ICC caught up with the 2012 Culinary Arts graduate and owner of Anat Catering to discuss how attending the International Culinary Center gave her the opportunities to love what she does throughout her career.
You have to be passionate about cooking and love what you do! If you wish to become a professional, you have to put in some serious time and effort. Study and work with the best and make your dream come true.” -Anat Vronsky
ICC: Please describe your catering business including the type of cuisine, workspace location, work schedule, type of clients, do you work alone or do you have employees, etc?
Anat: My catering business is located at the JCC in Palo Alto. We do all the preparations in that kitchen and cater events either at the JCC or at other venues in the Bay area. We cater almost any event from breakfast to dinner, corporate to private. We also cater special events such as bar/bat mitzvahs and weddings. Our largest event was a whole day of a corporate event including all meals and a café with desserts and fruits throughout the day serving 300 people.
We serve eclectic food with influences from a broad and diverse range of sources. I invest a lot of time and energy in building tasty, fresh, local, and healthy menus. The presentation is also very important to me, although as I was taught at the ICC, “never on the account of flavor.”
ICC: Tell us about the process of getting your catering business off the ground. How did it begin, and what were your goals as an entrepreneur?
Anat: After graduating from the ICC, I continued my studies at the SFBI, focusing on bread baking, viennoiserie, and pastry. As a graduate of both these excellent schools, I felt like I was ready to initiate my own business, but I wasn’t yet sure what it would be. Shortly after my graduation from the SFBI, I was asked by a small company if I could cater a breakfast for them once a week. They were my first customer. They were 40 people back then, and I still cater a weekly breakfast for them but now they are 300 people. We grew up side by side.
My goal from the very beginning was to create the entire event—to serve wonderful foods but also to create the ambiance, the style, and the décor. I want customers to have a unique and tasty experience.
ICC: Where/how do you see your business in 5 to 10 years?
Anat: I would like to be able to maintain my business as is! My big dream is to start my own cooking school where I can teach the next generation everything I’ve learned. I sometimes sketch that school in my dreams. I really hope it will come true.
ICC: Did your ICC education help you become an entrepreneur? Do you use the skills you learned at the ICC at work?
I use the skills and techniques I learned at the ICC every day and I will probably be doing so for the rest of my career! As strange as it may seem, it is so much easier to apply your creativity when you have a good foundation of basic culinary knowledge.
You learn to cook so that you don‘t have to be a slave to recipes. You get what’s in season and you know what to do with it.” -Julia Child
ICC: What inspired you to enroll in the ICC? Were there certain steps/ thoughts that lead you to the decision?
Anat: Food and cooking were always my passion. I spent most of my adult life being a lawyer, and I switched to being a chef with the love and passion for cooking which has always been inside of me.
ICC: How and when did you know you wanted to work in the food industry? What about it was appealing to you?
Anat: After moving from Israel to the Bay Area in 2008, I decided to take advantage of the geographical change and do what I always dreamt about—attend a culinary school. I consider myself very lucky to have been able to enjoy two careers in my life.
ICC: What were your greatest challenges at school? And how were you able to overcome them?
Anat: My greatest challenge at school was learning as much as possible! I wanted to catch everything at once. Today I know that it is a gradual process and you have to experience a lot in order to figure out your own way.
ICC: What is your fondest memory of the time you spent at ICC?
Anat: My fondest memory of the ICC is the charcuterie week with Chef Bruno Ponsot. It’s not something you get to do every day, not even as a chef.
Learn more about Anat’s business by visiting, www.anatcatering.com today.