Welcome to Partner Provisions, where we introduce you to the incredible people and stories behind the restaurants, food trucks and caterers helping ZeroCater feed the workforce – breakfast, lunch, dinner and every meal in between.
- Name: Benjamin Young
- Restaurant: Bijou Catering
- Cuisine: International with a focus on French and Asian
- City: San Francisco
In one sentence tell us who Bijou Catering is
We are a catering company that specializes in providing a variety of fresh and delicious meals for corporate clients.
Tell us about Bijou Catering!
We started Bijou Restaurant & Bar in 2008. I opened it with a childhood friend. It was a dream of ours. We were a contemporary French restaurant. Our chef, who was also a childhood friend who came directly from Paris. We were a dinner-only restaurant at the time with a focus on small plates and mixology style cocktails. In 2013 we decided to do some lunch catering since we had an underutilized kitchen and staff. Thus began our partnership with ZeroCater. Our business flourished, so much that in 2016 we decided to sell the restaurant and focus 100% of our catering efforts.
What was the very first menu item?
Our very first menu item was a Pan Seared Duck Breast with a Grape Gastrique. It was our chef’s favorite dish. Unfortunately, the economics of this dish doesn’t make it feasible to serve in a catering capacity.
Tell us about one of your signature dishes!
One of our signature dishes is our Beef Bourguignon. It is a traditional French dish that we had on our menu at the restaurant and is one of the first items we put on our catering menu. We do a 4-hour braise on the beef to make it nice and tender. The mushrooms, bacon, and onions really create a depth of flavor for this dish. Some types of food don’t travel well and lose quality over time. Beef Bourguignon travels very well which we think makes it a great menu item.
What is one thing not many know about Bijou Catering?
One thing people may not know about us is that none of our core team has gone to culinary school. We all have a deep passion for food and love what we do. Our education came directly on the front lines in restaurant kitchens, which I would argue can be a better setting for learning how to cook.
What’s your favorite thing about feeding companies?
Our favorite thing about feeding companies is that it allows us to make people happy. We are in the service industry for a reason. We enjoy providing delicious food to the masses. It gives is a great sense of satisfaction.
What do you like most about partnering with ZeroCater?
Partnering with ZeroCater is one of the best things we have ever done. ZeroCater allows us to focus on doing what we love. Cooking. ZeroCater allows us the freedom to cook and only cook. We can do exactly what we are passionate about and what we are good at. We are not distracted by the burdens of marketing, billing, invoicing, accounts receivables, client communications, menu generation, etc. As you know, we do not have a website or social media. We don’t have these things because we don’t want to complicate what we do. We want to remain focused on the food and ZeroCater allows us to do just that.
Tell us about a time where Bijou Catering brought people together or helped to foster community
When we still had the brick and mortar, we would regularly host community events, participate in city events with food donations and the use of our facility. We’ve also partnered with local charities such as The Kid’s Breakfast Club and FESCO.
What is your biggest challenge as a restaurateur or chef?
The biggest challenge we face is staffing. With the natural ebbs and flows of this industry, it makes it difficult to keep staff when things are slow and obtain staff when things get busy.
What piece of advice would you offer to someone starting out in the food industry?
The advice I would give is to always do things the right way. Focus on the food and it’s execution. Everything else will eventually fall into place if the food is good.
Where do you see Bijou Catering in the future?
I see us doing much of the same. As with any business, you would just hope for some growth. But we are doing exactly what we want to do.
Order from Bijou Catering for your office!