Devoure is the name of the newest private catering service in town, and it’s run by an enthusiastic Italian named Patrick Salerno who comes by his talent naturally. Growing up, he was surrounded by food—and wine—and cheese—and bread. And all the cacophony that occurs in an Italian home kitchen. After a decade working in the restaurant industry, he has gone private with Devoure. We were treated to a lovely four-course meal at the lavish private home of Linda Iverson, Bay Colony’s resident diva. It was an exciting launch to a promising endeavor.
AGENDA: How did you get involved in personal catering. It’s a big leap from the high profile restaurant chains in which you previously worked.
SALERNO: I love food. LOVE it. And I have since I’ve been 16. That’s when I started in the industry working in restaurants.
A: In what capacity?
S: I’ve worked in the front of the house at J. Alexanders and then I became a line-cook in a restaurant kitchen. But I quickly learned that it wasn’t for me. I needed something more personal.
A: Personal? As in preparing a unique meal for a unique person?
S: I wanted to get out of the restaurant industry and focus on finer food for smaller groups. I no longer want to be involved in the fast pace of a big capacity restaurant preparing a dish that you can’t put your name on. You’re following a corporate recipe that has no personality or character.
A: So that’s how Devoure was born?
S: Devoure just materialized within the past three or four months, when various opportunities came together to allow me to begin catering private events, and I began marketing my business through word of mouth.
A: So what’s you’re ideal audience for Devoure.
S: I love cooking for small events. Seven to 10 or 15. Nothing over 20. Ideally, these would be held in large homes with professional kitchens. (Hopefully, with gas ovens and stoves because they give you the optimal control. I even like the sound of the flame!)
A: But each job means you’re working in a strange kitchen—correct?
S: The hardest part of working in a strange kitchen is figuring out where people put everything. We bring 90 percent of the things that we need to prepare the meal, but you can’t always have everything so we depend on the homeowner to have little odds and ends.
A: So where do you find customers who an afford to cater a small dinner party!
S: There is a HUGE market in South Florida. Just in Fort Lauderdale alone. Think of the multimillion dollar estates and the 120 foot yachts. The people who own those are rich and hungry!
A: So why hire Devoure.
S: We provide more than just a well-cooked meal. We provide a total experience. Talent is one thing, but hospitality is another and when you bring the two together, you are really going to take charge in this industry.
A: Do you have a partner?
S: The beautiful Giselly Pereira. (The slim and effervescent Giselly does a twirl) We first met several years ago in restaurants, and we work great together. So she and I are going to be partners in crime. She is going to the be the face of Devoure, and I’m going to be the artistic vision.
A: So how does it work. The client gives you a menu and you go shopping?
S: The way that I want to format this operation is by having an initial consultation with the client. I really want to learn their likes and dislikes—not only in food, but right down to their favorite color. It’s important to bring more than just taste to the table. Is there a theme? What elevation of product do you want me to use? Are we talking about filet and lobster, or a pasta dish? Either can be excellent, but they are very different efforts.
A: Do you create all your own recipes?
S: Everything I make is from scratch. I never buy per-made dressings for instance. I also like to use organic produce whenever possible. I want you to taste the flavor of the recipe, not pesticides. Farm to table as much as possible if what we deliver.
And deliver they do. Our meal was a beautifully presented explosion of tastes. For our appetizers, Salerno prepared Seared Beef Tenderloin with a Gorgonzola Moose Bruchetta plus a Wild Mushroom Bruschetta with a Balsamic Glaze. The first course was a Jumbo Lump Crab Cake with a Spicy Remoulade. (He also did a vegetarian version of the same crab cake that used artichokes. Delicious.)
For the salad, Salerno prepared a Romaine Heart with marinade kale, quinoa, grapes, and chickpeas in an orange champagne vinaigrette. For the main entrée, he created his own take on Pasta Primavera, with shrimp, garlic, lemon, fresh basil, fresh vegetables, olive oil and a thin spaghetti. And for dessert, we savored Dark Chocolate Avocado Mousse with toasted hazelnuts and shaved dark chocolate in a champagne glass, garnished with a blackberry.
Così saporito, così delizioso , così Devoure.
1329 NW Third Ave
Fort Lauderdale FL 33311