…Polina is very careful and thoughtful about how things will translate in terms of pre-prep to final prep on site, how well she’ll be able to cook things with the tools/appliances provided (aka full kitchen vs. park bbq), and will be very honest with you about her recommendations. She has cooked everything from a traditional American Thanksgiving to Japanese to Peruvian for me. I have given up on trying to figure out how she does it all so well. Typically, if you’re at a restaurant and there’s a huge menu it’s a red flag. You shouldn’t expect a restaurant to serve that many different items and do them all well. However, Polina some how disproves this theory. And to top it off, she makes amazing desserts. What?! Yes. Bread pudding, chocolate caramel brownies, cookies, pies, and I forget what else because I always end her meals in a happy sugar high daze.
Polina knows how to develop a menu. What do you mean? Maybe it’s because I come from a giant Midwestern family who loves to eat but this has always seemed very simple to me but apparently not always to others. A menu or meal should always consist of a salad, a main protein, a second protein option, a solid vegetarian entree option (don’t call that broccoli side my “vegetarian entree”), at least 2-3 sides, some of which are vegetarian, bread (um, duh!), and a dessert to finish. This way, even if there are things people don’t like, there are still plenty of options for everyone. Give the people options and make sure no one starves. Polina and I have always been on the same page with this. If you want to know more about specific menu options, talk to Polina. Sky’s the limit. You tell her what you want, she’ll make it happen.
STAFF & OPERATIONS
From what I’ve gathered over the years, I think Polina runs a tight ship. Her staff are on time, hardworking, considerate, well-mannered, and happy to be there. She has also always requested any and all feedback, in order to continuously improve her operations. Simple- they get the job done the way it should be, always.
EVENTS I’VE DONE WITH HER
BBQ in Golden Gate Park- Polina and her staff did a BBQ cookout for our group and everything was delicious. It was a casual, simple BBQ- we didn’t want anything fancy and she delivered the perfect All-American bbq with all the fixins. It was like a fun, family picnic except we didn’t actually have to do anything. It was great.
Corporate Lunches- we get these from her weekly, for the past 4 years, plus events, so I’ll let you calculate how many of Svetlana’s meals I have eaten… It’s our best meal of the week. Do all the other caterers really just stink that much or has Svetlana Catering just set the bar too high? Unclear. In the meantime, we wait for her lunch all week while distantly picking at our underwhelming “lunch” from those other caterers we won’t mention here.
Fancy Affairs & Weddings- one year I made the mistake of not planning far enough ahead and I wasn’t able to book Svetlana Catering for our event of the year. I managed to book one of the other “best” caterers in the city. Please don’t make me recap on how they screwed up in every way possible. From that point on, I’ve booked Svetlana Catering as soon as I have a date locked down. Or if I don’t know the date, I give her a heads up of the rough timing so she can plan accordingly. I’ve never been let down again. Most recently she did our company holiday party. Where to start on all the ways she nailed this event? How she wanted to ensure she had the absolute prettiest compostable bamboo plates for us, or her attention to detail on the exact type of chaffing dishes she was going to use, or the raw seafood bar that everyone loved? Or, how she reviewed & confirmed all of these details with me in advance because she knows I’m a bit of a control freak & she caters to the individual client? Our event went off beautifully thanks to her team. They even lit all the candles for me that I had failed to do because I was still stuck running between all the other vendors (confirmed with me first that I wanted them lit, of course!). Polina has another rare trait these days in understanding food timing & delivery. Aka you don’t bring everything out at once and you (gasp!) pay attention to your crowd. Are they still eating? Don’t bring out dessert yet then.
Hire Svetlana for your next event! Everyone will love you. ~Amanda M., Lumosity (Lumos Labs)
I work for a blue chip law firm in the Financial District as an events coordinator. We use Svetlana Catering on a weekly basis because her food is excellent and healthy. Whenever our company hosts an event, I turn to Polina as I know she will deliver an excellent dining experience that will leave our clients satisfied. I wholeheartedly recommend Svetlana catering; you will not be disappointed. ~Carmelina, Covington, Covington & Burling LLP
Svetlana is one of the reasons I like my job. They cater the lunches regularly where I work, and it’s always delicious. The other day I had something so good, it reminded me of some of the best food I had on a recent trip to Belgium and France. So I decided it was time to write a review. Fresh ingredients, excellent quality, inventive recipes, seasonal produce. A wide repertoire – every regional cuisine you can name, and lots of surprising and tasty combinations you didn’t know were delicious. Fantastic with special diets – part of their wide repertoire is that they have variants for vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, you name it. Thanks for all the great food! ~Liz H., Lumosity (Lumos Labs)
Thank you for all the delicious food! You never disappoint and I’m excited to see what’s coming next. ~Stephanie, Lumosity (Lumos Labs)
Everyone at Lumosity looks forward to Thursdays with Svetlana!” ~Briana, Lumosity (Lumos Labs)
Great food! Thanks for such quality cooking every week! ~Jonathan, Aspera Inc.
I’ve been consistently impressed at the variety and quality of the dishes you serve. You provide such a wide range of cuisines, and I’ve been amazed at how consistently delicious every meal has been because I think it’s hard to cook a variety of types of cuisines so well! (In my experience, most caterers stick to one type that they do well.)” ~Aubrey, Lumosity (Lumos Labs)
We have used Svetlana Catering to host dinner events for the Bay Area Oncology Nursing Society for the last three years. Each year, beautiful displays of food, from appetizers to desserts are displayed and served. Our guests have raved about the food every year! I have found Polina very professional and easy to work with she has made hosting these events easy! ~Stephany Rodriguez, BAONS! (corporate event)
Polina (Svetlana Catering) is absolutely Ah Mazing!! Polina caters for our company every Wednesday and has been doing so for the past two years or so. We use various catering companies, but Svetlana is our companies all time favorite. We look forward to her meals week after week! ~Schnae C., Aspera
Our company gets catering from Svetlana once a week. They are my favorite caterer by far. Most every dish they’ve served has been delicious; I think the only times I haven’t enjoyed something is due to my particular tastes. You can tell that they use quality ingredients. Not to mention that their staff is always upbeat and friendly! ~Joe P.
Polina (Svetlana Catering) does many of our corporate luncheons and the food is always delicious and beautifully presented. Because she has done so many of our meals, I’ve been able to a try a wide range of what Polina & company can do, and have always been impressed and satisfied. I would recommend Svetlana Catering to anyone and if I ever need to cater a personal event, Polina would be the first person I’d call. ~Jason Y., Covington & Burling LLP