By Lynnette Hintze, The Daily Inter Lake
It wasn’t long after Anna McCabe earned a degree in accounting that she realized a desk job was out of the question.“I just can’t sit behind a desk all day,” she confessed.So what does a super-organized outdoorswoman who loves to hunt and ski and who’s “really good in math” do with her life? McCabe, 31, found the answer in the kitchen. She became a personal caterer and started a business called The Simple Chef Catering in Whitefish five years ago.As a persona caterer, she doesn’t have a set menu and prices but rather adapts her skills and services to each cooking engagement. If a family needs a vegetarian wedding meal for 100, Malpeli searches through her repertoire of 400 menu items and finds what will best suit that client.She’s a stickler for using fresh ingredients.
“I really focus on health, nutrition and freshness,” she said. “I use a lot of organic meat and veggies and I can accommodate requests for organic [entrees].”
Flexibility and a staunch work ethic are prerequisites for catering, along with organizational skills.
“I’m very organized, and it’s list after list after list,” she said. “If you’re not organized, you won’t make it in this business.”
MaCabe’s clientele ranges from small private sit-down dinner parties to dropping off meals for a family entertaining guests, to grand openings that feed 700. The grand opening for First Interstate Bank in Whitefish was her biggest gig to date – a 200 person breakfast, followed by a 400-person day event and 150-person evening meal.
“I loved it. It was a huge success,” she said. “I couldn’t do 700 every week, though.”
As it is, McCabe works 18-hour days all summer in a business that’s feast or famine.
“It’s famine right now, ” she said, referring to the typical April lull. “It gets really rolling by mid-June, and last fall I was slammed. A lot of older second-home people are staying now through October.”
The Christmas holiday season is equally as busy as summer, she said, but come January, “nobody wants a party.”
Catering is the perfect business venture to allow time for her other passion: skiing. she and her husband, Bill McCabe, just returned from a heli-skiing trip to Chugach Wilderness in Alaska, where they got engaged on a mountain top, then skied down in waist-deep powder.
This was McCabe’s third helisking trip to Alaska, and she’s addicted to the sport. A helicopter drops skiers off at the top and picks them up at the bottom.
It’s a risky sport, she said, so it’s important to go with a reputable company. Skiers go down one at a time, skiing to safety-zones along the way.