Lifestyle

New catering service opens on Mercer Island

Lynn Michael poses in her kitchen on Mercer Island, where she fills orders for Salon Catering. - Contributed photo
Lynn Michael poses in her kitchen on Mercer Island, where she fills orders for Salon Catering.
— image credit: Contributed photo

Lynn Michael was 10 years old when she made her first Thanksgiving dinner — granted, with her aunt’s help.

Now, she has a new business underway: Salon Catering, serving Mercer Island, Seattle and the Eastside.

“I thought it would be great to have high-quality restaurant food in the comfort of your own home, where you can ... concentrate on being the hostess and have someone else do the cooking and cleaning up,” Michael said. “I tried to create a menu that is kid-friendly. It frees up the host to attend to the guests.”

Michael has been preparing dinners for people and showers for a long time, she said. “I just decided to go ahead and create a business formally, and actually do menus.”

Salon Catering offers appetizers, soups, salads, a la carte entrees, sides and desserts, brunch and kids’ selections. Family-style dinner choices ranging from Greek to Italian, Indian and Moroccan, carry influence from Michael’s travels to countries such as France and Italy — where she was impressed by “simplistic quality,” she said.

“It’s amazing what you can do with fresh ingredients, and that’s the kind of cooking they do. It feels very earthy to me — I love their smoked meats, cruscuto. If I could choose a place to live and eat, it would probably be Italy. Fresh crusty bread, the eggplant — I’ve kind of incorporated a lot of that simplicity into a lot of the dishes.”

Before starting Salon Catering, Michael worked as a professional cook at the Caribou Ranch recording studio in Colorado — serving up musicians such as Elton John, the Beach Boys and Chicago, when the studio was in operation.

One of Michael’s greatest challenges, she said, is that she doesn’t use recipes; she experiments. However, after some instances of not being able to recreate certain dishes, she has begun taking notes.

“I realized I was going to have to start writing things down ... A lot of it has been experimentation. Now I actually have a pen and pad in my kitchen so now as I start to write, I’ll put a little note on there [like] needs more lemon; too many capers.”

Occasionally she has help from her husband, Alan. The couple also has a pet care business, Mercer Island Pet Care — making house visits, walking dogs, giving medications.

Michael caters to smaller events with a maximum of 50-70 people, and sit-down dinners limited to 25 or 30. The minimum order is $200.

“The most rewarding aspect, I think, is when people really respond to the cooking and say, ‘Oh, my gosh, this is the best shrimp I’ve ever had.’ So it’s very rewarding to be acknowledged that way,” she said, adding, “I really enjoy it. When you have a small group, when you’re developing a relationship and menu with someone, you just have more of a chance to connect with people. So I really enjoy that, meeting with people and working collaboratively to come up with a menu that they really like.”

For more information, go to www.saloncatering.com or call (206) 919-5235.

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