3 User photos
User3640061 · 2+ years ago
Wonderful food, flexible with menu changes, very professional and reliable. And Paul found my husband and I at the reception, sat us down, gave us a plate of food, and made us eat. That was very much appreciated. :-)Sent on 10/29/2013
User2719572 · 2+ years ago
Dionysus Kitchen did a nice job catering to our needs. Chef Paul was responsive to all of our questions and concerns throughout the entire planning stage. He carefully worked with us to develop a menu that reflected our tastes and that inspired his artistic vision. In the end, Chef Paul delivered high-quality and delicious food that exceeded our expectations. Rebecca also did a excellant job of ensuring that the wedding event ran smoothly and that the staff provided exceptional service.Sent on 10/17/2012
Melissa S. · Married on 08/24/2019
Very mixed feelings
I have very mixed feelings after hiring Table Field as our wedding reception caterer. First and foremost, Paul Dongara aka Dionysus’ Kitchen aka Table Field does make very good food. Paul is definitely a food nerd and passionate about what he does, and that shows in the food he makes.Sent on 09/25/2019
Molly is also a true gem and likely underpaid for the amount of management and public relations and smoothing and problem solving and communicating she does to make events happen. Molly deserves enormous credit for stopping me from having nightmares about Paul and looking for ways out of our contract with him, because 5 months before our wedding when she appeared, that’s exactly where I was. She is his level headed, organized, listening, approachable, project manager/staff manager and honestly she deserves some kind of lifetime award.
Unfortunately, the experience of hiring Paul to make delicious food is very tarnished by Paul’s behavior, which was wildly erratic over the months between hiring him and our reception date. Fears about our food situation coming together became a primary source of anxiety for me in what should have been a fairly straight forward event at a location where he claimed to have run events previously. I think it’s useful to share our experience from the beginning, which is likely to be a fairly long post.
The event we were hiring for was a Saturday night reception in late August with around 80-100 people, set to take place a month after we returned from our destination wedding & honeymoon. Our budget was very nearly a blank check, but due to the size of our guest list, the vast majority of local vendors did not want to place such a low profit event on a Saturday in wedding season. Paul was willing to do so, and there really was no back up option who was willing to provide the high end food we were seeking.
Our impressions from our initial meeting with Paul was that he was very excited and passionate about food but perhaps a little awkward. He mostly monologued and told stories, including one about making lamb so delicious that it ran out well before the party was over and he refused to make whole lamb for events for this reason. It is kind of weird to tell a story about how you didn’t have enough food for guests on a first meeting. He was a quirky guy, but seemed reasonably capable of executing the event we needed. We have hired caterers a number of times for various events and generally they’re fairly stress free parts of executing an event. He made us a menu we were excited about - some stations, some passed apps - that said things like “luv mushrooms” on it. Which I do, but it was dissonant with the 40-something-year-old white man standing there.
We decided to go to a tasting with him. Unlike any other experience we or our bridal party had ever had in tastings, it was a large faux dinner party of many potential clients with a set menu and a non-zero pp cost. We were basically eating at Chez Paul. He justified this by saying he was a small business, but he also said things to suggest he’d been in the business for so long that he fashioned himself an industry patriarch of sorts, mentoring the next generation and helping them along. This last bit we should have paid more attention to. The double-speak and patronizing behavior became unanticipated sources of frequent stress for us.
The food at the tasting was good but he talked - OH HE TALKED. He talked until good food started to get cold. Every maxim about letting work speak for itself had escaped this man’s illustrious history. It was pitiful in a way, he was so sweaty and so nervous, random words seemed to fall out of his mouth until he’d run away again into the kitchen, and we’d all look at one another and try to reconcile the goodness of the food with the exhausting awkwardness of being treated like we hadn’t ever eaten before, and the feeling like he hadn’t ever really run an event even the size of a 20 person dinner party before. In the end, mom and I, who both have worked in mental health and run many events as lifelong Girl Scouts, decided this was something we could deal with - his food was good; he was a mess. We signed on the dotted line feeling ok about the decision and knowing we didn’t really have any other options in the wings.
We got an email from Paul around 6 months before our event saying we all needed to attend a contract review meeting. What followed was - god I wish I was joking - one of the longest, strangest phone calls of my whole life as this man talking 2900 miles a minute chattered and told stories interrupting his trains of thought while reading every single part of his pages long contract to an entire room of people who have advanced degrees, including education in law and policy (i.e., people who read technical documents for a living). The contract itself was far from pristine- it was smattered with parts that didn’t appear to fit our event (because we were going to have been married a month by then) and things that were inconsistent with his own prior statements about our event. We came back with notes and questions, requested changes, and a general consensus that something relatively easy and casual was being forced into the mold haphazardly generated by every professional conflict this man had ever experienced. Oh, and the take home message that if anything bad happened, he was likely not liable for it, and if he spent more time cleaning up than he was estimating, he could justify charging us $1000 PER HOUR. It was wild, patronizing, frustrating, and at many points just felt like his indulgent waste of our time. This is not how any prior caterer we have hired has ever behaved.
About a month later, we got a simultaneous email and phone call from someone who greeted us with a different couple’s names and said she got our information from Paul to make our cake. We weren’t having a cake or pastry of any kind. The woman claimed the misinformation was her fault and whatever Paul said would surely happen.
