My First Catering Experience – Kentucky Derby Style!

Sometimes we go down paths in life for a reason.  I have had the opportunity to help a family for a few weeks.  They asked me to cater their Kentucky Derby party.  I was taken aback by the opportunity….ME cater a party?  I have had a lot of training, but I have never actually catered a party on my own.  BUT I am always up for a new challenge!

To make the party perfect, well we needed to include some Kentucky Derby favorites.  There is a pecan pie WITH chocolate….ummm….YUM!  I shared the recipe on Queen City Exclusive.  I decided to take the pie to another level, and make them into little mini pieces of happiness.

I had someone actually come and pile a bunch of the pies in some plastic wrap, and then quickly disappear.  So I guess you could say they were enjoyed by everyone.

The drink of the Kentucky Derby is the mint julep.  They are intense with bourbon, so you really have to LOVE bourbon to enjoy the drink fully.  Or maybe just give a little love when making the drink, and people will ask for more.

I have never made a mint julep before, I actually had to cheat a bit with a recipe close by in the beginning- but I guess I make a mean mint julep, because I had people asking me to make them a second one, bonus!

I shared some history about mint juleps, and a recipe on Queen City Exclusive last week.

Another Kentucky Derby favorite, the hot brown sandwich.  It is a open-face sandwich, with two slices of bread, turkey, lots and lots of cheese sauce, and topped with two pieces of crispy bacon.

I decided to deconstruct the sandwich, and make it into a finger food.  With some help from my husband, and the lovely Nelly, we worked as a team to make the perfect appetizer.

I made my favorite homemade focaccia bread recipe, but  included crispy bacon, and cheddar cheese baked into the bread.  Once the bread was spread out thin and cooked, I cut the bread in 30 mini pieces.  Then you top each piece of bread with turkey, and a half of a grape tomato.  On the side I had a bowl of homemade cheese sauce to either dip the sandwich in, or to top the sandwich off.

The sandwiches were well received, I actually noticed someone grab about ten of them in a VERY short period of time.  He was very sly about it though!

I decided to add in a few fun food favorites to the party, mozzarella-basil-tomato skewers, and strawberry basil dessert with homemade whipped cream.  The mozzarella-tomato-basil skewers were a colorful and refreshing mix to the other food choices.

Thank you to my beautiful husband, he assembled all 72 of those pretty little things

The strawberry-basil dessert is a favorite, everyone seems to rave about it  AND the best part, it is such an easy fun dessert.  Maybe someday I will share my fun secret, but for now it is Cafe Terra’s special recipe!

Someone actually brought fresh strawberries that had been just picked that day.  She was telling everyone to try my strawberries instead, and was raving about the basil flavor in them.

Everyone shared how much they enjoyed the food all night to me, it really warmed my heart.  I believe I have another element I will be adding to Cafe Terra’s services.

AND of course everyone had so much fun watching the Kentucky Derby, they even had some betting happening.  These people were serious, so fun!

Have you ever watched the Kentucky Derby?  What is your favorite party food to make?

Until next time, Come on in, Have a seat,

Hugs, Terra



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  • Terra, the food looks awesome! You know I'll be your Sous Chef anytime you need me!
    • Oh Nelly, I would love love to have you help me someday!!! You really are fantastic:-)
  • Yummychunklet
    Looks like it was a success! Congrats!
    • Thank you so much!!! Everyone was soooo happy, really warmed my heart:-)
  • Looks yummy!! Beautiful photos of delicious food :) Congrats on your first catering experience! As for watching the KD... I'm from Indiana and I've been a couple of times. It's a very special event. So much fun to be had!
    • Thank you so much Patti!!! I had such a lovely experience:-)
  • Woohoo! Congrat!s :)
    • Thank you so much!!! Hugs:-)
  • Congrats, Terra :) Everything looks delicious. xoxo
    • Thank you so much Yuri!!! That really means a lot:-) Hugs!
  • Congrats on surviving your first catering job! Everything looks delicious, and I especially love your idea for the sandwiches with the cheese and bacon baked into the bread. Kudos to your husband for helping skewer the cheese and tomatoes :-)
    • Thank you so much!!!! The catering event went so smoothly, and everyone seriously was so happy:-) I look forward to the next event! Hugs, Terra
  • Everything looks AMAZING! Congrats on your first catering job :)
    • Thank you so much dear friend! Hugs:-)
  • Everything looks just perfect, great job putting it all together!
    • Thank you so much!!!! Was organized, AND fun, love that:-) Hugs, Terra
  • Hope you get more catering jobs because you obviously had fun and did a fabulous spread.
    • Oh I am definitely working on marketing myself now, I had way too much fun catering. Thank you for the lovely comment:-) Hugs, Terra
  • BestOodles
    You have great idea of dishes plus have fun doing it.
    • Thank you so much!! I really did have a wonderful time:-) Hugs, Terra
  • [email protected]
     Oh how I wish I was a guest at their party!! Everything looks amazing! 
    • Thank you Kate, that is so sweet of you!  You would have had so much fun at the Kentucky Derby party!  Everyone was so sweet, and made the party perfect:-) Hugs, Terra
  • Wow! What great choices.  So festive and YUM!  Now, when's your next gig - :)
    • Thank you so much!  I really appreciate the lovely comment on my food for the catering event! Hugs, Terra
  • Nikki @ The Tolerant Vegan
    Looks like you did such a great job! And as a Kentucky girl, I have to say you nailed the food choices! 
  • I love those food perfect for my wedding. :)