I Wish I Met Merrill Before I Said, “I Do”

By -

A personal account of a bride’s struggle to find a caterer who cared about food as much as she did…

 

Four years ago, under the canopy of trees in my backyard, on a crisp autumn evening, I said, “I do” to the love of my life, Matt.


Grinning from ear to ear and tears welling in up in my eyes, we walked hand in hand to our warmly lit, incredibly large, tent to get the party started. We danced our way across the beautiful ambiance to our seats where our minutes old marriage was immediately tested. 

The caterer – who will go unnamed – brought out watery bisque, raw chicken, dry braised short ribs and proceeded to break my sister’s wedding gift – an engraved Irish crystal champagne flute. Oh, Merrill, why didn’t I meet you earlier?

No, I didn’t want to leave my husband; I wanted to leave my caterer. Matt and I were on a strict wedding budget because we footed the bill. After crunching the numbers, we came to the conclusion that we could splurge on one item. We are diehard foodies – well above fashionistas and florists – so we went with food, glorious food. Lured by the promise of perfection on a plate and choreographed service, we signed on the dotted line. Oh, Merrill, why didn’t I meet you earlier?

I honestly didn’t know what I was missing and what you should actually expect from a caterer until I saw Merrill and her crew from Delightful Desserts & Culinary Creations in action when they catered a private party at the historic Faunbrook Bed & Breakfast.

 

 

When I arrived, I expected Merrill to be slaving over a hot stove and barking out orders as food, plates and who knows what else flew around the kitchen. Instead, I met the calm and confident force that is Merrill Johnston.



I guess this Zen demeanor evolves from more than 20 years of experience as the caterer of choice for Chester County, Pa and the many accolades that have amassed during that timeframe. (Include link) Looking at the long list of awards, only one question came to mind, “Merrill, seriously, why didn’t I meet you earlier?”



During the prep phase of the Faunbrook evening, there was one detail that must be mentioned before I delve into my foodie crush on Merrill and begin salivating from the delicious memories.

Wandering around the main dining room, I tucked myself into a corner to observe the Delightful Desserts & Culinary Creations crew as they bustled from room to room to put the finishing touches on the venue. Merrill stepped out of the kitchen to begin her inspection. Her attention to detail was astonishing; nothing escaped the scrutiny of her surveillance. The plates must be stacked just so; the lighting is too bright; the candles are not centered; the kids will probably knock that vase off the low table…Merrill was amazing to watch.

Having OCD tendencies myself, this was right up my alley. However, what impressed me more was the reaction of Merrill’s crew when she dictated the list of necessary changes. Everyone immediately sprang to action and worked with a passion and vigor that is only seen when you believe in what you are doing and you believe in your leader. Merrill has earned the respect and love of everyone who steps into her kitchen. Heart and soul is the main ingredient in all of Merrill’s culinary creations and delightful desserts.

Failing to resist the aroma wafting from the kitchen, I stepped through the swinging door and was invited to taste each scrumptious morsel before me. With each bite, a full-blown caterer crush ensued. My taste buds were in love with the seared tuna in wonton cups with wasabi cream, followed by vegetable dumplings with citrus soy sauce and rounding out the butlered hors d’oeuvres were tequila fire shrimp bites and Peking duck spring rolls with a sweet chili sauce.


Yes, I know, my mouth is watering too and I haven’t even reached the main course or dessert! Next up was the butternut squash-apple soup that warmed me from the inside out as the crisp fall air blew through the kitchen. At this point, I was sure I could not eat another bite…until I got a nose full of the balsamic braised chicken with leeks and peas. 

I ended up rolling myself out of Faunbrook Bed & Breakfast with a huge, satisfied grin on my face, slightly smeared with the night’s feast.


Delightful Desserts and Culinary Creations has been serving the gastronomic needs of the tristate area for over 20 years. Merrill can whip up any creation for you or offer sample menus to ease your stress.

“My inspiration to create beautiful and wonderful tasting food comes from growing up in a family of great cooks, leaving me with many delicious childhood memories. Mom’s jellyrolls, Dad’s lamb stew and everything both grandmothers made. I loved to watch all the preparations and then see and taste the final results. Those smells and tastes are just as vivid today! When I create a special menu for a client and produce the final presentation, I know that my passion for food is truly in my blood!” 

No matter the venue, occasion or demands, Merrill and her crew at Delightful Desserts & Culinary Creations will consistently deliver perfection for the most memorable events of your life. “Merrill, I do want you as my caterer!” 


Meghan Kelly

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *