The Caterer: where local is always on the table

It's all about local for Chef Shay Kelly, the Irish- born, internationally-trained owner of The Caterer and T-Bird Café.

"As much as we can, we bring in local food," says Kelly. "Our menus feature local, seasonal food. For example, if it's blueberry season, then I'm writing menus featuring and highlight blueberries from local farmers."

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A plan of Kelly's is to highlight his local suppliers at his T-Bird Café to bring awareness to the rest of the community.

"I want to take a head shot of each of our suppliers and show them on the walls of the café with a little blurb that recommends them to our customers. I want to give back to the locals as much as they're giving to me. I plan on organizing a summer market and inviting all our suppliers. We'll stand shoulder to shoulder and say, 'Local is where it's at here!' We need to get that vibe created."

Offering catering services for corporate, family, and wedding events, Kelly and his team at The Caterer make just about everything fresh on the premises.

"I know every ingredient in everything we make," he says. "There are no preservatives. And I've travelled the world catering for different dietary preferences, so nothing is off the table. Just let us know what your preferences are."

His passion for fresh, local food is only matched by Kelly's passion for teaching kids how to cook.

"My long-term plan is to open a cooking school in Burnaby with a conference space above it. There'll be a variety of rooms, but one will feature 10-12 cooking stations. I can see us inviting high school kids to come in and work for one week in the year and teaching them how to cook good, nutritious food."

Indeed, a big part of Kelly's business is to support his local community in learning how to cook with the great flavour in local food.

"We've an abundance of farms between here and Abbotsford," he says. "And we're hiring a cordon bleu trained chef to support us in setting up cooking classes in Burnaby, North Vancouver, and other local areas so the community can see and appreciate the fabulous food we have locally."

For more information on The Caterer, Chef Kelly and his commitment to the community, call 778.723.0121, visit the website, email, or drop by the T-Bird Café at #106-3191 Thunderbird Crescent, Burnaby. The Caterer can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

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