We’re so happy to welcome a new addition to our team for the spring – Natalie Osborne. Here is an account of her first full week with Royal Fig…
Hi, everyone! I’m Natalie, the first official Royal Fig Intern! After just two weeks and three events, I already have lots of stories and updates to share. But let me first say that I now realize just how lucky I am to be learning from Kristen and Dan, two truly talented and inspired people.
March 1st: I step into the Royal Fig office and we immediately get started on our weekly meeting. So far I’m learning the ins and outs of event planning, from ordering linens to planning which trays to use for passed apps. There are so many tiny details to be considered and I love it. I am definitely in my happy zone here. Later today I also have my very own first taste of the Royal Fig cuisine at a tasting for The Vineyard at Florence. W-O-W! I hate to use clichés but the only thing that comes to mind is “melt-in-your mouth.” I have now tried the famous creole mustard mashed potatoes and the doughnuts with homemade lemon curd and chocolate ganache.
March 2nd: Kristen and I go on a site visit for a March 6th pre-wedding party that I’ll be attending. We meet Letty, the bride-to-be and see her freshly constructed backyard venue. Here, I learn about table layouts and space planning. It is so fun to see a completely empty space and envision the final product. Only a week before I get to see it in person.
March 5th: Today I sat in on Kristen’s menu consultation with Matt and Emily for their 2011 wedding. They are thinking about going with the salmon. (I hope so, because I’m dying to try it myself!) Afterward, Kristen smiled and reminded me that we had a giant stack of about 100 RF menus to be assembled. Guess what I’m doing this weekend!
March 11th: My very first Royal Fig event!! I’m full of nervous excitement, but Kristen guides me the whole way. I start by doing about 50 squats as I tie on all the decorative chair ties, but I’m rewarded later by having a sampling of the duck breast with grit cakes.
Today was a promotional event at Memory Lane for wedding and event planners. There was a great turnout and all the vendors, including Rojo Pictures and Winery on the Gruene, were well received. After lunch, I got to do a little bussing of the tables, and I didn’t spill one thing in anyone’s lap. I was proud of myself.
This was a good warm-up for this weekend. I took some scrumptious Stardust Pastries goodies for the road, including my personal favorite, the macaroons.
March 13th: Tonight is Letty’s party, whom I met last week during my first site visit. When we arrive at the house, I’ve already helped the servers fold about 200 napkins. As tedious as it is, I’m glad I’m getting experience with a bit of everything. And I’m gaining so much respect for the servers, who are some of the hardest working people I know!
It’s a long night for everyone with three passed apps, a full buffet, and two full bars. But the couple-of-honor has giant smiles on their faces, and the bride is stunning in her spaghetti-strap dress and white floral hair ornament. And no less than three guests pulled me aside to ask me who did the catering after raving about the meal. I think it was the almond stuffed dates wrapped in bacon. That’s what sold me, anyway. Kristen sent me home early tonight so I could “get some rest” for tomorrow’s full day event. Oh, no…
March 14th: I’m at the Royal Fig office by 10am with my large latte, and we start loading the van. We’re prepping for Gaby and Steven’s early afternoon wedding at the Zilker Clubhouse. When we get there it’s a clean slate, so we are setting up all the tables, linens, kitchen, and so on. The center pieces and place settings will arrive later with the groomsmen.
Everything is running smoothly for the first few hours, but then the kite festival at Zilker throws a small wrench in the day’s plans. The wedding was about an hour delayed due to traffic, but by the end of the night I don’t think anyone even remembered. And I learned a very important lesson that one must always be flexible. Kristen masterfully ran the show, deciding to serve guests in the ceremony hall while they waited, and coaching the bridal party for the procession once everyone arrived. Chef Dan and Sous Chef Jason were pros, ready with the first course just minutes after the end of the ceremony. This event also highlights the value of fresh catering! Even with over an hour delay, the guests had a fresh, hot meal served. This would not have been possible if the food had arrived to the site premade. After they eat, we wait the rest of the evening while the guests drink and be merry.
Today I got to help in creating a full-service event and see the entire process from empty venue, to 85-person plated meal, back to empty venue. I drove back to the office at 9pm to help Kristen and Dan unload the van. It was a very long day for the Royal Fig crew, and about 11 hours for me personally. I haven’t been that exhausted in a really long time. But I have the feeling of accomplishment in the end. Now for some R&R before we do it all again.