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Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016

Enjoying sweet success

Sunday, December 19, 2004

John and Pat Irions next to the chocolate fountain
SIKESTON - Ask Pat and John Irions about their specialty in the catering business and they won't talk about a dessert. They won't mention a main dish or fancy hors d'oeuvres. The specialty at Trisha's Catering is customer service.

"The goal for all our catered functions is to provide exactly what the customer needs and wants," said Mrs. Irions. "We take the worry out of the event so the customers can enjoy themselves and entertain their guests."

Catering to customers' needs began some 20 years ago, when Mrs. Irions began decorating cakes. It wasn't long before she was in business, providing the wedding cake, cookies, punch and more for small receptions. Soon she was being asked to cater larger receptions and parties, complete with dinner buffets or sit-down service.

In 1997, business was so good the couple created a commercial kitchen in their Portageville home. When they moved to Sikeston in 2001, the business moved with them. From a large commercial kitchen adjacent to their home, the Irions have steadily built their catering service.

They have catered weddings, birthdays, graduation and anniversary parties, and other celebrations all over Southeast Missouri. In addition to private functions, Trisha's caters events for a large corporate clientele, including the Missouri Delta Medical Center's Hospital Ball and the upcoming American Cancer Society galas in Sikeston and Cape Girardeau.

Specializing solely in food service, the Irions work directly with the customer, or with the client's party- or wedding-planner to create an event of any size and at any location. Trisha's Catering provides all the items needed for any function, including glassware, serving dishes, centerpieces, tabletop decorations, silverware and linens.

Sometimes they even bring the kitchen with them. Irions is well-known locally for the barbecue he cooks in his 26-foot concession trailer, complete with a hickory barbecue pit and smoker. The trailer also makes stops at company picnics, fairs and festivals. Irions can cook up to 450 pounds of meat at a time, easily serving hundreds of customers.

Recently Trisha's Catering made a splashy addition to its service with the purchase of a 44-inch tall chocolate fountain. The fountain flows with 20 pounds of Belgium chocolate, providing continuous streams of warm chocolate for dipping with assorted fruits, pretzels, marshmallows, cookies and cakes.

"It is a beautiful piece. When you walk in the room all you can smell is chocolate, and when kids - or adults, for that matter - see it, their jaws just drop," Mrs. Irions said with a laugh.

Describing the chocolate fountain as an investment, she added the couple determined it would be worth the cost to be the first in the area to provide the eye-catching centerpiece for special events. It is already proving to be extremely popular with customers.

All of their events have carefully detailed menus emphasizing hand-prepared food, Mrs. Irions said. While some menus are elegant and feature the chocolate fountain, Trisha's Catering also can offer casual barbecues and international buffets featuring Mexican, American, French, German or Italian cuisine.

"In addition to delicious food, what customers want most is a presentation with that 'wow!' factor," said the caterer. Describing presentation as an art, she explained carefully prepared and beautifully displayed, the food becomes part of the overall ambiance of the event.

"The colors, aromas, and textures all play a significant role in creating the perfect atmosphere," said Mrs. Irions. "Most special occasions center on food and having the right menu presented in the right way can make any occasion perfect."

Trisha's Catering, Mrs. Irions continued, may be a small business but it can compete price-wise and has the means and experience to put on a function of any size based on client needs. "I guess you could say we're a small business with big ideas," she said.

The phone number for Trisha's Catering Service is 471-5049.