08 July 2010
From the Fine Lifestyles Fall 2010 edition
Gourmet candied apples, maple and bacon cupcakes, and strawberry vinaigrette waffles – these are just a few of the delicious and unexpected menu items customers can choose from when they visit one of the many venues operated by Valley Girls Catering. By offering customers an array of delectable, homemade cuisine choices, served in a fast and friendly environment, Valley Girls has created a taste utopia that food lovers won’t find anywhere else.
“There’s a real passion for food within the company and within our staff,” said Beata Thompson, one of the five women entrepreneurs behind Valley Girls Catering. When people really care about what they are doing, it is reflected in the quality and taste of the food they prepare, she added. Judging by the company’s success, their enthusiasm for food has certainly paid off.
Thompson started Valley Girls Catering in 2002, when she began operating the food service at Deer Valley Golf Course. In 2005, she expanded the company to include a new venture – the Brickhouse Bistro located in Lumsden. Tania Fraser came on board as a partner in 2007 and was with the company when they again expanded in 2008 to take over operation of the food service at Regina’s Currie Field, home turf of the Red Sox ball team, and the Tartan Curling Club. Expansion continued in 2009, when they took over Sherwood Forest Golf & Country Club.
The following year was another big one for the company as they added both Mary McCusker and Gerda Klyne to their partnership and opened another restaurant, called Fresh & Sweet, in Regina. The Valley Girls Catering team was completed when its fifth member, Allison Sweet, joined in early 2010. “Essentially, the company is owned by the people who have been operating it for years,” said Thompson, noting that each of the partners spent time on the company payroll before joining the business’s ownership.
Thompson said the five women behind Valley Girls Catering have established a strong working relationship built on mutual trust and collaboration, with each partner taking responsibility for the operation of a different venue but all pulling together to tackle big projects and back each other up. “We operate independently, but at the same time, we depend on each other,” Thompson said.
This mutual cooperation has given the catering side of Valley Girls’ business a unique edge, enabling them to take on multiple functions on the same day, said Thompson. Potential customers can browse through Valley Girls’ detailed online menu, found at www.valleygirlscatering.ca and complete with suggestions on menu combinations and choices. Whether supplying lunch for an office of five or feeding a wedding party of 400, Valley Girls is able to deliver on the dependable and professional reputation they have developed.
Valley Girls Catering currently employs 40 staff, many of which are long term employees able to fill numerous roles. Thompson said the staff’s solid work ethic and versatility has contributed greatly to the company’s smooth operation and consistent, high-quality service. “It’s a really good team environment,” she said. “Everybody works really hard and genuinely enjoys each other.”
This behind-the-scenes teamwork is manifested in a busy, upbeat atmosphere that customers appreciate nearly as much as they do the food. While Valley Girls customizes their menus to suit each of the venues they operate, customers can be certain the quality they receive will be the same. In fact, the Valley Girls team takes great pride in ensuring that all of their menu items meets the same high standard for taste, freshness and originality that their loyal customers have come to expect.
“At the end of the day, the goal is to be consistent and to provide the same style and idea of service, but at different places,” Thompson said.
To Thompson, one of the greatest benefits of Valley Girls is their ability to regularly experiment with new food combinations and flavours. “We have the freedom to do whatever we want,” she said. “We’re free to create in any manner we want to. It’s awesome.”
Not only does Valley Girls offer a wide variety of entirely unique, yet unbelievably delicious menu choices, the company takes great pride in making all of the food they serve in-house. “We’re in a world where everything comes from a box and everything is premade,” said Thompson. “We make everything from scratch.”
For example, Thompson said she always enjoyed the taste of gelato, a popular frozen desert but one that is hard to find in Saskatchewan. However, when she started experimenting with different combinations, all made using actual food rather than simple flavouring, the difference in taste was astounding. Now, Thompson experiments with flavours such as cinnamon bun, which contains actual cinnamon buns and cream cheese icing, and dark chocolate Guinness, fittingly made using chocolate and beer.
Of course, finding room to add a new item to the menu is not an easy task, said Thompson, describing their menus as Valley Girls’ “greatest hits”. But whether a customer comes in craving a tried and true favourite or looking to surprise their taste buds with something new, Valley Girls’ one-of-a-kind menu never disappoints. “It’s just different,” said Thompson. “They’re always just so excited to have something different.”