Beautiful Day Catering is owned and operated by the mother-daughter team, Mary Curtis and Kari Ellis. Mary and Kari studied at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Minneapolis/St. Paul together in 2005-2006 to learn all about cooking in a professional environment for larger groups, and to be classically trained as top-notch chefs. Upon graduation, they began to pursue their dream of opening their own catering business. They thoroughly enjoy working together to create beautiful and delicious food.
Mary and Kari are proud members of Women Who Really Cook, a network of women culinary professionals in the Twin Cities. The chefs operate out of a shared kitchen in Lowertown St. Paul, where they work alongside other innovative small businesses. Their kitchen is part of an important composting and recycling initiative.
MARY CURTIS (Send Email)
I am a product of foodies from way back…before they were called foodies. Having a French grandmother on my mother’s side who cooked in quantities that could feed an army and a Norwegian grandfather on my dad’s side who owned Mickey’s Sandwich Shop, a small diner in NE Minneapolis, made us a food-centric family. To us adoring granddaughters, Mickey’s was “Grandpa’s Shop” and I dream about his luscious hamburgers and yummy ice cream to this day. All hamburgers are compared to his, and none have come close. The diner has been closed for over thirty years, and dear Grandpa went to heaven shortly after it closed, but it remains in my heart forever. Food is like that. It evokes emotions and memories unlike any other thing. My parents raised me in a home of true hospitality and gracious entertaining. Every holiday and gathering centered on great food and warm hospitality. So, naturally, when I had a family of my own, I strived to cook and entertain like my parents. As my daughters grew up they loved helping in the kitchen: kneading bread dough, making and decorating sugar cookie cutouts, and of course, licking the beaters. As they entered their teen years, they were busy with school work and social lives and their bouts in the kitchen with me were few and far between. That is until Kari started dating her future husband. Then suddenly, the adventures in our kitchen became more frequent and adventurous. This continued as she constantly took on culinary challenges. When she moved to California, she became the office gourmet and brought in treats frequently. Her colleagues became enthralled by her luscious creations and she was asked to cater a wedding reception for a friend…from her tiny, tiny apartment kitchen. So, her sister, Kristin, and I flew out to Pasadena to lend our hand. Talk about memories, I don’t think I had ever been that tired in my life! I think Greg got sent to the store to pick up missing ingredients about 20 times! Looking back, I am surprised that I am in this line of work now, but we decided if we could pull that off, we could do ANYTHING! Then the next weekend it was another gig involving a 40th birthday party and pool-side appetizers. I flew out to help again. During the party, the band members came in to the kitchen to nibble and hang out. One of the members was raving about the meat skewers he was eating. He thought they were chicken. When we told him they were pork, he laughed and exclaimed in words I won’t repeat here, “PORK!!! I’m a *&^%^%(())@# Jew!” We laughed and laughed. He did too. It’s always fun in the kitchen! When Kari and Greg moved back to Minneapolis, we decided we needed to take this to the next level and enrolled in the culinary program at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts. We graduated together in 2006 and have been pursuing our dream of working together and providing delicious foods prepared with care and great ingredients ever since. Our dream has finally come true! We make a great team and I hope we can help you entertain your guests in a way that will make you proud, relaxed and able to be a guest at your own special gathering. After all, isn’t your goal to create a beautiful day?
KARI ELLIS (Send Email)
Growing up, I remember spending lots of time at the kitchen chatting with my mom as she cooked and watching her effortlessly get dinner on the table for the four of us. I rarely helped with anything other than setting the table. In high school, I started to become more interested in baking, especially after receiving my first real cookbook as a gift, Death By Chocolate by Marcel Desaulniers. The first recipe in it that I tackled was the Chocolate Trinity Parfaits, which I found daunting and exhausting, but delicious. (Now, I think it’s one of the simplest desserts to “throw” together…so funny how things change!) When I started dating my now husband, I wanted to make him a special dinner for Valentine’s Day at my parents’ house. Back then, I didn’t know the difference between a clove of garlic and a bulb of garlic. Oops! Good thing Greg is a fan of garlic! Needless to say, after we got married, I was determined to be a good cook, just like my mom. So, I requested my favorite recipes of hers and called her many nights a week asking for clarification and specific instructions for her recipes (what EXACTLY do you mean “to taste”?!). I eventually subscribed to Bon Appetit magazine and Martha Stewart Living and spent my Saturday mornings soaking in cooking shows on PBS. Soon, I was buying things like Basmati Rice and Kale at the grocery store and trying new recipes every week. I guess you could say I got obsessed with food. That obsession was soon awarded with countless compliments by friends and family with whom I shared my experiments. I gained a lot of confidence, and started dreaming about making food for friends for a living. During a brief period of time when Greg and I lived in Southern California, my mom and I started talking about what it would be like to start our own catering business upon our return to Minnesota. Dreams started to turn into concrete plans and more than 10 years later, they have become reality! I am full of joy, and am grateful that God has given us this amazing opportunity to serve others in the very funnest way possible!