Tag Archives: Catering

Local Paragons VII: The Stocked Pot & Co.

The Stocked Pot & Co. is a cooking school and catering (by Simple Elegance) company located on Jonestown Road in Winston Salem, North Carolina.  ith extensive experience and wide training, the company is renowned for its culinary expertise. My experience at The Stocked Pot couldn’t have been better. I took a class through Amazon Local (they also offer deals through Living Social and Groupon). The class I signed up for was centered on Julia Child’s cooking and the art of sautéing. The chef was knowledgeable, friendly and entertaining and the staff was welcoming and professional. I was particularly impressed by the well rounded knowledge not only of cooking but of the history, nomenclature, motivation and reasoning behind the cookware, styles and reasoning in each dish the chef prepared. This allowed me to learn not only about the way to cook but why certain dishes cooked the way they did—which is important to me. The class I took was a demonstration class and lasted about 2.5 hours and the food was phenomenal. There are other classes—some which are more hands on—on a wide variety of food preparation styles and cooking techniques. I would highly recommend the cooking classes to anyone and would definitely consider them at the top of my catering list given the outcome of the dishes prepared during class.

Food: <3 <3 <3 <3 <3                                                     Local Color: <3 <3 <3

Learning opportunities: <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

Lucy walked into The Stocked Pot fifteen minutes early. The class was scheduled to start at 6:30, but she wanted to be sure she had arrived and was settled before her client arrived. While normally they chose a caterer by more conventional methods, her client had wanted to take this cooking class to vet the possible candidates. Lucy had agreed. After all, the clients were paying and she would get a good meal out of it.

Lucy settled in at a table directly in front of the demonstration area, a small mock kitchen with brightly colored backsplash that greeted her with the effigy “Cooking is fun”.

“Lucy!” the high nosed, nasal voice sounded loud in the small area, but Lucy forced a smile to her face as she stood to greet her client.

“Hello, Janie,” she said, reaching out to shake the other woman’s hand. Janie shook brusquely then pulled her long, dark curls back into a low, loose ponytail at the base of her neck.

“It’s warm today, isn’t it? I’m burning up. This place is cute. I hope the food is as good.”

“I’ve heard good things about it,” Lucy nodded and settled herself back in her seat. “But I certainly hope it’s what you are looking for. I know how important—“

“The food is absolutely essential at this party. After all Monique is retiring and she was one of the best chefs the city ever knew.”

“I understand,” Lucy said. “Would you like some water or tea?”

“Tea, but only if it’s sweet.”

“I’ll get it,” Lucy stood and walked over to the drink station at the back of the long room. As the ice rushed into the glasses, breaking the silence of the room, she pulled in a breath and tried to clear her mind. Tonight was about Janie, but she couldn’t seem to stop thinking about the look on Chris’s face when she took the call from Silas last Sunday. She’d been out with Silas twice since then—and Chris hadn’t met her for coffee as he usually did. The acute sense of loss suffocated her.

“Excuse me,” the voice interrupted her thoughts. “Do you mind?” Lucy looked behind her and saw that several people were waiting to get drinks.

“I’m sorry,” she murmured, then quickly hurried back to her seat.

Janie began to talk. And talk. And talk.

Lucy tried to listen, but her head had begun to ache and nothing seemed to get her attention until the chef got to the front and began to speak. Even then, she didn’t take notes.

Janie, on the other hand, was completely zoned in on everything he had to say. The back of her recipe handouts were filled with notes, and her hand was up in the air with questions every time the chef stopped to take a breath. When she wasn’t speaking to the chef, she was chatting with the people at the table. The smile never left her face, and her nasal laugh filled the small area more than once in her enthusiasm.

“Oh my gosh, Lucy,” Janie exclaimed when the plate of food was settled before them at the end of class. “Is this chicken not to die for? I can’t believe all these sauces—and he fixed all this while talking to us?” She paused to stuff a bit in her mouth, her eyes rolling up to the ceiling as she reveled in gastronomic ecstasy. “Can you imagine what he can do if he’s focused solely on the food?”

“Hmm,” Lucy took a bite and nodded. “So what do you think? Do you want to hire them?”

“Absolutely,” Janie’s plate was nearly empty. Lucy’s stood nearly untouched. “I can’t believe the juiciness. My chicken almost always comes out dry.”

“Great,” Lucy nodded and forced herself to eat the rest of the food—which was phenomenal; if only her mind hadn’t been so preoccupied she might have actually enjoyed the meal. As it was, all she could think about was her growing desire to spend more time with Silas, but how sick it made her that it seemed to be costing her friendship with Chris.

