At The Barn at Twin Oaks Ranch, we have a hand-selected list of preferred vendors that we absolutely love. Each month, I get the privilege of sharing with you one or two of our fabulous vendors, who we enjoy working with so much! These folks are the most talented around, and they're part of what makes each of our weddings so wonderful. Last month, I told you all about theCakePlace, who creates each of our gorgeous cakes and delicious desserts. Today, let's talk about Blue Willow Catering and Event Planning! (These photos are going to make you hungry... sorry about that in advance.)
Ray Black is the owner of Blue Willow Catering. He also owns a delicious barbecue joint in our area, Old Post Barbecue. Ray said he's been working in retail for 25 years; he spent 10 of those years working part-time with a chef in Atlanta, and that's when he knew he wanted to be in the food industry. Two years ago, he purchased Old Post Barbecue and started up Blue Willow Catering. His current team consists of a full-time chef and up to 15 staff members (depending on the size of the event and the venue).
Like The Barn, Ray's mission is to make each of his events go as smoothly as possible for the hosts. "Our goal is that we do a worry-free event for whoever we're doing it for," Ray said. He said they achieve this by taking a lot of time to plan with the event hosts. He sits down with every customer and discusses the event from beginning to end "so that they don't have to worry about the food, service or clean-up," he said.
Everything Blue Willow Catering makes is delicious. Some of their most popular dishes are fried catfish, meatloaf and Cajun-style dishes, and they also cook a lot of Asian, Italian and Southern cuisine. "There isn't a menu out there that we are scared to do," Ray said.
For our Open Barn this past summer, Ray and his team cooked a Caribbean meal that we're still talking about! It included jerk pork, Hawaiian style pork and several Caribbean-style dips. You can view their menu here, but know that this team is willing to cook anything your heart desires! Ray said they also do whole hog roasts, and they've even done a Moroccan-style meal. Remember Kelsey and Gueorgui's Bulgarian wedding that we talked about last week? Obviously a Bulgarian wedding has to include a few traditional Bulgarian dishes, and we know Blue Willow Catering is going to do an excellent job on those!
By the way, do y'all remember when we built our outdoor kitchen at The Barn? Well, the Blue Willow Catering team is always busy cooking away out there on wedding days! Not only is their food super tasty, but it is always fresh and hot as well!
While each of their menu items are exceptional, Ray said his favorite is the smoked ribeye, which he smokes for three hours before cutting and putting it on the grill. He also said their spicy French green beans are the best side dish around, even though he hates green beans!
While Blue Willow Catering is located in the River Valley, Ray and his team are also looking to expand into Northwest Arkansas and the Little Rock area. So if you're in those areas and you're looking for an exceptional caterer for your wedding or event, call him up!
You can view Blue Willow Catering's website (which includes several menus) here. Their Facebook page is here, and Old Post Barbecue's Facebook page is here. They are located at 407 S. Arkansas Ave. in Russellville.
We really can't say enough good things about this business! Their customer service is fantastic, and their food is exceptional! They're the real deal, y'all.