Spotlight on Marcia Selden Catering

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.panna cotta

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!

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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!

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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!
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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!

 

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Father’s Day is right around the corner, but there’s still time to find a noteworthy gift from our collections.  Follow along to see a few of our top suggestions to fit any Dad’s style!

 

John Derian Fly Fisher

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Lure one in with our John Derian Fly Fisher Set. Go Fish! $65 for a set of 10 cards and envelopes, shop here.

 

Caitlin McGauley Fox

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Dapper style can continue from the closet to the desk with all of the colorful patterns by Watercolor Artist Caitlin McGauley. $55 for a set of 10 cards and envelopes, shop here.

 

Happy Hour

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Most Dads know that a well-crafted cocktail is often the perfect punctuation mark at the end of the day. Say cheers to Dad with the engraved silver bar set from our Happy Hour set! $65 for a set of 10 cards and envelopes, shop here.

 

Handsome Notes

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Keep it classic with the stately motifs from our Handsome Note Collection, a must-have for the Dad who knows less is more. $55 for a set of 10 cards and envelopes, shop here.

 

Personalized #7 Monarch Cards

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At 7-1/4” x 3-3/4”, the Monarch Card is wider than our standard correspondence card and is sure to make an impression. Pricing begins at $405 for a set of 100 cards and envelopes, shop here.

 

Personalized Jotter Notes

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These 3” x 5” sheets can be personalized with a name or monogram and are perfect for quick notes on the go or at the desk. Helpful Hint: All bespoke stationery orders are completed within our standard 4-6 week timeline, though you can gift your dad one of our Leather Jotter Note Holders as a preview of the delights to come!  Pricing begins at $305 for 100 engraved jotter notes, shop here.

 

Mother’s Day Gift Guide

With Mother’s Day coming up in a little over two weeks, we wanted to share our top gift picks from our collections. Whether your Mom favors bold colors and patterns or more subtle tones, we’re certain that you’ll be able to find something to fit her personal style!

Jet Set: Paris

Paris

Jet Set: Paris 

The City of lights comes alive with our Eiffel Tower motif and dreamy vignettes of Paris. C’est la vie! $60 for a set of 10 cards and envelopes, shop here.

Caitlin McGauley Cheetah

Wild

Caitlin McGauley Cheetah

Mom will love the whimsical Cheetah and bright patterns by Watercolor Artist Caitlin McGauley. $55 for a set of 10 cards and envelopes, shop here.

 

Monogram Cards and Sheets  

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Custom Monogram Stationery

You can choose from our standard monogram templates or create something completely new depending  on your Mom’s taste. Pricing begins at $375 for 100 cards and envelopes, shop here.

 

The Maryn x Caitlin McGauley  

Stripes

The Maryn x Caitlin McGauley

Our nautical collaboration with The Maryn Shop features original art by Caitlin McGauley. Take a trip to the seaside! $55 for a set of 10 cards and envelopes, shop here.

 

J.McLaughlin Correspondence Cards 

Patterns

J.McLaughlin Correspondence Cards

The classic prints by J.McLaughlin take on a new form with this fashionable collection. $25 for a set of 5 cards and envelopes, shop here.

 

Custom House Vignette Stationery

Home

Custom House Vignette Stationery

Your Mom can work with our team to create a custom motif inspired by home (or anywhere meaningful). Pricing is available upon request and it is dependent on the intricacy of the project. Please contact us at info@dempseyandcarroll.com to learn more. 

Destination Dempsey: Labor Day

Labor Day is coming up and some of us are planning on taking advantage of the long weekend to enjoy the final days of summer. We asked the team about where they plan on heading, a fun fact or anecdote about their destination, and what piece of Dempsey & Carroll stationery they plan on bringing with them. Bon voyage!

 

Umara: I’m traveling to good old sunny California!

 

Emma: I’m going to Block Island to spend the week (and long weekend) with my family

  • There are too many reasons to love Block Island, especially because it’s been a family tradition since my dad was 11. I love the moment on the ferry ride over when I can see the first glimpse of the bluffs and then the town comes into view. Nothing beats spending the day at the beach and wandering through town or taking a hike on one of the many trails.
  • I’m bringing pieces from our collaboration with The Maryn because it’s perfect for spending time by the sea!

