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Friday, April 18, 2008

Parties Made Easy

Letting Shully’s do the work

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Pulling off the perfect party is truly a form of art. It requires foresight, organization, diplomacy, creativity, style and stamina. There are those of us who can lay claim to three or four of these traits—enough to critique the host’s choice of centerpiece or color palette—but to be able to unfurl each one of these skills in the execution of an absolutely seamless event, you have to be kissed by Bacchus, the Prince of Parties, himself.

Twenty-five years ago, Beth and Scott Shully married in what could be considered both a romantic and professional sense. To their business partnership, Scott brought the culinary know-how he accumulated in cooking school, local and European apprenticeships and various kitchens in Milwaukee’s fine-dining restaurants; Beth brought hard-earned experience in catering, as well as an artistic flair that had been groomed while obtaining degrees in fine and graphic arts.

Carting an old pizza oven in their rickety station wagon, the young couple began cooking small dinners for parties held in people’s homes. Party numbers grew larger and soon the Shullys were catering events with 600 guests. More than two decades later, Shully’s Cuisine and Events caters corporate galas that boast a guest list of 12,000 (yes, thousand) and require an entire year to plan.

As a client of Shully’s Cuisine and Events, you decide how involved you want the company to be. You can hire them to design, cook and serve the meal, or you can direct them to arrange and implement the total environment to reflect the mood you want to create. Managing multiple vendors, each responsible for just one aspect of the event—the cake, entertainment, flowers, lighting, tent, furniture, linens, china, silver and glassware—can be utterly overwhelming. When you hire Shully’s to plan a wedding, ball, party, gala, dinner, corporate event or fund-raiser, you’re buying a pass to enjoy yourself at the event without having to worry about the details.

When the company was in its infancy, the Shullys made it a goal to serve food that tasted like, and was presented as if, it came from the kitchen of a fine-dining restaurant. Milwaukee’s intertwined social circles compel the Shullys to keep their menus fresh, innovative and personalized.

Rather than use a set menu, the Shullys help clients create one that suits their tastes and their budgets. Raw ingredients are prepared at their commercial kitchen in Thiensville and then transported to the event, where the meals are cooked on site using equipment that the Shullys have brought in, such as ovens and saut stations. An event planner then coordinates with the kitchen to ensure that the service is well timed. You don’t have to be invited to a Shully’s-catered event to experience its renowned cuisine. From January through March, the Shullys still prepare in-home, sit-down dinner parties (sans rickety station wagon). They also operate a private event facility in Thiensville that includes a private dining room, a caf and a chef’s table in the kitchen, all of which are available year round.

During the winter, the Shullys offer four separate Euro-style dinners, each with seven courses and wine pairings. For guests of the chef’s table in the kitchen, Chef Shully prepares a full-course menu before their eyes. The kitchen is also available for guest participation dinners, which are great for hands-on entertainment or corporate team-building. From May through October, the Shullys can expand the caf with a spacious and elegant garden tent that accommodates up to 275 guests.

The Shullys have combined their passion for eclectic, up-scale cuisine with their love for fun, creative social gatherings. They have mastered the perfect party … so you don’t have to.

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