New Catering Company Brings Creativity, Love for Covington Downtown
Thu, 12/18/2014 - 08:46 RCN Newsdesk
Tucked into a small storefront at 11 West Seventh Street, Four Seasons Catering hopes to build a big business in Covington in the very near future. Owned by Chef Michael Gayon and his wife Melinda, the company moved to Downtown Covington a few months ago and is quickly gaining a reputation from local businesses and neighbors as the go-to spot for catering services and carry-out orders.
Gayon, who graduated from Le Cordon Bleu and has worked in some of the top restaurants in New York City and Seattle, says that Four Seasons aims to provide a “different experience” than what the other catering companies in the area offer.
“Our service is so personalized and we are very attention-to-detail oriented. We’re into doing this. We love this. We have a passion for this. We are creative, hardworking, most of the time organized," he said with a laugh, "and very dedicated to what we’re doing. Our goal is to create the most incredible event for people that we possibly can.”
Gayon’s wife Melinda, an artist, dancer, and former activities director at a retirement village, says that Four Seasons Catering works hard so their clients don’t have to.
“Our thinking behind the catering is that we’re supposed to be spoiling people. We’re supposed to be taking care of the event and making it great for them,” she said.
Although a relatively new business, Four Seasons has built a strong list of clients including Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Lexus, and several local law firms. In 2015, the company will help its neighbors at Braxton Brewery put together a menu and starting January 15 will partner with Gateway Community and Technical College to provide healthy, inexpensive food for the students at the urban campus.
“We’re also going to bring over an espresso machine so that we can keep everyone there high-powered,” Gayon joked.
Outside of catering, Four Seasons also runs a small, deli/bakery business in the front of the shop that offers a selection of soups, sandwiches, salads, and baked goods made by Melinda.
“She gets her great baking skills from her mother who was a southern belle from Mississippi who absolutely loved to bake. (Melinda) has gone from being a kitchen baker to a professional baker over a period of about six or seven years and she turns out some incredible desserts,” said Gayon.
One of those desserts are her signature cinnamon rolls which have quickly become the shop’s most popular item.
“Adam (Caswell) over at the Northern Kentucky Chamber tells us that our cinnamon rolls should be used for currency,” Grayson said laughing.
The goal at Four Seasons is to keep things fresh and new while focusing on quality and locally-sourced ingredients.
“We’re changing everything seasonally. Our soup menus change. Our salads and sandwiches change. Our bakery case changes all the time. We try and keep part of what’s going on here exciting, fresh, and adventurous and at the same time have a solid foundation,” he said.
“We want to be a destination,” adds Melinda. “We’re comfort food and comfort people. We definitely want the support of the environment around us but we want to be here for the people who are driving home from work who say ‘Oh my gosh! That food is so good! That’s what I have to have!’ This is a culinary experience. We’re trying to be different.”
The couple, who first met in Sarasota, Florida where they ran a small café together, now live in Wallace Woods and are very proud to part of the community.
“This is our home. This is going to be our home forever,” said Gayon. “This is it. It’s done. We want to help make this a better place. There’s a great foundation here, a super foundation. (Four Seasons) is a Kentucky business. We’re very proud to be a Covington, Kentucky business.”
Currently, the company caters about 2-3 events on average per week in addition to running the small carry-out business. Last week, however, the company did 14 events and has several events planned for this week.
“We’re doing double the events we did last year which was our first Christmas season,” Gayon said. “All of it is repeat or referral.”
Going forward, the company hopes to continue to grow relationships with local businesses such as Left Bank Coffeehouse, expand its wholesale market, give back to the community through organizations like Keep Covington Beautiful, and build their catering business.
For now, Gayon says he’s focused on finding a niche in Covington and serving quality food with a creative twist.
“Before we opened up, I looked at the market and I asked myself, ‘Who is doing what here and where are the holes and niches that I can fall into?’ I try to take things that are familiar and try to one-up them, make them cool. This market isn’t adventurous, but we’re going to try to change that one step at a time. To be successful, you have to reach into the market that exists. We have to be smart enough to address the general population and their needs and at the same time develop a niche for ourselves,” he said.
Although he is a newcomer to downtown, Gayon is very open about the type of business community he’d like to see Covington build.
“Diversity is what I’m looking for. We need to have a lot going on downtown and we need a little something for everyone,” he said. “A strong, diverse mix of people that are of the like mindset that ‘We want to see success.’ We need successful businesses owned by people of all nationalities, creeds, and thought processes. A good ol’ American mixing pot.”
As for those considering opening a business in Covington, Gayon offered up a few words of advice.
“If someone wanted to start a business right now and they were to say to me, ‘Hey Mike, where is the place I should do my business?’ I would tell them right here. Get in now while you can because it’s about to explode.”
Written by Jerod Theobald, managing editor