Custom catering service provides meals and sweet treats for all occasions
Starting with a sweet shop business, Jessamine County resident Thelma Johns eventually expanded and opened up shop in downtown Nicholasville 11 years ago offering catering through Gourmet Goodies LLC by Thelma.
Located at 102 W. Oak St., the company specializes in offering catering for all occasions, homemade pies and baked goods, gourmet apples and floral design. Catering to events such as weddings, rehearsal dinners, bridal/baby showers and business luncheons, Johns said ending up in the catering business was unexpected.
“I was going to go back to doing candies and cakes when one day a friend said, ‘Thelma can you do a lunch for me on Wednesday or Thursday’ and I said, ‘sure what do you want,’” Johns said. “I did that for 13 to 14 people and that was my first catering job. After that a lady from the board of education asked me, ‘when did you start doing catering? I thought you just did cakes.’ I said, ‘I didn’t think I was but I guess I am now.’”
A member of the Jessamine County Chamber of Commerce, Gourmet Goodies has won a host of awards including Sam’s Club Business Member of the Year 2010, 2014; Jessamine Journal Reader’s Choice Award First Place Best Catering in Region; Jessamine Journal 2013 Reader’s Choice Award Best People Caterer – Thelma Johns; Jessamine County Chamber of Commerce Best New Business Award 2011; Jessamine Journal Best Catering 2010, 2011, 2012; and Wedding Wire 2017 Couples Choice Award. From a simple request from a friend Johns said her catering business took off and from one referral to another, she grew to where she is today.
“We do custom orders,” Johns said. “We are mostly known for country southern style cooking even though we do all kinds. We have lots of stuff on our menu. We will do whatever you want even though certain things you don’t see on our menu.”
Although still offering custom candy and cake orders, Gourmet Goodies also sells specialty jams and Savannah Syrups. Menu selections for catering include breakfast options with items such as a praline French toast casserole, gravy biscuits, coffee cakes, breakfast sandwiches and wraps and fruit and yogurt parfaits. Sandwich selections for lunch include, but are not limited to chicken salad, egg salad, pimento cheese BLT, club and turkey croissants.
Appetizers include selections such as hot artichoke and crabmeat dip, hot spinach artichoke dip, baked brie, mini hot browns, meatballs, mini quiches or a fruit tray. For entrees customers can choose from a variety of options which include meatloaf, pot roast, baked ham chicken pot pies, chicken marsala, peach glazed chicken, shrimp and grits and Hawaiian chicken.
Gourmet Goodies also offers main course soups which include a variety of chilis, beef stew and several chicken options. Breads include a variety of biscuit options from bacon or garlic and an assortment of cornbreads with staples such as yeast rolls, spoon rolls and muffins. Side dishes include salad, vegetables, starches and several others. Cakes include many staple varieties as well, while also offering rarities such as Coca-Cola cakes, hummingbird cake, pineapple upside down cake, Grecian orange and raspberry swirl. Pies, cobblers and more dessert selections are also available.
“I try to make the menu and pricing as friendly as I can make it and still make sense of it,” Johns said. “Don’t assume because you don’t see it on my end that we can’t do it. I have three chefs in the kitchen and others that help. We cook and do what our customers want to do. We offer all vegetarian meals. We accommodate gluten-free, whether it is the whole menu or just a few dishes.”
Johns said for lunch orders, the business tries to cater to the local surrounding communities, although for bigger events they will travel to a variety of places in central Kentucky. Areas Gourmet Goodies caters to include Wilmore, Harrodsburg, Versailles, Danville, Lawrenceburg, Lexington, Midway, Somerset and Corbin, to name a few.
Gourmet Goodies also offers a reception room that can host up to 50 people, and can include either a buffet or plated meals. Mostly used Friday and Saturday night or Sunday afternoons, Johns said the room is perfect for smaller, more intimate events such as bridal or baby showers, or could possibly even serve for business luncheons.
“We have room set up for food for buffet or plated,” Johns said. “As well as a drink station just like if we were going out to do it. If anyone wants to use it for lunch or dinner they can.”