Born in the Twin Cities and raised in Hudson, Wisc., Chef Royal Dahlstrom was thrown from dishwashing to cooking breakfast for the customers at Dick’s Bar and Grill when he was just 15 years old. He then spent two years cooking from scratch at Joseph’s Family Restaurant in Stillwater before heading off to culinary school. After earning his stripes in theTwin Cities’ fine-dining circuit, Dahlstrom, 36, decided to form his own catering and culinary consulting firm. He now offers cooking classes, catering services for private and corporate events, and personal chef services.
“I decided to go to culinary school when I was working at Joseph’s, because one spring day we had two older ladies come in and sit at our pie counter. It was strawberry rhubarb pie season. I saw one of the ladies pick up her plate and lick it. Talk about instant gratification. In this business you can actually watch people enjoy their experience.
There’s definitely a gap in fine-dining catering in the Twin Cities. There are a lot of caterers out there, but a lot of them will have the same $18 chicken dinner. We try to bring a fine-dining restaurant environment to your home. It could be a sit-down dinner, appetizers for a social gathering or weekend cooking classes. I recently had a party for a group of orthodontists in St. Cloud. They helped prepare the meal. They wanted to get their hands dirty.
Usually people are trapped in meetings all day and they want a good, relaxing way to continue to entertain their guests or clients. A lot of what I try to do is take the menu away from the guest. My experience is that a lot of times when a group goes to a restaurant and everybody gets a menu, they’re more worried about what they’re going to have to eat than listening to the host close the deal. We give them a great menu so the guests don’t have to worry about choices and can continue to listen to the pitch.
We’ve had quite a few parties where the employers tell us that usually people come for only an hour and a half, but this time they stayed for three or four hours because the food was so good. That’s huge. We want to break down those barriers so people continue to enjoy themselves and stick around.”