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Zeffert & Gold Catering and Event Planning: A Centerpiece of Creative Catering
Zeffert & Gold Catering and Event Planning (Z&G) has steadily built a reputation for high-quality, freshly prepared foods and attentive customer service by stressing the importance of imagination. Z&G has come to be widely recognized as one of the premier catering and event-planning specialists in the Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, Md., areas by treating every event as an opportunity to help the host focus on making memories with family and friends. Special requests are always welcome, and no matter the dietary restrictions, preferences or challenging location the Z&G team is always standing by, ready for anything.
Z&G is the creation of masterminds Monroe Zeffert and Aaron Gold, two longtime friends, industry veterans and business partners who partnered up in 1984 to fill a void in the local catering market. Over the course of almost 30 years the pair has witnessed the company blossom.
The duo’s business expanded with Celebrations Kosher Catering, Z&G’s sister company that specializes in Kosher event planning and catering. Celebrations Kosher Catering was officially formed in 2001 and operates from the same facility in Baltimore as Z&G, just with separate freezers, walk-in refrigerators and kitchens to prepare meals in compliance with Kashrut laws and under the supervision of a rabbinical authority.
Quality, freshness and fun are the core of every Z&G event, whether corporate or religious, intimate or all-inclusive. Both Zeffert and Gold remain as personally involved in the business as when the pair first started the company.
“Our biggest challenge these days is actually that all of our hosts still request that we personally supervise every event, but I can only be in one place at a time,” admits Zeffert, owner and manager of Z&G.
The key is all in the timing; Zeffert and Gold work with a team of 24 full-time professionals and a host of part-time, seasonal staffers on an as-needed basis to make magic from food, drink and friends.
Most of Z&G events are located within Baltimore and the Northern Virginia suburbs. However, the Z&G team has traveled to the Eastern Shore of Maryland on occasion.
The team’s flexibility has allowed the company to amass an extensive portfolio of catered events, including weddings of all sizes, corporate events of all seasons and a healthy dose of bar and bat mitzvahs. The company has refined a set of standard menus to fit each and every budget and event from buffet style wedding receptions to a corporate cocktail mixer menu with stations of hors d’oeuvres designed to entice. Special requests are always welcomed and the company has made a name for itself by welcoming clients with open arms and ears, even at the last minute.
During the week the Z&G team focuses primarily on preparing for upcoming events, ensuring the right linens are sent out with the right nonperishable items, giving Zeffert and Gold a little more leeway to handle long-term event planning.
“We have a terrific team of managers who really represent our standards as a company,” reflects Zeffert. “But we’re still very involved in the business, fielding phone calls requesting proposals, adjusting the proposal, meeting with clients and families for tastings and coordinating with other vendors.”
Prepared for Anything
With decades of experience the Z&G team understands that no amount of preparation and logistical strategizing can eliminate the possibility of a few surprises, and Z&G has survived and thrived because of its ability to remain flexible in all situations. Z&G recently catered the annual fund-raising benefit for the Hebrew Home of greater Washington, D.C., bringing in a complete set of specialized cooking equipment and set up a mobile cooking station in a spare ballroom where the team cooked a kosher dinner for 500 guests.
“We once catered a very large wedding on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, that required us to cook all of the hot food ahead of time at our commissary and deliver it to site by helicopter,” recalls Zeffert. “It may seem crazy, but it would have proved actually more difficult to try and cook the quantity of food needed in tents on-site.”
The helicopter shipment was preceded by one truck loaded full of nonperishable items. A second refrigerated truck stocked with the perishable items followed, which were unloaded and served on site alongside the airlifted items, ensuring that the quality of the entire meal met Z&G’s high standards.
The company even begins planning for major holidays months in advance, preparing matzo balls and chicken soup to be frozen weeks ahead of the Passover Seder. The extra attention to detail and preparation gives clients absolute confidence in the Z&G team, which Zeffert attests results in a large majority of clients coming either through direct referral or through location referral. The company is proudly affiliated with local synagogues and non-religious event venues in the area like Baltimore’s Meyerhoff Symphony Hall and the historic Westminster Hall, a converted Gothic-style church also in Baltimore.
Embracing Fresh Ideas
However, Z&G has accumulated an ever-growing following of clientele by continually embracing new ideas. The company has launched an eco-sensitive policy for all of its catering operations, recycling where possible, incorporating local ingredients and seasonal produce, and donating leftover foods to the local food bank. Z&G offices are lit with high-efficiency lighting systems, use green cleaning products and stock recycled paper products.
“We also host an annual Bar and Bat Mitzvah Showcase with all of our related vendors, photographers and event planners to meet our clients and vice versa,” adds Zeffert.
More recently the Z&G team opened a concession stand for the third year at the Baltimore’s Preakness Stakes, the second leg of the U.S. Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing. Z&G served up falafel for the first two years and switched to more standard veggie burgers for vegetarians this year, but the company’s famous corned beef sandwiches returned again, always cooked and served freshly on site alongside pit beef, chicken kabobs, bratwurst and French fries. “It’s not our usual event, but we decided to keep it going because it was such a success,” admits Zeffert.
Adding to its offerings, Z&G was recently named a member of the True Blue program, a new labeling and promotion program organized by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to highlight vendors and restaurants serving guaranteed Maryland crabmeat. No matter the season, the Z&G team will be busy seeing that every client feels taken care of, with helicopters at the ready if needed. With every successful wedding reception and bar mitzvah, Zeffert & Gold Catering and Event Planning adds another brick to its place as a purveyor of the finest fresh foods to highlight any festivity.