By Stephanie Stevens
Whether it's a holiday party, a wedding or a fun Fourth of July cookout, our fondest memories are often centered around good food in combination with good people.
Culinary educator Joanne O'Neil grew up in a household where nearly everything was an event. Family and friends often gathered at their home and her mother's delicious food would be at the center of the festivities. So it was no surprise when she and her mother started their own company, Joanne & Nancy's Catering, in their hometown of Fall River, Massachusetts. They closed the business when Nancy retired, but Joanne continues the tradition by teaching others how to establish and run a successful catering venture.
UC San Diego Extension Video & Editing student Leila Duncan captured the essence of O'Neil and her experience in the catering business in her short film, "Hospitality: A Family Affair."
O'Neil notes that gatherings are important because of their association with traditions and making us all feel a part of something beautiful and special. And that the food, itself, can be the ice breaker at parties, providing an natural topic of conversation.
And given that her company client list grew to include luminaries such as Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and celebrity chefs Julia Child and Emeril Lagasse, it's clear that O'Neil genuinely knows what it takes to host a quality event.
"Being a good host, it's a tricky thing. You want to make everyone feel welcome, have good food...try to make it look beautiful and welcoming and make sure everyone has a drink and is happy."
Do you have a favorite food memory? Share it with us in the comments.