Vendor Spotlight: Ethan Mantle of Componere Fine Catering

This month's vendor spotlight is on one of our all time favorite chefs, Ethan Mantle, owner of Componere Fine Catering. Ethan reminds us that food can be interesting, playful and still delicious. He's always coming up with new ideas and pushing boundaries that other caterers wouldn't think to push. We recently sat Ethan down for a quickie Q&A to get his thoughts on today's food business. Enjoy!

How did you get started in the catering industry?
Friends started asking me to cater their weddings when I was working in
restaurants. I looked down on catering as being for hacks until I actually
started doing it and realized you didn’t have to take the short cuts commonly
associated with catering.

What’s your favorite type of event to do?
It’s not as much about the type as what the client is like. I love what I do so if
they’re enjoyable to work with and appreciate good food I’m happy to do the
event. That said, I appreciate the “high stakes” of wedding catering. People
care about what happens on their wedding day and are looking for a dining
experience worth remembering.

What's your favorite restaurant in San Francisco? East Bay? NYC?
SF – Benu was probably the best meal I’ve had on the West Coast. Dottie’s
Blue Ribbon Café is awesome for breakfast and I always enjoy eating at
Nopalito and flour+water. The okra at Shalimar is worth an occasional trip to
the Tenderloin. In the East Bay, Commis, Plum, and the Chez Panisse Café are
three of my favorites. I went on an eating trip to NY last year and had good
meals at Momofuko Saam Bar, Eleven Madison Park, Scarpetta and Nextamle.
Four star food is sometimes disappointing but the best meal of my life was at
Daniel in 1998.

When you’re not in the kitchen, what’s your favorite thing to eat?
Really depends on my mood but I love fruit and am always game for a good

What's your favorite breakfast food?
Multi-grain blueberry pancakes with maple syrup.

Favorite brewer?

Know of any hot new chefs we should be on the lookout for?
Matt Hegel, my chef de cuisine. That’s why I hired him!

What's your favorite venue in the Bay Area to work at?
I prefer outdoor venues and the load in is brutal but the seriously awesome
kitchen at the Julia Morgan Ballroom might make it my favorite.

What's one food trend you’re sick of seeing?
Tuna tartar in a cone or on a wonton.

Food trend you’ll never get sick of?

You can also check out Ethan's organic garden at Kunde Winery next time you're in Sonoma.

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