Not many people go into work and see Robin Williams talking to their dogs in French and English accents. Williams, Dave Chappelle and Bono are just a few clients Melissa Myer has catered for as cook and co-owner of Food to Die For, a catering company based out of the Verizon Amphitheater. The company caters mostly to entertainers and their crew when they perform at local venues. After graduating from UNC Charlotte with a degree in criminal justice, Myer decided she wanted to cook for a living. With 12 years in the entertainment catering industry, which comes with all-access backstage passes, she's happy she followed her passion rather than her degree.
Creative Loafing: Since most of your clients are "high-status" celebrities, do you receive a lot of outrageous catering requests?
Melissa Myer: The more unusual requests have little to do with food and are typically something for [a client's] dressing room — like socks, a box of hair color or underwear. Some musicians, such as Gwen Stefani, have requested diapers and baby food. Then there are some artists, who shall remain nameless, that request brand-new toilet seat covers. Over time, I'll see new trends that are coming in. In 2000, I got requests for Fat Tire (Belgium beer) and Red Bull. Back then, it was hard to find those items around here, so I used to go crazy looking for those things. Gluten-free seems to be the new trend. One of the members of Godsmack is gluten-intolerant, so I am sure I will see that a lot this year.
When you were told of your first "high status" catering gig, do you remember how you felt?
The first big gig I catered was Ozzfest. I was catering for 20 bands, feeding over 350 people — it was an all-day event. I slept two hours in a dressing room. The emotion I probably felt was fear [laughs] because you want to make sure everything goes smooth.
Is there a memorable encounter with a client that significantly sticks out in your mind?
I was working for Chris Robinson of the Black Crowes. He was doing a solo tour, while he was married to Kate Hudson. The subject of bulldogs came up and I was telling him I had some puppies. He said he and Kate were talking about getting Kate's brother Oliver a bulldog. Chris gets on the phone to Kate to tell her about it and he takes my business card. Next day, my phone rings and a woman said, "This is Goldie Hawn." I was so pleased with myself that I didn't freak out or say something stupid. We start talking about the dogs and about five minutes into the conversation, she asks, "Do you ever have problems with your dog's anal glands?" I'm thinking, I'm on the phone with Goldie Hawn and we are discussing anal glands! She was very nice and easy to talk to. She gave me her e-mail address and I sent her pictures and later spoke with Oliver. He wanted a younger puppy so he didn't take one of mine, but it was a very memorable moment in my life.