Sharon resident Neil Morris opened his catering business NRM Catering/A Perfect Taste in 2001 in Newton and then relocated to Stoughton at 530 Washington Street in 2007 when he needed a larger space.
A Perfect Taste has been prominent in the kosher community for several years.
The business expanded again a few weeks ago with a retail store in Stoughton that features cupcakes, gourmet popcorn, bark, pastries, specialty cakes, celebration cakes and sculpted cakes. They also feature a selection of homemade soups.
Patch sat down with Morris to find out more about his business.
Patch: Can you tell us about the two names for your business?
Morris: At the moment, NRM Catering is the business name for the social and event catering services. A Perfect Taste is the business name for corporate functions and the retail store. We know it's confusing, so with that in mind, we have begun the process of changing the name for the entire company over to A Perfect Taste.
Patch: What is A Perfect Taste?
Morris: We are a full service off premise catering company that is fortunate to be able to play a role in many important moments in many lives. We also have a really sweet cupcake store and because we have our kosher certification, we offer a wide array of baked goods that are dairy free ranging from a simple cookie to the most elaborate wedding cakes. Our team takes great measure to perfect these recipes to the point where most people never realize they are dairy free.
Patch: What types of events do you cater?
Morris: A Perfect Taste caters so many different occasions for people from all over the world. Included in the diverse portfolio of our events are first communions, Bar Mitzvahs, weddings, political events, anniversaries, graduations - you name it, we cater it.
Though we cater in beautiful Boston hotels, Mansions in Newport, Rhode Island, backyards all over New England, beaches on Cape Cod, etc., we really love when we get to cater in our “backyard" - A wedding in Sharon, a Bar Mitzvah in Canton, a Christmas party at Endicott Estate in Dedham for the International Special Event Society (ISES), a golf outing in Walpole or a ballgame in Foxborough, we take a lot of pride serving the local community.
(A Perfect Taste also just catered the recent Passover Seder held at the Stoughton Public Library, as part of the Stoughton Reads Together Program.)
Patch: What are some of the challenges of catering?
Morris: In the catering world, there are many challenges. There is the challenge of being at a different location for each event, having to worry about someone else’s equipment or facility, pleasing crowds in the hundreds or thousands with menus that may only have three choices for dinner that evening, being and staying on the same page as all different types of vendors and though there are way too many to list, one that is sometimes forgotten in our industry but focused on is to understand and respect people of all cultures and serve them to the best of our ability while doing so.
The challenge comes when an outside idea is suggested that we know won’t work logistically, or best serve our client. You know you can’t say yes, but people anywhere in life tend to have a strong dislike for being told no.
Patch: Is that a nice way of saying everyone has an opinion?
Morris: Well, I haven’t found a person yet without an opinion. The key is having a great team like we do at A Perfect Taste that is so good at hearing the client and making their ideas work even when logic dictates it can’t by suggesting and making subtle changes. That is different from saying no or discarding a client’s opinion.
Patch: What advice would you give to others starting out in this industry?
Morris: Make sure you love the industry and make sure you have “it.”
Patch: Define “it."
Morris: [It] Can’t be defined, or maybe it can be by smarter people then me. “It” is an intangible that either a person has or does not. There is no teaching, or mentoring it. In Catering or even our cupcake store, the hours are long, the sacrifices you make to your family for other families are vast. The demanding physical nature, the mental taxation of knowing someone’s most important day can be tarnished if you have a bad day, or even a bad minute is a lot to carry. You just need to love it, and have “it.”
Patch: Why do you do it?
Morris: The challenge I think is always a driving force. But mostly, I think it is the rush...The constant pressure to succeed for others. The need to constantly design and create new scenes to make every event a story of its own. It is addictive.
The things we get to see are amazing. We get to catch that smile when a mother watches her only daughter dance with her father on her wedding day, to comfort people during the unfortunate events in life, to shake the hand of that Foreign Head of State that is a couple of meetings removed from his/her last trip to the White House, to see a table full of everyday people like us active in conversation with the pro athlete of the day while they are dining on our food.
Then there is the challenge of serving over a thousand guests at an event such as Israeli Independence Day Gala reception with a pre-event checklist of hundreds of details that all need to be planned spot on in order to have the event unfold perfectly.
Patch: Your retail business has recently expanded in Stoughton? So you're more than just cupcakes there now?
Morris: I would say so. We have a large selection of homemade soups such as sweet potato with caramelized onions, butternut squash, chicken and wild mushroom, tomato lentil and roasted carrot and dill.
We also feature specialized cakes, gourmet candy and popcorn, beverages and a place to sit down and enjoy your selection.
Patch: What do you hope to see in 2013?
Morris: Be it cupcakes or catering, I want to see A Perfect Taste continue to grow, continue to strive for perfection and really grow our community service piece in helping local schools, food banks and charities.
If A Perfect Taste can be as strong in 2013 as it was in 2012, we are going to be able to play a part in so many great life events and continue to help the local communities that are so good to A Perfect Taste.
Speaking of which, I want to take this moment to thank all of you for such great support and continuing to welcome us into your lives.
A Perfect Taste is located at 530 Washington St. in Stoughton. For more information, call 781-297-7995.