Good caterers are not unlike good magicians. They leave the crowd oohing and ahhing, wondering how they did it, and they make it all look easy. Kitchen Chicks, which recently celebrated its 10th year in business, is just such a caterer. Each year, owner Peggy Liversidge and her crew pull off dozens of weddings, birthday parties, family reunions, and other special events, working behind the scenes so guests and hosts can enjoy their special day. Liversidge also runs a retail shop, Cape Porpoise Kitchen, which offers prepared foods to go, wines, cheeses, and other items—fashioned, she says, “after a mini Balducci’s or Dean & DeLuca.” Kennebunk may be a seasonal market, but Liversidge keeps busy all year round. We recently caught up with her to chat about how she does it.
Catering is a second career for you. How did that come about?
I was in advertising when I got out of college. I worked in Boston, in an agency. But I was always interested in the events side of things; I was always drawn to parties and food. I met a woman at a Christmas party who had her own successful catering business, and I said, “I want to do that; I’d
be good at it.” I ended up getting a job with her, and when she abruptly got out of the business, a few of her friends and clients started calling me. I never considered myself an entrepreneur, but my husband,
who’s my best friend, pushed me and nudged me and said you can do it. One of the keys is to hire people who are very good at what they do and empower them, have them work with you to maintain the brand.
What is your “brand”?
Delicious food served with finesse and expertise. We want to make every occasion feel like a special occasion. Whether it’s a wedding, a birthday, or a funeral, we’re serving, we’re cleaning, we’re watching the schedule, making sure that everything goes as well as it can go. We get thank-you notes from customers saying, “You thought of everything.”
Do you think people expect regional flavors and flair from a catering company in Kennebunk?
In summer, probably 40 percent of events involve some sort of lobster. We do lobster bakes for rehearsal dinners, and people have them for weddings, too. All our brides are destination brides, and they want that Maine experience. And as much as we can, we try to get locally sourced ingredients— vegetables, seafood, blueberries.
What types of dishes or parties are trending in catering?
Family style has been hot for a while. It’s a hard thing to execute, though, and we try to talk clients out of it. Seated dinners are coming back, because brides today are paying for the wedding themselves, and a seated dinner controls costs and lets people get to the party—the band and the dancing with friends—sooner.
What's your favorite kind of party to cater?
I do love weddings. There’s nothing more gratifying than when you’re standing there at the end of the evening— you’re tired, but everyone is happy, and the mother of the bride is hugging you.
We love it.
Kitchen Chicks Catering
41 Water Street