A meal is much more than food on a plate, it’s an experience of the senses. The tastes of a rich wine, the tantalizing aroma of freshly prepared ingredients, the visually distinct surroundings, the chatter of good company and the satisfying feeling of placing your hands on your stomach after the final bite. Mmmmmm!
Jody LoMenzo understands this concept as she curates a dining experience of delicious detail. Her company, A Joyful Gathering, brings people together over individually crafted plates of food.
“I’ve always been a firm believer in bringing people together around a table. Enjoying a meal, enjoying the company, and creating a joyful gathering,” LoMenzo explained how she came up with the name of her latest business venture.
Upon moving to Virginia 28 years ago LoMenzo, a noted media professional, started to turn a hobby into a side business. With a full-time career and raising a daughter, preparing dinner for others in peoples personal homes became a creative outlet that was well received.
“Friends asked me to cook and to do their parties. I love entertaining, it’s a natural passion,” LoMenzo reminisced about growing up in Bellmore, a town on the south shore of Nassau County, with a family that had a love for food and Sunday dinners. “It’s my way of giving people an opportunity to take a break, breathe the air, sip the wine.”
Now, she has returned to her home grown roots on Long Island to serve the Hamptons community effortless entertaining directly in their homes.
“I’m not a caterer in the sense I don’t do large scale, mass produced food. I am making food prepared to the menu, to the host’s wishes with my suggestions,” LoMenzo stated.
The relaxed lifestyle of the Hamptons, whether it’s full time or a weekend escape, brings to mind a sense of serenity. Like anywhere else, the idea of unpacking groceries and entertaining guests after a long work day brings additional stress. Between the deer, the darkness and the drinks, driving after an evening out can become treacherous. A Joyful Gathering fixes all of these issues in the most splendid way.
LoMenzo buys the groceries, cooks, serves and cleans, all directly in a clients home, a full circle service. She enjoys interacting with guests by making an appetizer or dessert together. She even offers cooking classes!
“One time I brought homemade pastry and the group of people helped peel, slice and cut apples into bowls with cinnamon and sugar, flour and spices. Groups of two paired off to make their own apple tarts for dessert. It was interesting the different shapes and sizes, it even turned into a funny competition.”
More than just personalized cooking, A Joyful Gathering includes an option for wine pairings. LoMenzo works with local wine merchants to taste the local grapes that compliment her dishes. She is also offering her services as an auction item at fund raising events. Her recent auction at Southampton Animal Shelter’s Spay-ghetti Dinner was a raving success!
Preparing food is an art form of the senses. However you choose to “come to the table and break bread” let it be ‘a joyful gathering.’ Cheers!
A Joyful Gathering is available solely on the east end right now, primarily on the South Fork. Brunch and dinner services are competitive to a restaurant, approximately $30-$50 a person depending on the ingredients used. In efforts to maximize the experience, buffet services are offered for 20 people or less, sit down meals for 10, and food and wine pairings a capacity of 12. All bookings must be made 10 days in advance.
Email Jody for more at firstname.lastname@example.org
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