 

Jaimie: I’ll be at Yankee Stadium for the Yankees/Red Sox game! What better way to spend Labor Day weekend than watching the National Pastime and cheering on your favorite team (The Yankees, of course) while they play their #1 rival?Jaimie- Yankee Stadium

  • My favorite part of the stadium is Monument Park. I love seeing the history and all the retired numbers (#7 forever)! It’s also absolutely necessary to get a hot dog and a beer (and maybe some cotton candy). It’s a baseball game after all!
  • The Dempsey & Carroll Game On Handsome Tablet is perfect for keeping scorecards. Play ball!

 

Carolyn: I’m traveling to Newport Beach, California for a wedding206360_MW_ColiseumPool_378_r11

  • I’ve actually never been to Newport Beach before, but The Resort at Pelican Hill looks incredible! What’s not to love?
  • I’m definitely bringing some Jet Set: LA for my trip to the West Coast

 

Austin: This Labor Day, my partner and I will spend the long weekend as guests of a dear college friend at her house on Lake Pocono in Pennsylvania.IMG_0234.JPG

  • The lake sits in the middle of a vast preserve and, when the houses that surround it were built, there was a requirement that they not be visible from the lake. Eagles soar above as your canoe glides across the surface. No speedboats here.
  • Our host loves Dempsey & Carroll paper so what to bring her is a no-brainer. This year, a Schumacher Journal for her sketching habit, and Jet Set: Los Angeles note cards because she loves to travel and that classic airliner engraved in blue is a complete charmer! Stationery makes the smartest gift because the recipient will be reminded of you each time they treat a friend to a special handwritten note.

 

Spotlight on Marcardin Calligraphy

We sat down with Heather Brock of Marcardin Calligraphy to talk about her beginnings as a calligrapher and how she became inspired to start her own company. 

Q: “Marcardin” is such a unique name. Can you please tell us the significance of why you chose that name for your company?

HB: The name Marcardin is very dear to me because it is the name of an old family estate located in Shelbyville, Kentucky that belonged to us for over 150 years. Much like other homes and farms of that era, the estate was named by its builder, Mark Hardin. Fast forward to the early 1990s and my family was faced with the tough decision to sell it [Marcardin Farms] once my Great Aunt passed away. Most of the family memorabilia was kept in the attic; old letters and notes penned by ancestors, including those from my great uncle Mark Hardin, dated back to around 1856. All of the letters feature beautiful pen and ink calligraphy, and as an adult, the penmanship is my favorite thing to exist from that attic. I’m very fortunate to have such richly documented family history to reflect on. Marcardin, which was once known as Marcardin Farms, is now calligraphy for me.

Q: When did you first learn calligraphy and how did you know that you wanted to do it as a career?

HB: I was probably 10 or 11 when I picked up any sort of calligraphy pen for the very first time. I remember mastering (or so I thought I did) any instructional books I could get my hands on, but I moved on with other art mediums as I grew up. In my 20s I decided to pick up a pen again to learn the refined skill of pointed pen calligraphy in hopes to address my own wedding envelopes some day. When I realized how therapeutic it was to put pen to paper, I knew it was something I wanted to pursue for a long time to come.

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An envelope addressed to Marcardin Estate 

Q: How long have you been based in Kentucky? Do you have a wide client base in your area, or does most of your clientele hail from elsewhere? 

HB: I was born and raised (and still reside) in Louisville, Kentucky, so I’ve always stayed put. I am very fortunate to work with some of the absolute best wedding planners and designers in the city and state, so I do get a lot of referrals through them. I also serve nationwide, working with some stationers out of New York City and Los Angeles.

Q: We see that you offer a variety of calligraphy styles for your services. Do you think that there is an even split between interest in more traditional styles versus a more modern look? img_5198

HB: I would say nine times out of ten, my clients choose my Signature style. It’s definitely more modern, but it still gives that flourished feel that can be found in some traditional styles. I’m definitely more of a modern calligrapher; traditional calligraphy, such as Spencerian and Copperplate, can take decades to master. I certainly envy my calligraphy colleagues across the world who have the patience and skill set to achieve those writing principles.

