Comments in the press and from our clients.

Client Comments

What our clients say about us . . .

Reviews on Google+:
“Grace is an excellent and innovative cook and everything she prepares is simply delicious. Her presentation is also wonderful: nothing is ever heavy-handed. She uses plants and flowers to enhance the visuals of her presentations. The result is always festive and inviting. Grace has catered several events that I attended and if I didn’t know she was the caterer, I would easily recognize her cooking and presentation. They are both winners.”

Barbara C
“Grace catered our outdoor summer wedding. The food was delicious and beautifully presented. Grace made the planning process easy and fun. I would love to use Lighten Up Caterers again!”

Amanda Beckwith
“I love the food, I love the service. Will do business again.”

Joyce Calvitti
“Much to the delight of my guests and myself, I had Grace of Lighten Up Caterering prepare the food for my annual outdoor event two years in a row. What a wonderful day her food and presence created. Her marinated portabella mushrooms and rice salad, which was made with some unique and delicious ingredients, were such a hit the first time there was a special request by several guest for an encore! Her food suggestions before hand worked perfectly into the mood and style I wanted to convey. She had no problem accommodating different palates and was sensitive to meeting the needs of those attending. Her casual yet elegant presentation was the cherry on top. I’ll soon be deciding on a date for this year and Grace will be the first call I make!”

Francesca Zambello
“I’ve been using Grace and Lighten Up Catering for years. They are dependable, and their food is wonderful. I highly recommend them for any kind of event!”

More client comments . . .

“Thank you for delivering such a wonderful culinary experience. All the guests raved about the wonderful tastes and presentation. You are truly a talent whom I would love to learn from if ever given the opportunity.” Elizabeth Ngonzi, authentic African wedding for 225 guests.

“Thank you for the wonderful effort you made for our wedding. Every part was excellent and exceeded our expectations.”

“Thank you so much for your hard work and obvious talent for creating a wonderful reception. So many guests remarked how delicious the food was [most saying it was the best they’d ever had at a wedding reception]. The flowers, the cake were gorgeous. I could go on and on……”

“You are wonderful at what you do and our wedding clearly reflected that. The food looked and tasted great. I can not tell you how many compliments we received. Thank you so much for all your hard work.”

Read More

NY Times Magazine

NY Times MagazineDeliciously

…The eggplant dip and seviche are the results of experiments by the owners of Remember Basil [now Lighten Up Caterers], an esteemed Brooklyn-based catering firm … Each of these dishes will make a lasting impression, whether it is a forerunner to a grand meal or the main culinary event of an evening’s gathering for cocktails.

Women’s Wear Daily

Remember Basil [now Lighten Up Caterers] Steps Into
The Season With Bloomingdales’s Flamenco Fling

New York – With Gaudi-inspired arches, roving minstrels and a out 800 guests along the B-way, Bloomingdale’s was transformed into a festive Spanish villa Wednesday night to mark the opening of it’s annual fall import event. This year’s is called “Spain: Europe’s Rising Star.”

Women’s Wear DailyThe evening raised about $2000,000 for the Spanish Institute, which promotes Spanish culture and commerce in the U.S. It also put an upbeat spin on the season’s sow retail pace.

“This is a major event which shows that Bloomingdale’s remains the kind of store it’s always been, ” said Marvin Traub, chairman and chief executive officer.

…There were sherry and codfish cakes at the outset, and later, arroz con pollo with hot sauce and wine. Entertainment included a flamenco gutar trio, flamenco dancing by Mercedes Moreno (in the mattress department, which was converted to a nightclub). Guest also viewed weather bronze furniture, Moorish lanterns, shearlings and shawls, among the varied Spanish assortments…

New York Newsday

Newsday“…Clearsen went from preparing platters for thousands of guests there to cooking gourmet meals for more intimate dinners given, she said, by the Mellon family in their New York and Cape Cod homes, and for Jacqueline Onassis.

‘Jackie liked to eat anything that had no fat at all,’ she recalled. ‘She took me on because I knew a lot about vegetarian cookery.’…”

Crain’s New York Business

Crains“…She’ll walk into trading rooms unannounced – ‘at lunchtime, when they’re in a receptive mood’ – slip back the lid of her basket and start distributing samples. ‘I look like Little Red Riding hood,’ she says, ‘but I want to get my food into people’s mouths anyway I can. Once they taste my product, I know I’ll have clients.’

…Right now, Lighten Up, New York is doing about 300 sandwiches,salads and hot entrees a day, adding $1,000 to $1,500 in daily revenues, or toughly $30,000 a month. [Ms. Clearsen] has brought in six full- and five part-time employees to handle the work…”

On The Town With Rex Reed

On the Town With Rex Reed
New York Observer

No sooner had I recovered from the joy of receiving, from CBS/FOX Home Video, the complete collection of every Sherlock Holmes movie ever made with Basil Rathbone (all available at $19.95 each) than what should appear in my mail but an invitation to a delectable party thrown by Basil Rathbone’s beautiful granddaughter Dounia. Sick of “Glorious Foods”? Try Dounia’s catering service, which she calls, nostalgically, “Remember Basil” [ now Lighten Up Catering ]. Munching Szechuan duck with sour cherries in iced Boston lettuce with Arlene Dahl, downing giant prawns in green chili pesto with Jenny Gucci (delighting all listeners with true tales of what “60 Minutes” couldn’t show in its expose of the Gucci dynasty) and gnawing away at the oysters Rockefeller with newlyweds Jane Powell and Dick Moore, I realized Sherlock Holmes never dies. He just keeps going, on VHS and Panzanella herb toast. Dounia Rathbone agrees with her famous grandfather: “Food – especially catering – is like show business. You produce it in one day and then you close.”

News From The Beard House

News From The Beard House
Special Event
Halloween Party
Dounia Rathbone,
Remember Basil,
Brooklyn Heights, NY
Friday, October 30th, 7:00 pm

GraceIt’s impossible to imagine a caterer better qualified to create a fabulous Halloween party for us than Dounia Rathbone and her celebrated company, Remember Basil. After all, these are the folks famous for the 6 am airport buffet for Malcom Forbes’ 70th birthday at which 650 people, ready to board planes for Morocco, enjoyed authentic Far Eastern foods on tables tied with gold bows and sprinkled with gold dust set amid grapes hung from harem windows and exotic flowers spraying from three-foot-high bronze Turkish samovars. Then there were the Kryptonite cocktails and bread Metropolis to mark the premiere of the Superman movie. And the all-pink dinner for Donna Karan. And the Winter’s Tale for American Express, the one for which Rathbone created a woodland, framing the buffet with leafless trees, covering it entirely with deer moss (bought at 5 am at the flower market), and serving the food on stumps, logs, and large leaves. We can’t wait to see what she’ll do for us given the possibilities presented by the year’s spookiest holiday.

Remember Basil is named for its founder’s favorite uncle, the actor Basil Rathbone, best known for his brilliant portrayal of Sherlock Holmes. Dounia Rathbone was also an actress; but after a stint in the Waldorf’s kitchens, she opened her catering busi- ness and clients like Carla Fendi, Bunny Mellon, Mary Tyler Moore and Jackie Onassis are delighted she did.

As always on Halloween, Foundation guests are encouraged to come in costurne.