“If you start me up, if you start me up I’ll never stop …”
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The Rolling Stones might as well have been singing about Table Nectar Catering & Manzanita Kitchen & Events in Diamond Springs. Not only was the year-old business named the El Dorado County Chamber of Commerce’s Start-up Business of the Year, it appears that there’s no stopping co-owners Kim Medici and Andy Tannehill as they bring to reality their dream of uniting and serving the community through their ambitious enterprise.
The business was also recognized by California State Senator Ted Gaines, 1st Senate District; California Assemblywoman Beth Gaines, 6th Assembly District; and California Assemblyman Frank Bigelow, 5th Assembly District.
The couple, married in 2007, opened up their business in the Diamond Center just behind the Post Office last June, and their enthusiasm hasn’t waned, judging by the energy exhibited as they animatedly spoke of their plans.
Kim, 33, who grew up in El Dorado County, said she and Andy, 39, were running a catering business in Oakland when they decided returning to her home turf would be wonderful.
They spoke with Diamond Center developer Bruce Wirtanen, with whom Kim had gone to school, and the couple cast their eyes on what would become the event center that they hope will provide the cement for bringing the community together.
Quality is important
“We want to offer a great resource and make it affordable and accessible,” said Andy. “We want to offer organic, sustainable products that are good for people, for families. We wish everyone felt as passionately as we do about providing healthy, wholesome food and produce from local farms and ranches.”
The Manzanita is a rental banquet facility, with a spotless, gleaming kitchen that pours forth nutritional, delicious foods and wines, said Kim. The food that finds its way from that sterling kitchen must be only the best, she stressed.
“We live on leftovers from the events,” she smiled, “so we’re not going to make what we wouldn’t feed our own family.” Kim and Andy have a 15-month-old daughter, Mylah, who Kim said “has practically been raised here.”
“She runs around like she owns the place,” said Kim, earning a knowing nod from the company’s event manager, Jenny Lundine, who was busy organizing paperwork.
“Jenny saved the day for us,” added Kim. “Andy and I were totally overwhelmed at the beginning, building a house, opening a business and having a child.”
Husband Andy smiled at his wife and said, “Now that we’re out of the insanity of the year start-up, we have all kinds of ideas that we will begin in the next year or two.”
The family makes its home on property on Hanks Exchange between Diamond Springs and Pleasant Valley, and that country way of living infuses the couple’s undertaking, with Kim explaining that eventually the event center should be open for restaurant business, maybe three days a week for specialty dining.
“We’d like to have more focus on a specialized restaurant, featuring farm-to-table dinners,” she said. “We’d like to start with a once-a-month dinner and show, with counter service and a limited menu, then expand to two or three times a week.”
Until that vision takes full shape, Manzanita Kitchen & Events stands ready to serve the public with a great venue for weddings, business meetings, mixers, workshops, art shows and so much more.
If the special occasion calls for food, Table Nectar catering is ready to provide quality, innovative dishes — and if you use Table Nectar, then all the flatware, tables, chairs and so on are free with the building rental.
The warm wood, iron and stone decor of the event space includes a handcrafted bar and lounge, central air and a gas fireplace, a surround sound system and custom-built reclaimed wood banquet tables.
By choosing the couple’s Table Nectar catering, clients can count on their guests enjoying healthy, appetizing eating, with dietary restrictions and special requests not a problem.
The caterers promise new twists on old classics along with modern California farm cuisine.
Kim and Andy decided on the “Manzanita” moniker because that plant is indigenous to the foothills they call home and its hard wood burns bright and strong — just like their dream.
Food brought them together
The couple met in 2007 when Andy was pulling chef duty for an event in San Francisco connected to the Burning Man celebration. Kim noticed that the chef and his crew were a tad busy with the more than 400 people they were trying to please, so she volunteered to help.
“You said you were impressed with my ability to stay calm in the middle of a stressful situation,” said Andy, kissing his wife on the cheek.
Kim recalled that after Andy gave her a ride home on a rainy night (she had ridden her bike) they discovered they lived two blocks apart, and it seemed like fate had brought them together in the teeming city.
“When I first met Andy I saw that he had something that a lot of chefs don’t,” said Kim. “I worked in the service end of the food industry for a few years and I saw that a lot of chefs were not listening to the customers, that they were offended by any criticism.
“I really liked Andy’s attitude.”
Andy said Kim impressed him as well.
“Let me talk about Kim’s ability to pair wine and food,” he said. “She has a nuanced knowledge, almost intuitive, of what dishes will go with what wines.”
Clients may put that instinctive flair to work for their gathering, as Manzanita Kitchen & Events is licensed for beer and wine sales, and in fact wine events are one of their specialities.
Currently the venue features live music once a month, on a Friday, with America, bluegrass, folk, classic rock and blues on the playlist. Information regarding upcoming performances is available at manzanitadiamondsprings.com.
Kim and Andy’s mission statement explains that they are available to share their years of expertise with others interested in starting up a food business, with free consultation to start.
Assistance in dealing with government codes will help untangle the red tape and great access to local suppliers, farmers and producers is also offered. The rental kitchen comes with a 10-by-12 foot refrigerated walk-in, three prep stations, two convection ovens, two conventional ovens, grill, flat top, broiler, deep fryer … peek inside and be amazed.
Those interested in taking advantage of a quality event venue will enjoy the professional lighting, audio-visual and sound system at Manzanita in a setting conducive to restful reflection and comfortable contemplation. You might even get some work done.
Call Table Nectar Catering & Manzanita Kitchen & Events at 530-344-7613 or go to tablenectar.com for more information.