Coastal Cuisine provides catering services

1 Jun 2005 | Lance Cpl. Matthew K. Hacker

Many service members and their families who work full-time jobs and struggle to balance a healthy family relationship may not have the time to cook, let alone prepare for a large party of special event. A professional caterer is undoubtedly the answer to party planning prayers.

Many people would get on the phone and call local caterers, and after meeting with a few of them, select the best one fitting the bill, but there is no need to leave the base to find help.

Marine Corps Community Services has a catering service at Camp Lejeune.

Coastal Cuisine, located at Marston Pavilion, has an experienced staff to help plan special events from the informally relaxed to the formally elegant.

No matter what type of event is being planned, whether a wedding reception, a promotion party, a retirement ceremony, business conferences, casual or formal dinners, a breakfast meeting or an award banquet, the Coastal Cuisine staff have the knowledge and experience to assist with all the planning.

As everyone knows, planning is the key to any successful special event, according to Hester Best, MCCS marketing.

Karen Lawhorn, catering director, and Linda Shockley, catering sales manager, have almost 40 years combined experience in the food and beverage business. Lawhorn began working with the Food & Hospitality Division 25 years ago in the clubs system and has worked in all facets of the business – from bartending to managing to directing.

“I think I’ve found my niche,” said Lawhorn. “I love what I do here.”

Shockley began her career with MCCS 12 years ago as a waitress at the Staff Noncommissed Officers Club. Over the years, her titles have included waitress, waitress leader and dining room manager.

The transfer to Coastal Cuisine was the best thing that could have happened to her at this point in her career, according to Shockley.

“I love working with people,” she continued. “I enjoy helping clients make the right decisions when it comes to their event. Knowing a client trusts my knowledge to assist them is very fulfilling.”

Coastal Cuisine caters events big and small – from the annual Marine Corps Birthday Balls, where several thousand guests attend – to an evening dinner party, where as few as 50 guests would gather.

Some of the first things to consider are the dates and locations. A good rule of thumb is to plan early and get the reservations for the date and location reserved as soon as possible, according to Best. It is recommended to make reservations for a large event such as a wedding reception up to six to 12 months in advance.

There are many various local facilities available to Coastal Cuisine clients including the golf course club, the officer’s club, Marston Pavilion and the lodge at the stables, according to Lawhorn.

“We cater to anything affiliated with the base,” added Lawhorn. “We’ll do pretty much anything on base.”

While clients may already have a facility in mind for an event, when they come in to begin discussing the planning for the occasion, the catering staff will make them aware of the various options available to best meet their needs.

“We can assist a client with these questions and keep them on track with their budget,” said Lawhorn. “Most clients would rather have a little bit left over than not have enough servings to go around. Our suggestions are intended to help the client, not break their budget. We want their event to be a success just as much as they do.”

Once all decisions are made, a contract will be drawn between the caterer and the client. Once completed the contract becomes a central execution tool for planning the event.

It is very important that should something change on the contract, such as the number of guests or date or the event, the information be reported to the catering staff immediately, according to Best.

The entire staff at Coastal Cuisine looks forward to having the opportunity to serve clients with all special events – large or small, casual or formal.

For more information on receiving help in planning a special event, please call the ladies at Coastal Cuisine at 451-1144 or 451-1244.