History: Karen’s Story

The home table
À la Carte, established in 1999, started to simmer from Irish stock, in Wildwood, NJ long before our first event. My mother Phyllis was an excellent cook and generous hostess. She infused the home with savory aromas and the music of pots and pans, spending the majority of her day in the kitchen. My daily chore was to set the table. But every Sunday, the casual table hosted a full formal meal. It was complete with sparkling silver, fine china, and starched linens. The dining room set the stage for a bountiful dinner and entertaining family stories from Philly to Wildwood. Food and family went together.

They had me at catering
I remember my parents frequently talking about opening a restaurant. Unfortunately, it never happened for them. But I took to the kitchen and worked in restaurants all through college. I jumped at the opportunity to run a gourmet shop for the Du Pont family in Wilmington. I introduced catering to the store and found my niche. It was the perfect union of art and design with food and guests. I was smitten! For nearly two decades I worked toward opening my own business. I worked in the hospitality field I loved. It became a reality at the turn of the century, the 21st century.

We are privileged to make a client's vision a reality
From the days of setting the table for our family meal to setting the look and feel, the taste, sight, and sound for thousands of guests, is a dream realized. I love the process of collaborating with a team of passionate professionals to create stunning events, and seeing the happiness on our client's face.

À la Carte today
There’s a lot to love about À la Carte. Our chefs like to keep it local, they pick from a selection of the freshest bounty, sourced right here in the region. We even give clients the best from our edible flower and vegetable garden. In 2008, Blue Sky Picnics was added to the À la Carte family as our outdoor events division. Blue Sky serves up fun! In 2014, À la Carte added our private label wine. Wine can take an ordinary meal and turn it into an extraordinary experience. Pair some Wild Z Viognier or Merlot from our Virginia countryside.

À la Carte continues to gather the best from all worlds—a personal touch for intimate dinners you’d expect from a local business and the professional flair of a seasoned event-planning operation, finessing special occasions of 50 to 5,000 guests with multiple vendors. It means custom created events you can count on.


Bon Appétit!

Karen Baker, President, À la Carte Catering + Event Design