Sometimes, the worst circumstances bring out the very best in a person. That was the case with me.
In 2003, I was laid off from an office job in San Francisco and left with no way to pay my incoming bills. But to everyone’s surprise, even my own, I was happier than ever. I hated that job. Now that I was freed from it, I had the opportunity to push the virtual reset button on my career and change the trajectory of my life.
And that I did.
I’ve always loved cooking.
One of my first memories is of cooking cinnamon rolls with my grandma, mom, and aunt on Thanksgiving Eve. I couldn’t have been more than 4 years old. All three were fantastic cooks in their own right, but when they cooked together something magical happened, and there was nothing my 4-year-old self wanted more than to be part of a magical moment.
As I got a little older, my friends began playing soccer and taking dance classes, but there was only one class I wanted to take: cooking. While my peers spent hours learning how to apply makeup and how to braid hair, I was in the kitchen whipping up wonderful things from the Betty Crocker Cookbook that my grandma gave to my mom, and my mom passed along to me.
These memories came flooding back to me the day I was laid off and led me to apply to every catering company in the Bay Area. Eventually, I got an entry-level job with one of the better ones. Thanks to the strong work ethic my parents instilled in me and my fierce commitment to always meeting deadlines (an absolute MUST in the catering world), I was quickly promoted to the culinary event management team, which I led for four years.
When it became clear I’d reached the end of my growth potential working for someone else, I decided to go into business for myself. My first company was extremely successful; however, it didn’t align with my core values. I was in my early 40s, realizing I longed for more, and decided there was no time like the present to do what I love and love what I do for the people, causes, and communities that matter to me most by building a Sonoma County catering company that did business differently.
So I Moved to the Greater Portland Area and Salty Gal Catering, a Portland Offshoot of Jen Milton Catering, Was Born.
We create beautiful and delicious casual dishes to be enjoyed at events — music festivals, photo shoots, art shows, and anything that involves dogs…we LOVE dogs. In addition, we offer wedding catering and corporate catering. Every single meal we serve incorporates the highest-quality, locally-sourced ingredients while eliminating needless waste — of both food and plastic. Because we believe taking care of hungry people and the planet we live on matters. A lot.
Today, there’s nothing that gives me more joy than creating mouthwatering meals with my team that delight the eyes with vibrant color and nourish the body while using fresh produce from a local garden. The world is overcomplicated. Food should not be.