Woodside woman offers guide to catering business | December 12, 2012 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


Community - December 12, 2012

Woodside woman offers guide to catering business

by Jane Knoerle

Ever think about becoming a caterer? Read Doris Coonrad's new book, "Cooking up a Catering Business" ($25), based on her 30-plus years in the business. Ms. Coonrad will be at Roberts Market in Woodside from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15, to sign the self-published book and offer samples from its recipe section.

Ms. Coonrad, a Woodside resident, has written a practical and entertaining guide to the catering business. The book is also a cookbook for those who "entertain groups, both large and small."

Along with down-to-earth advice, Ms. Coonrad regales the reader with tales of her culinary adventures, from triumphs to near-disasters.

Ms. Coonrad's experience in cooking for a crowd began in college when she became program director for San Francisco State College Camp in the Sierras, preparing meals for 26 people on the cook's day off.

She skipped graduation to marry Warren Coonrad, a geologist for USGS. They lived in Alaska, Hawaii, West Africa, and all over California, meanwhile raising four kids. A hostess who "loved entertaining," she became known for putting on great parties. When the couple was posted in Liberia, she produced "beach events" for the Peace Corp, the U.S. Embassy and visiting VIPs and diplomats.

After Ms. Coonrad put on a luau for a friend in Marin County, her business, Catering by Coonrad, got its start in the Bay Area in the late 1970s when she began catering for friends in the Stanford community. In the book she notes there was a time when her company was doing about one job a week, just for Stanford.

The book's extensive recipe section contains many favorites Ms. Coonrad has used over the years, ranging from Cheese Nips (serves 25) to Berry Cobbler (serves 12 to 15), her most popular dessert. There are also many family-size recipes, some reflecting her years in Hawaii and Africa. She has also included actual menus used for brunches, luncheons, buffet dinners, and finger-food buffets.

Doris Coonrad is also available for teaching cooking or consulting for weddings or other events. Call 851-7483.


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