This article is sponsored by Nestle

Ethel Pila transformed her love of cooking for others into her very own business, Edibles by Ethel. Now, when searching for the best caterers in Tampa, her name will be one of the first you will see. It’s not hard to see why people love Ethel’s food, they adore her personality and they appreciate her unique ability to bring their culinary visions to life.

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What was that spark that said to you, “Hey, Ethel, this is what you are meant to do. Just go for it?” Where did this passion begin?

I grew up in Miami—in a home that was always entertaining. My mom is a great cook, and I learned a lot from being in the kitchen with her as a child. As an adult, I was very involved with the women’s group at my Synagogue. We spent many years in the kitchen preparing meals for the congregation. After a number of years, this group moved on to do other things, and I turned it into a business. …The birth of Edibles by Ethel.

Do you prepare only kosher food, or is this a specialty? 

I was a completely Kosher caterer until about six months ago. There just isn’t enough demand for kosher catering to sustain the business. I have two completely separate kitchens in two locations. One is kosher and under Rabbinic supervision, and one is not. It’s been a bit of a change for me to “think non-kosher.” I grew up keeping kosher, and I keep a kosher home today.

What would you say are your specialties?

Edibles by Ethel’s attention to detail is what makes us stand out from other caterers. We use only the freshest ingredients available and hand pick our own produce. We do all our own baking, make all our own dressings, sauces and so on. You eat with your eyes first, so presentation of the food is also important. We offer design and decor services, florals, linens—everything required to create vision for your event.  

One of our specialties is our world-famous carrot cake!  

Who are some people you have worked with and/or cater to?

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We had the pleasure of catering for the RNC (Republican National Convention) in the summer of 2012. We catered at Brian Glazer’s home, The Dali Museum, The Tampa Museum of Art and many more.

How far in advance do you believe people should start planning for a catering service?

It depends on the event, size of event, how complex it is and so on. We are used to getting phone calls asking for something by tomorrow. On the other end, there are people who start years in advance, and they want to get on our calendar. Just call us, and we can guide you on the timeline required to produce your event.

How does Edibles by Ethel get involved in the community? 

We enjoy doing charitable events throughout the community. This past year we participated in many, through both donation of goods and full-service catering. We recently donated our services and catered an entire wedding for free, giving to a deserving young couple, who could not afford it.

What is the ultimate goal in your career?

To learn something new every day and to always strive outdo our last event. We want to leave our clients and guests, saying “WOW!”

Finally, what advice would you give an up-and-coming caterer, chef and/or business owner?

Surround yourself with a great inner core of team members that you trust and can rely on. Create a business environment which respects and welcomes the opinions and suggestions of those who are on the front lines. Be willing to admit fault, apologize and get it right the next time! 

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Jessica N. Abraham-Hogan is the owner of Shorty Produkshins in Orlando, Florida, and specializes in Social Branding and Public Relations for both the Professional Services Industry and Entertainment Business. Over the last 13 years, she has worked with many publications and has created branded content for multiple organizations, Globally.