DTCB Productions is excited to announce our new catering partnership with FTG Boutique
Catering Co. from Gainesville, FL. In order to introduce our clients to this special new aspect
of our “A la Carte” options, (and because we believe at DTCB Productions that the individual
creator is just as important to get to know as the product itself), we are honored to interview
Crysta Brown, the Co-Founder and Catering Coordinator of FTG Boutique Catering Company!
Amanda-Gaye of DTCB Productions: Hi Crysta! Thank you so much for taking the time to
discuss your company with us today! Let’s start with a quick introduction, where are you from and
how long have you worked with food?
Crysta Brown: Hello Amanda! Thank you so much for having me, we are very excited to be partnering
with DTCB Productions! I am actually an Air Force Brat, so I have lived in many places, but I moved to
Gainesville from Wellington, FL! I have worked with food since I was 15 as an intern in a former
restaurant called “Capische” in Maui, HI (where my mother lives and I would visit every summer)!
AG: What was your first, most memorable moment with food- either tasting or creating, or both?
CB: As silly as it sounds, my dad would record a cooking show with me and my Easy Bake oven when I
was younger. We would also watch “Emeril Live” and the original “Good Eats” with Alton Brown on the
Food Network all the time. Then, we would try most of the recipes for the family!
AG: When did you first realize that you wanted to work with food?
CB: Growing up I wanted to be a teacher or a lawyer, but as I got older I realized I really liked the
creativity of food. I think that I finally decided I wanted to be a caterer was seeing a show called “Chef
Roble & Co.” that showed the artistry of catering along with party planning.
AG: Do you consider cooking to be a primarily “creative” job?
CB: I feel like cooking is 90% creativity and 10% problem-solving. You have to be creative to change
flavors, presentations, ingredients, etc. However, you also have to be ready if something goes wrong.
You could have a recipe DOWN, but something can always go wrong and you have to know how to fix
or prevent those incidents.
AG: What is your definition of creativity and how does your chosen profession provide an outlet for
your own creative pursuits?
CB: My definition of creativity is taking my personal imagination and ideas and finding a way to
express them. It’s stepping out of the box and putting your own spin on traditional ideas. The goal of our
company is basically to take what most consider bland catering food and turn it on its head to make
catering food that looks and tastes great. We use high-quality ingredients and don’t take the same
short-cuts that most caterers do! If the client has an idea, we can bring it to life and there is nothing like
food to make someone happy!
AG: Where do you look for inspiration when creating your menu?
CB: We have taken the opportunity to make note of what clients in our area enjoy and don’t enjoy while
working for other companies. We also wanted to refer to many of the “heavy-weights” of the industry in
the country to truly see what is trending and what is different from every other company in the area.
We wanted to be unique, hence where the “Boutique” part of our name came from!
AG: What sort of flavor profiles do you love to work with?
CB: Personally, I am a savory person. I also resonate well with umami flavors! A lot of my inspiration
is from growing up. My parents lived in Japan and I was born in Italy, so I try to utilize those flavor
profiles as much as possible.
AG: I’ve noticed you are incredibly detailed when it comes to presentation, tell us a little more about
that. Where do you look for inspiration when plating your food?
CB: Thank you so much! I look to my fellow caterers who are a part of the International Caterers
Association as my inspiration. They are trendsetters in this industry and I can’t think of anyone else to
look up too.
AG: You recently left mainstream catering and food service to begin your own company with your
partner. Tell us about that- what prompted your decision to strike out on your own?
CB: I always knew I wanted to work for myself. The “final straw,” as they say, was when I didn’t feel
like my experience in the industry was being taken seriously. I started as an event planner with an
amazing company that way I could learn all aspects of events. Then, I worked for a couple of other
companies, attended an amazing catering conference, and took what they did the best to develop, what I
feel, is a great catering structure. Time is important, organizing is important, using high-quality food is
important, and I felt that my last employer didn’t agree with these things, so I finally made the decision
to leave and start something with Hunter, my partner.
AG: Describe your approach to creative collaboration with your partner. How do you maintain a
good work-life balance?
CB: Hunter and I have worked together in almost every place I have personally worked. Out of the 6
years we have been together, the last 4.5 have been working together as well. Starting of , things were a
bit weird, especially if we didn’t necessarily agree, but we quickly determined that our relationship is
more important than any work disagreement. We know when and how to separate work from life. If we
snap at each other at work or while working on our food truck, we do not bring that home. Apologies
are made during “work hours” and by the time we get home things are resolved. I feel it’s also important
to note that we do have a great foundation and want the same things for our business! He is very blunt
and extremely creative and I’m the more “rational” one and the one who deals with clients, so we have
created a great balance.
AG: Where do you see FTG Boutique Catering in five years? What is your long term
vision for your company?
CB: I would love to have a smaller food trailer within the next five years. Since our catering kitchen is
also a food trailer, it’s MASSIVE! It would be great to have a smaller food trailer for our food truck
events! The long term vision would be to have a food truck staff and a catering staff. We want constant
clientele in both areas. We would love to be able to send a crew out with the food truck and have plenty
of catering events for Hunter and me to see-over. We want to be busy enough to have the freedom of
hiring staff , developing teams, and being able to trust those people with our business so we can
maintain our great work-life balance.
AG: What sort of events do you love to work on? What sort of conversations do you like to have
with your clients?
CB: We like to joke around that we want to be the “Rehearsal Dinner” caterers. We want couples to
have an amazing meal with their closest family and friends before their wedding. Our ideal number of
guests is between 15-50 people. We feel that the quality of food stays the best with these numbers, but we
also realize that is the way the industry is going! Couples of our generation want smaller weddings, that
way they have the budget to pay for an “experience” and we want to be the ones to provide them with
AG: Ok, well now I guess we just have time for one more question: What is the absolute best meal
you have ever had, and what was the worst?
CB: This is SO HARD! I would have the say the best meal I have ever had was when Hunter and I went
to Bologna, Italy. We stayed across the street from a small restaurant that turned out to be the best in
the area. The food was IMPECCABLE! I literally can’t even describe how good it was. But what made it
even better was the atmosphere. Bologna is a very very small town, so everyone there was mostly
residents with a few tourists here and there. The owner walked around and had conversations with
every single patron. He even made additional meals table-side for everyone to enjoy. We got to talk to
him about our family histories in Italy and even ended up taking selfies and having a bottle of wine
together. It was beyond amazing. Now, the worst meal I have ever had is even harder to think of.... I
would have to say it is kind of a tie between a few BBQ restaurants I’ve been to (like all over the
country), but this goes double for restaurants that don’t use a smoker!! I’m talking boiled ribs, frozen
sides, old re-heated meat. Ugh, BBQ is so loved and cherished in the south, but when it’s not fresh out of
the smoker or of the grill, it’s just GARBAGE!
*For more information or booking inquires please check out FTG Boutique Catering by clicking the photos below!