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Hungry Bee slated to cater cocktail party for RNC Donors

By Holly Hammersmith  |  Photo by Gery Petrof

While every Hungry Bee client is important, the chance to plan and serve a high-profile evening cocktail party during the Republican National Convention is the “grand slam” of catering for owner Kimberly McCune Gibson.

The party for Republican Party donors, which takes place July 17, is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, Gibson says. “We know it’s going to be a crazy week and we welcome it. We are over the moon,” she says.

The cocktail party will take place at the private residence of a philanthropic Bratenahl couple and be attended by about 150 guests. Guests are Republican Party donors and supporters from across the country, Gibson says.

For security reasons, and because of signed confidential agreements with her clients, Gibson says she cannot disclose additional details about the event. A final food and drink menu is still being finalized for the event.

The opportunity to work this event came through the referral of one of her high-end clients, Gibson says.

“We did not seek out any of the (RNC) business. It’s been positive word of mouth,” she says.

The Hungry Bee, a gourmet food catering company, has catered events in upward of 200 to 400 people. While the cocktail party will be sizeable, it isn’t the largest event Gibson’s company has worked. They also serve private dinner parties in smaller, more intimate settings.

Planning for this event, along with putting together gift baskets for senators attending the RNC has kept Gibson and her modest staff of five on their toes. The Hungry Bee employs the assistance of a handful of independent contractors, from service staff to bartenders, to help run the larger events.

“We have been working with a few of the senators’ aides. We have received several phone calls with VIPs with the Republican Party,” Gibson says.

The gift baskets will be “high-end” and feature Cleveland products. They will be placed in all of the senators’ hotel rooms prior to their arrival.

“We are going to source everything locally and really showcase independent entrepreneurs of Cleveland in these baskets,” Gibson says.

In addition to managing these RNC-related contracts, Gibson says her staff is busy handling their normal book of business, which includes running their storefront shop in Chagrin Falls, working catering contracts throughout Northeast Ohio and working as a private chef for a handful of high-end clients.

Hungry Bee’s shop offers grab-and-go entrees on site. All foods are made from scratch daily, including soups, sides, salads, and sweets, Gibson says. On Tuesday and Thursday they offer family-friendly dinner nights, where customers can pick up an affordable meal the entire family will enjoy. On a recent evening she sold roughly 400 chicken paprikash dinners.

“We never in a million years anticipated the shop to be as busy as it is. It has definitely propelled our catering,” she says.

In addition to all of that, Gibson says she is also busy planning the opening of a new property.

Cultivate will also be in Chagrin Falls and be a quick-serve, clean eating café offering a specialized gluten-free menu, cold-pressed juices and other “clean-eating” menu items. No opening date has been set yet, but Gibson says she hopes it will be sometime this summer.

The RNC is kind of dictating all of these all other things for us right now, Gibson says. “Cultivate is going to be the project where we give back to the community,” she says. “We are going to source as locally as possible.”

Long-term she would like to franchise the idea. Cultivate will expand to locations within the local hospital systems, on college campuses and more.

Gibson, who grew up in Northeast Ohio’s Chagrin Valley, returned to Northeast Ohio after advanced schooling in the culinary arts.

“I always knew that I would come back to the community that supported me so much,” she says.

Her father is a local beekeeper and Gibson says she had a toe in the food industry while growing up. The Hungry Bee was founded in 2011 and she opened the storefront shop in 2014.

While the Hungry Bee has a handful of menu items clients love, their menu offering is diverse — from offering high-end classical French cuisine, down to pig roast. Because of this, Gibson says it’s the company’s service that makes them stand out most.

“We get people that say, ‘You were the first one to call me back, you were the first one to do a site visit, your customer service was incredible,’” she says. “We’re there for the client.”

Gibson has some clients in the higher upper echelon, but also works in the daily sector and corporate sector.

“Everyone is a VIP,” she says. “We truly do our best to try and accommodate anyone.”

From now through the end of the RNC, Gibson says she will embrace the busyness.

“When you hit a grand slam and you know the potential doors that will open, it is very emotional,” she says. “You put your heart and soul into your business. It’s very emotional when you see the hard work paying off. The RNC is truly an amazing opportunity.” 

For more information:hungrybeecatering.com

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