows, exposed brick and beautiful wood floors adjacent to the commercial kitchen, Julia has plans to host dinner parties for 60 - 90 guests featuring a different guest chef each time. It is an impressive space with lots of potential.
Julia's team consists of many western New York natives. The head chef, Rick Dennis, is a Newark, NY native who was trained in France and has experience working in restaurants in both France and New York City. She is also supported by her "level headed" operations manager, Rodney Larson, a fellow Fredonia grad with an international marketing, communications and public relations degree. Rodney orchestrated our entire photo shoot, keeping us focused on the task at hand by interrupting our conversations about the old days and telling Julia what to cook next and me following in tow.
It was fantastic to catch up with Julia, watch her create a delicious bruschetta out of whatever ingredients were in the cooler, and be pestered by Rodney (just kidding, Rodney!). Many thanks to both of them for meeting me the day after Thanksgiving and for letting me take photos.
I strongly recommend using Julia K Caters if you are in the Rochester area; you won't be disappointed!