Riva Ben-Ezra started Dulce Catering as a means of serving the smaller events in people’s lives – Shabbat dinners, birthday parties, Sheva brachot*, and other small gatherings. Based in Hashmonaim, Israel, Dulce Catering makes mouth-watering meals for small groups, artistic dessert platters, and eye-catching birthday cakes for your special occasion. All food is strictly kosher. Dulce also packages gift baskets for Purim and all year round.
For the past year Riva has run the first and second grade Beit Yeladim on Kibbutz Sde Eliyahu, cooking and baking with them as an extension of their informal education process. She believes that teaching children to cook gives them independence, self-satisfaction, and is an excellent way to express their creativity.
Before moving to Israel, Riva and her family lived in Highland Park, New Jersey.
How did you get started in catering? I love to cook, and especially to bake. Someone has to eat all that food! Seriously, after the birth of Renatya (my second child), I wanted to find a more flexible work schedule, something that would keep me at home more and would be the creative outlet I felt was lacking in my present profession (veterinarian).
What types of catering do you do? I am not interested in giant cookie cutter affairs (pardon the pun) – I like to see the expressions on people’s faces when they eat my food, and I like to give people the feeling of being spoiled by receiving a scrumptious meal as a gift. For that reason, I prefer to do family dinners, sheva brachot, and other parties of less than 50 people. I also make designer birthday cakes and Purim baskets customized to your theme. My newest venture is children’s baking workshops and birthday parties for lower-elementary-school-aged children. Those are a lot of fun. I sell homemade ricotta cheese as well.
Where would you like to see your business in five years? I would love to have my own kitchen storefront to sell takeout and baked goods and a web site where people can order meals for their friends and family overseas. I would also like to expand to personal chef work.
What would you recommend to someone interested in catering? It isn’t just making good food. You need a strong business sense, willingness to put in a lot of unpaid/unrecognized hours, and you have to be a real people person. You must also be a stickler for detail, and be an extremely organized person. As Ina Garten says, it doesn’t matter how good the cake is if they don’t have forks to eat it with.
Visit the Dulce Catering Facebook Group
*Sheva Brachot are celebration meals the week after a wedding (literally, “seven blessings”)