Katie was no help either. It wasn’t something she could really talk about with Chris’s twin sister—it wasn’t really fair to either of them. Lucy’s head pounded.

“Thanks for coming with me,” Janie said, standing from the table. Lucy reached over and took the empty plate from her, stacking it on top of her own.

“Happy to,” Lucy said. “I’m glad it worked out for you.”

Janie nodded, then headed for the door. Lucy threw away their trash, thanked the chef and then followed. She felt bad that she hadn’t been more enthusiastic, but as she started her car she knew she’d make it up to them given the money they would spend in catering when she called later to set up the event later in the week. Her guilt quickly cranked into relief as she started her car and headed for home.

But she didn’t get far.  Having only driven a couple of miles, her car began to sputter, then it gave a great jerk. Lucy yelped as the car heaved and she was barely able to pull into a dark BB&T parking lot before her car gave one final hiss, then died. All she was left with was the silence.

Lucy looked down at her phone, the only light left in this abandoned place. She only had about 15% of her battery left, but lately 15% was not really 15% and there was no telling when it would shut off on her. Knowing that Chris was her best option, since he was only a few miles away, she dialed and hoped he picked up the phone before her phone died.

As the dial back tone shifted, Lucy got her second big shock of the night as a woman’s voice floated through the air waves and into her ear.


“Um,” Lucy was at a loss.

“Hello?” The woman’s voice said again.

“I’m, uh, looking for Chris,” Lucy stuttered.

“He’s indisposed. Can I help?”

“Um,” Lucy’s brain swirled. “No, I guess not. I guess I’ll just call back later.”

“Okay.” Lucy could hear a muffled voice in the background, she presumed it was Chris but though the woman’s voice was faint she could clearly hear her response. “Nothing. It was a wrong number.” Then the line went dead.

Lucy stared at her phone in disbelief. Clearly she had been wrong. Chris didn’t have feelings for her—he’d apparently been…well, she didn’t have time to think about that now. Nor did she have time to figure out why her eyes smarted with tears. She was stranded in a dark parking lot, and she was down to 12%. Maybe TJ could help. She dialed, but it went straight to voicemail. Lucy hung up quickly, not surprised. Feeling frantic, Lucy called Katie—she knew Katie couldn’t help, being an hour away, but hearing her voice might help her feel less panicky. After three battery draining rings, she was left with Katie’s voicemail. This time Lucy left a message, trying to control the panic in her voice, but knowing that with her friend the emotion was clearer despite her rambling.

Lucy looked at her phone, despairing the draining percentage dialed the only other number she could think of.

He picked up on the first ring.


“Silas,” she felt like a small child, but at the moment she was so relieved. “My car broke down and none of my friends are answering their phones. I—I just—“

“Where are you Luce? I’ll be there as soon as I can.”

Lucy breathed a sigh of relief and told him where to find her. He was across town, but would be there soon. She hung up the phone and leaned her head against the seat. The silence didn’t feel quiet as choking now as she waited.

Her phone rang. She looked down at the caller ID, surprised that the device still held a charge—it was Chris. Part of her wanted to ignore it, but that felt juvenile, so she answered.

“Hi, Chris.”

“Lucy. What on earth is wrong? I got a frantic call from Katie saying something about you being stranded somewhere and she can’t get there. She said you weren’t answering your phone. Where are you?”

Lucy looked at her phone, but she didn’t see any missed calls.

“My phone is dying. It must not have picked up Katie’s calls,” Lucy said. “My car broke down. I’m—“

“Where are you?” he insisted. “Why didn’t you call me?”

“Don’t worry about me,” Lucy insisted. “I know you’re busy.” She could still hear the woman’s voice ringing in her ears.

“Lucy where are you?” she could hear the impatience in his voice.

“I’m–“she yelped as a knock on her window interrupted her speech.

“Lucy! What happened!” Chris’s voice was boarding on panic now, but Lucy’s heart had settled firmly back in her chest as she stared into Silas’ winning, warm gaze.

“I’m—“ but she didn’t get to finish. Her phone died. She stared down at the dark screen, wondering what she should do next. Silas waved at her again, so she pushed thoughts of Chris aside for the moment and opened the door.

“One knight in shining armor at your service,” Silas said, bowing deeply at her. Lucy smiled, and swallowed the fear as she stared at the motorcycle parked next to her car. At least she wouldn’t have to hitchhike home—but in retrospect, as she stared down the monstrous machine, perhaps that would have been preferable.