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The Beach Gourmet: Schaffer’s Genuine Foods: A Family Affair

TIM BROUGHTON, Mirror Contributing Writer

Catering for an event is something of a hit-and-miss affair, given that it is always difficult to accurately gauge the quality of the company undertaking the task of making sure that your event is memorable for the right reasons (ham sandwiches at a Bar Mitzvah?). One way that customers can be confident in the people that they choose is to take a glance at the client roster of the caterers, and Schaffer’s Genuine Foods boasts a very impressive list that will certainly pique the interest of anyone who requires this kind of culinary service. Amongst the many luminaries who have chosen this Santa Monica-based husband-and-wife team, one can include Eddie Murphy, Barbara Streisand, Conan O’Brien, and Angelina Jolie, to name but a few.

I recently spoke with Charlie and Kathleen Schaffer to discuss the secret to their success, their lives in Santa Monica, and plans for the future. There is always a great deal of pressure when growing a business, and I asked the Schaffers how they stay passionate about food and cooking whilst cultivating the business.  Kathleen told me that they cook for themselves at home, and they visit the SM Farmers Market every week. “We love to go out to eat and we are constantly reading. We are able to handle the pressures of managing our business by having the creative outlet of cooking; and enjoy that aspect over everything else,”  she said. She also told me that they set aside time each week to experiment with new ideas and ingredients to keep themselves motivated and inspired. “Creativity is the easy part of this venture, honestly,” she shared.

With an extensive variety of international recipes at hand, such as aautéed Duck Breast, Tuna Bottarga, Risotto Al Funghi Selvatici, Kibbutz Salad, Filet of Beef with Grains of Paradise, and Chocolate Soufflé with Port Anglaise I asked Kathleen how they maintain a balanced approach to their menus, and she told me that they recognize that all cuisines, distinct as they may be, have a balance of flavors and appeal to all of the senses. “We would never call ourselves French or Italian chefs because we are American, but that is certainly our foundation,” she continued.

With their 15-month-old baby, Ryland, also taking up their attention, I wondered how they take “time out” from all things culinary, “Our conversation about food is endless,” she said, “We talk about it from the time we wake up until we go to sleep each night. We even plan our vacations around where we want to eat. We love to introduce Ryland to new flavors. Luckily he is an adventurous eater. When we are not cooking, eating, or dreaming of food, we like to hike, scuba dive, play tennis, go to the Hollywood Bowl, and go to Dodger and Galaxy games.”

 About living in Santa Monica, Kathleen shared that they both enjoyed the Farmers Markets, and they loved to live in a community with “like-minded citizens that inspire us to strive for the highest standards in food and sustainable business practices.

“Oh, and yes, the sunsets at the beach each evening sort of help!”

I finished by asking if they had any plans to open a restaurant in the area, and Kathleen said that they are thinking about that, and went on to stress the importance of “taking great care of our clients while we search for the right situation. We are currently developing a line of products including some with a local farmer.” 

Stay tuned!


Schaffer’s Genuine Foods can be reached at 310.452.2255.


Contact Tim Broughton 

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