For over 30 years, Marcia Selden Catering has been creating unique events with an accent on extraordinary food, creativity, and highly polished professional service. We sat down with Managing Partner and Executive Chef Robin Selden to learn more about the family business!
Can you tell us how your mother became inspired to begin Marcia Selden Catering?
I always start by saying that my mom was an entrepreneur before the word was in the dictionary. When Martha Stewart published Entertaining forty years ago, Marcia exclaimed “I can do that,” and that’s exactly what she did!
She spent the next 20 years cooking for countless dignitaries and celebrities, catering everything from intimate dinner parties and cocktail receptions, to galas for thousands in New York City. At this point, her business was booming and she tapped me and Jeffrey (my brother) for help. He was on a fast track in the New York Luxury Hotel world and I was fairly happy in my job, but we figured that it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. The rest is history as we grew the business to twelve times its size in revenue and staff and moved to our current home at 65 Research Drive in Stamford.
Being an entrepreneur is all about wearing multiple hats. How did each family member find their perfect spot within the business?
Jeffrey joined us the summer of 2011, leaving the New York Palace Hotel as the second-in-command for their Food & Beverage department. He brought a wealth of business knowledge to the company along with his NYC Catering contacts and clients, so we felt that it was important to have a presence in the city. In the summer of 2014, we took over a floor of a building on 38th street to dedicate to our NYC offices, kitchen, and venue called Above Twelve. As a Managing Partner, Jeffrey wears a variety of hats and is responsible for Sales and Operations along with our beverage program called Liquid Kitchen.
I am responsible for the Culinary Team, our Creative Operations team, and all of our Marketing efforts. I’ve found that I’m happiest when creating our advertising campaigns and working on research and development for new recipes. Mom is the “name on the door” and she is responsible for whatever she wants on any given day—much deserved after working on building this amazing company for 40 years. She is the creative force that pushes us all to do our best and she reminds us to never accept mediocrity. She is the greatest mentor to us all!
Could you describe the happenings in your kitchen on the morning of a big event?
Like the opening night of a Broadway show– very organized and perfectly executed mayhem!
What looks fresh to you this year as we head into the summer months?
I’m most excited for the local farm fresh produce. I’ve never met an Heirloom tomato that I didn’t love!
Is there a recent food trend that you’re glad to see disappear?
Yes– Activated charcoal!
Is there a classic you’d love to see come back in vogue?
I would love to put a modern twist on traditional dishes like Chicken a la King and Beef Stew.
You’ve just served up another successful wedding reception on a lovely Saturday evening. What does your perfect recovery Sunday look like? How do you treat yourself?
I’d definitely head to the local diner for breakfast before my “real” job as a parent kicks in. I’ll hit usually the grocery store, do laundry, help with homework, and then maybe treat myself to a pedicure.
And when you’re cooking for yourself, what’s your favorite comfort food?
I love anything cooked out on the grill and big pots of soup chock full of veggies (usually with beans and quinoa). I’m also obsessed with breakfast and will never turn down an awesome omelet!
Imagine you’re marooned on a desert island. What three kitchen tools would you like most to have with you and why?
- My favorite Stainless Steel mixing bowl because I can prepare anything in it and even eat out of it and it won’t get damaged by the sea water.
- My Shun Chef’s Knife which is my favorite, “can’t live without it,” tool in my kitchen
- My Porcelain Enamel Coated Cast Iron Casserole (with the lid) because I can use it to boil water, cook soup, sauté, braise and even fry if I’m lucky enough to start with a few pantry items like oil!