Provisions Catering offers classy dishes at take-home prices
I’m sure I’m not the only person who occasionally craves a delicious, hand-crafted meal at home but simply doesn’t feel like spending—or doesn’t have—the requisite two to four hours necessary to prepare said meal. And, while I’ve never hosted a catered affair myself, I doubt that I’m the only one who would like to be able to sample a bit of a prospective caterer’s wares before opening negotiations for such an affair. That’s why I was so intrigued when a friend described her experience with Provisions Catering and Personal Chef Service.
Operating out of the old El Indio site at 15th and Park, Provisions offers both of the above opportunities and more.
I stopped in on a Wednesday afternoon about 15 minutes after phoning in a press-visit request and was very impressed to be ushered into the immaculately clean kitchen on such short notice. The focal point of Chef Scott Martinez’s kitchen is the gleaming, brushed-stainless-steel oven and grill set-up, from which he was just removing a gorgeous set of sausage pasties ($5.25/lb) as we began talking. The pasties weren’t those little round meat-and-potato pies that some are familiar with, but a somewhat more exotic puff pastry stuffed with homemade ground sausage and sautéed vegetables and sealed with a whimsical row of dinosaur fins down their golden-brown backs.
While I was enjoying the savory aroma of the fresh pasties blending with the pleasant hint of smoke from the kitchen’s wood-smoker/roaster, Martinez told me about his classical chef’s apprenticeship, which he started in California at what became the Steelhead Brewing Company and finished at the prestigious Atlanta Athletic Club, in Georgia. At the completion of his award-winning apprenticeship the American Culinary Federation conferred to him the title of Certified Culinarian.
Starting out small in Chico, Martinez and his wife Stacey built up their catering business mostly through word of mouth among satisfied customers. In April Provisions opened its storefront at the present location. Here, customers can walk in and choose take-home items from a variety of immaculately presented dishes in the refrigerated display case that faces the door of the cute, country-store-like space.
My eyes were drawn to the deep-golden fried buttermilk chicken ($4.50/lb.), smoked BBQ baby back ribs ($5.25/lb.), and smoke-roasted pork loin with peach chutney ($5.75/lb.). The sides of wild rice pilaf or coconut rice ($4.75/lb.) and assorted vegetable dishes, including a medley of roasted root vegetables ($6.25/lb.), looked like a satisfying way to complement the luxurious meat dishes. And then there are the desserts on the top shelf: German and Black Forest chocolate cakes ($2.50/slice) and raspberry cheesecake and chocolate torte ($2/slice).
Martinez offers a new carry-out menu every week featuring 20-plus gourmet-quality items and is also capable of working on custom menus for people with dietary restrictions or specialized requests. Aside from the rotating take-out menu, Provisions offers a 150-plus-item catering menu, with prices ranging from several 50-cents-per-person appetizers to $4-$8-per-person entrées.
Having spent most of an hour breathing in the delicious air and gazing at the scrumptious displays, there was no way I was leaving Provisions without a well-stuffed box of culinary treasures, so I can testify from personal experience that the fried chicken is crispy and suffused with delicate herbal accents, the meat melts off the rib bones succulent and smoky, and the roast garlic mashed potatoes are the best I’ve ever tasted.
If my colleague Henri Bourride is reading this, all I can say is: Watch out, Henri, Provisions could seriously decrease your motivation to review restaurants.