Q: You have done beautiful work on everything from outer and inner envelopes, to escort cards and menus. How do you ensure that your pieces reflect overall aesthetic of the event?
img_0083HB: I love when I’m able to help design an entire invitation suite, so it can be printed or pressed in every which way. I like to start with my bride’s ideas of what she is thinking by getting inspiration photos from her. I’ll go through my series of questions which can turn into a few different pencil sketches before I put ink to paper. I then send my work to my go-to designer to do all the digitizing for me. From there, we meet to make sure everything is set perfectly for print.

 

 

Q: We were thrilled to work with you on pieces for a Dempsey & Carroll wedding recently. How did you first hear about Dempsey & Carroll? 

HB: I was so excited to finally get my chance to calligraph the beautiful paper from Dempsey & Carroll. I’ve seen it [Dempsey & Carroll’s paper] in many areas of the wedding industry, and have always heard great reviews from other calligraphers. The paper is exquisite and I am in love with everything from the texture to the watermark logo– It’s hands down my favorite to write on.

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Heather’s work for a recent Dempsey & Carroll wedding 

A Spotlight on Joan Straus

November is Alzheimer’s Awareness  Month, a disease that affects millions of people and families worldwide. Dempsey & Carroll’s Austin Ackles sat down with Joan Straus, after reading her book The Alzheimer’s Diary: One Woman’s Experience from Caregiver to Widow.

AA: In your new book, The Alzheimer’s Diary, there is the invaluable chapter: Eight Steps to a Healthy Brain. I’m pleased to say, here at Dempsey & Carroll, our Madeleine leads meditation twice a week. Later, there is a chapter about the importance of early detection. Given that there is no treatment, why would someone want jsto know? What would be the benefits of an early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease?

JS: It is only in the last few years that we have been able to make an early diagnosis and the earlier Alzheimer’s  is discovered, the better.  The patient can then make lifestyle changes – give up alcohol, check vitamin B and D levels, for example (that might slow the progress of the disease).  Early diagnosis also would make it possible for many to take part in clinical trials – a necessary step to finding better treatment and/or a cure.  Knowing, one can put one’s life in order, not just make out a living will, but say the things to loved ones that need to be said.  When I moved to New York, 34 years ago, my husband introduced me to Dempsey & Carroll, where he, and his mother were customers.  In German, straus means Ostrich, so the Straus family have an ostrich as their signature.  If I was diagnosed with AD, I would write to all my grandchildren on that beautiful stationery, to tell them how much I loved them and to remind them that long before the internet, there was a graceful elegant way to correspond with each other.IMG_1680

AA: Do you have any words of advice for families and caregivers with loved ones recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s?

JS:  There is a sharp learning curve for family members and caregivers, as they must take over all the responsibilities of the patient’s life, as well as learn about the stages of the disease and how to meet the challenges that come with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease. Nancy Reagan described caring for someone with Alzheimer’s as “the long goodbye”.  It is that, but there can also be great beauty in the duty.

To purchase Joan’s book please click here. 100% of proceeds from the sales of this book go to the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation. 

Write Away Right Now

The annual rite of passage for college freshman is well underway. I would argue 99.9% of freshman are happily immersed in their new surroundings, and for many, they are enjoying the first taste of a (somewhat) sovereign life.  I would also argue with equal confidence that the parents of these happy and newly-freed baby birds are experiencing hints of sadness knowing that their children are growing up—and fast. I imagine that this is a similar sentiment to what I felt when I put my little kindergartner on the bus for the first day of school last week.

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I was not surprised when a conversation took place between some new empty-nesters this weekend regarding the emotional roller coaster they’ve experienced over the past several weeks. They offered advice to each other squarely focused on writing letters to their kids. It was incredible – a group of ladies in their forties waxing poetic about writing handwritten notes to their kids. Each woman had a smart phone in hand – obviously, they are equipped with the latest and greatest technology. With her device in hand – “My daughter loves little surprises in the mail.” “The letters are cathartic for me,” said another. “I get to tell him how proud I am without embarrassing him or getting shift-deleted. He loves my letters.”

 

$.49 does not buy much today. It does buy these moms peace of mind, smiles, and the assurance that they are remembered for a moment. My bet is every one of those letters makes its home in a little box where they can be read again and again. I don’t think there are any emails, tweets or IMs in those boxes. It’s fitting they call them Forever Stamps, don’t you think?

 

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