Chances are, if you are familiar with Traill College, you have, at one point or another, wandered into The Trend for a bite to eat.
You probably haven’t made many decisions better than this, after trying out some delicious mac-n-cheese, or sharing a plate of chicken nachos over a glass of Church-Key Red and having a laugh with the friendly staff.`
If you don’t find yourself at Traill College all that often, and you haven’t had the chance to try out what could arguably be one of the best catering establishments in Peterborough, never fear.
In mid-December of 2015, BE Catering opened up shop at the corner of Charlotte St. and Park St. in downtown Peterborough. I had the chance to meet up with chef proprietor Bonnie as well as Simon, her manager and right-hand man, at the new location for lunch on Tuesday afternoon.
It was a sunny day on Tuesday, and the second I walked in, I felt like I could probably get a suntan if I stayed for long enough. With bay windows making up just about every inch of available wall space in the restaurant, the atmosphere was very light and uplifting.
There was some locally-made craftsmanship in the wall bar as well as the long table where, what looked like many young professionals and students were busy tacking away on their computers and going over notes while enjoying the sun as well as a hot coffee and sandwiches.
I got a chance to speak with Bonnie’s right-hand man Simon at length about how the business began, and asked him to try and dive into how they have arrived at where they are today.
“We crunched out a business plan over the weekend back in the ‘90s in order to meet the Monday deadline for the CFDC [Community Futures Development Corporation], and expansion is something we’ve been thinking about for about three or four years now, and somebody mentioned to get in touch with the CFDC. One thing led to another and here we are,” he shared.
At their new location, BE is offering frozen, ready-made meals like all sorts of soups, chili, stews, meat and veggie lasagnas, different types of potpies including chicken, turkey, and veggie, and many more, including holiday favourites at certain times of the year.
“The possibilities are endless because of how talented Bonnie is,” Simon said. Simon then got down to the meat of the company and how they have been able to survive in the Peterborough community, first at Traill for close to four years, and now here downtown.
This led us onto the subject of where this entire product comes from that goes into this delicious food, and I was pleasantly surprised to learn that everything from the bread to the meat is local product.
“A great chef has the ability to be presented something from a farmer, and make it into something amazing, and Bonnie certainly has that skill,” Simon explained. “Farmers are constantly walking through our door with boxes of veggies and things, looking to get their product into capable hands.”
BE Catering, with Bonnie and Simon at the helm, is quickly becoming a Peterborough landmark. With a prominent reputation already established in the Trent community, and now with a chic downtown location, it won’t be long before Peterborough locals will make a habit of stopping in for some fresh, local food and will enjoy doing so for a number of different reasons.
For starters, you can’t find a friendlier and more amicable team than Simon and Bonnie; second, the food is amazing! After meeting with Simon, I was treated to a signature chicken club sandwich that was anything but ordinary.
Thirdly, and quite possibly most importantly, in supporting this amazing local establishment, you are in turn supporting local farmers, bakers, and butchers, just to name a few.
It is small, dedicated businesses like these that give Peterborough that X factor, which is obvious especially to any out-of-towner, myself included.
Okay, now go get some soup from Bonnie. It’s cold outside.