The distinct aroma of smoked turkey and freshly baked pies greeted customers Wednesday afternoon as they scurried in to pick up their Thanksgiving Day meals prepared at Catering by Scott Ray in White Hall.
Owner and operator Scott Ray has been catering from his new business location behind Sandy Acres since April, taking orders for Thanksgiving since October, and cooking vigorously all week.
“We have been cooking pretty much around the clock since Sunday,” Ray said.
Ray has a few people on staff to help out, but he does all the cooking himself. He says he does it all from scratch, doesn’t use recipes, and uses only the best ingredients, fresh products and real eggs.
“I don’t do cheap,” he said. “I want to give people quality at a fair price.”
A gathering of 10-12 people can get a complete meal for around $125.00. Ray says he doesn’t have a menu, mainly because he will cook whatever a customer wants. But for the most part, people have stuck with the basics this year — turkey and dressing, sweet potatoe casserole, peach cobbler, macaroni and cheese and green beans.
He said people have been picking up orders since Monday.
Ray said he sort of stumbled into the catering business. His only experience was cooking at home for his family. While running another business that sold fast food, he started making free meals for people to taste his cooking. He soon learned that people enjoyed his food and he enjoyed making it.
“It’s a fun business,” Ray said. “It’s either slow-paced or an adrenaline rush because you can’t start too soon but you always end up rushing at the end.”
Ray, who continued taking orders and talked between customers, said starting too soon would mean the food is not as fresh as he wants it. He said that when he cooks he wants it to be as if he were cooking for himself —in cleanliness and in taste. Strategic preparation means his food is always made to order, so Ray never has leftovers in his business.
At home, he does have a few creative ideas on how to revive the lingering turkey and side dishes. Since people generally “want something on the light side,” he recommended turkey salad and vegetable soup. He also makes potatoe pancakes from the creamed potatoes and fried pies from the yams.
Ray added one other piece of advice.: “Never eat food that was not prepared by a fat man, because a fat man knows how to cook.”