On a Friday during work hours (because Paul doesn’t meet clients at sites outside of business hours period, though he seemed to have no trouble doing that when he wanted our business in the beginning), my mother, fiancé and I took half days from work and drove out to our remote reception venue to meet Paul and Molly. Their behaviors were so different it really captured the whole saga in a single day. Paul came in and reminisced about events he’d supported at our venue prior to a large scale renovation, which no members of the venue staff could corroborate. Paul pantomimed an espresso station where our guitarist was supposed to be set up. Paul claimed he was going to bring large vertical vases, Mediterranean tiles, and shears so he could cut table arrangements from the surrounding landscape to put around his food.
Molly had a document we’d been working on all week and started getting details hashed out. She explained to me the options for our juice bar and the heights of tables needed for various stations, since we were using the venue’s existing furniture. Molly already had the name and email for our already hired florist and said she’d contact her to coordinate. And so it went: planning an event with Molly while Paul was playing in his own world.
When the topic of their departure at the close of the event was raised, I noted that I had put a deadline for their departure 30 min prior to the contract event end time -midnight- in the large document we were collaborating on, but that that deadline had been removed. Paul said that they never use the thousand dollar clause and launched into a whole story about why it was there because they had no recourse when they decided to stay well past their own contract when a bride’s father was playing music during a previous wedding. I asked how long it would take to strike the space, Molly told me 60-90 minutes, so we put a start striking time of 1030. Paul protested that he should be allowed to start clearing food at 9 or 915 since it would be 2 hours of food by then, despite us paying for 6 hours of his time, the event not being over for another 2 hours and this time being when we were going to do speeches - I worried people would read the clearing as a cue to leave, let alone it being disruptive. Paul then immediately snapped that if we had the strike time any time after 10 he would use the thousand dollar clause. So, let’s just be real - it does exist and he does use it, if for no other reason than as a “scare tactic - and it’s working!” - HIS WORDS - to get events to end sooner than he’s contracted for. Molly gently pushed me back to a 9:45 start of striking food, and assured me she would do so quietly and relatively slowly so it didn’t feel like such a stark transition right as the dj was starting. In fairness, while the strike felt early (we never did eat), it was not as disruptive as I was worried it would be. Still, it felt like he was squirreling around on the terms of the agreement.
We also negotiated getting to keep some of the food we were purchasing through Paul, since we were concerned we wouldn’t get to eat while hosting. This is not his standard way of operating, and it was stipulated that we had to bring our own catering trays to accommodate moving the food. Ok.
By the end of the 90 min site visit I was so drained I was fighting back tears. Having Molly there was hopeful, but I was still concerned we’d end up ordering pizzas at 10 pm.
Good food did come and many guests complimented us on it. My parents, husband, and I ate nothing during the actual event since we were busy and the stations were often packed. The only people who seemed to notice or attempt to remedy this were the DJ and the venue coordinator. It was not Paul’s priority, who I often glimpsed schmoozing guests while wearing wacky mushroom print pants. Molly was always, always working. Our impressions of his food at our event were solely based on guests’ responses, which were overwhelmingly positive. I just wish he hadn’t been such a source of constant dramatics over what was, in essence, really just a light fare dinner and wine party a month after we got married.
I wouldn’t hire Paul again, but I would not discount him as an option if a local friend were getting married. I just think you have to know what you’re getting into. And if Molly ever leaves, I hope she tells us where she goes because I’d work with her again in an instant!
Rebecca · Married on 10/28/2017
Paul and his wife Rebecca are great - the food was amazing and seasonal and just what we wanted. We specifically used them because they had access to the kitchen in our venue (so the food didn't have to travel) but I would use them again other places. They also got the linens and dishes, and supplied the bar staff (while letting us stock the bar). I didn't get many pictures but people told me it was the best food they had had at a wedding in a long time.Sent on 11/08/2017
Vincent · Married on 09/03/2016
We chose this company because the food at the tasting was outstanding, and we were seeking a company using locally sourced and seasonal ingredients. Paul obviously has culinary talent. Overall, we can't argue with the quality of food delivered at the event. All of our guests had positive things to say despite their initial hesitation at our creative, "nontraditional" menu.Sent on 10/02/2016
Menu planning was a bit challenging, and we did have pretty specific requests. He was prompt with his responses and followed his timeline. However, our communication styles were very different, and we often felt frustrated that our requests weren't being heard (compounded by the fact that we live out of the area so this was all done over the phone). Also, weekend hours for meetings/tastings were very limited, making it extremely challenging for out-of-towners. Fortunately, our family helped with a lot of the details, but if you want to handle those things yourself, I would not recommend this caterer if don't live locally or only are available on weekends.
Our biggest complaint was with the speed of service during the reception. Dinner service took about 90 minutes, which really cut time short for the band and dancing, and guests became restless between courses and left their tables. I had more minor complaints (such as the desserts we provided being served in the aluminum roasting pans we brought them in, and bartenders failing to make/use fresh squeezed orange juice despite agreement to do so with the juicer we provided), but they weren't make or break.
Overall, we felt the terms of the contract and pricing were reasonable for the quality of food. Paul delivered on the meal. However, there were some details of the event that were suboptimal and some of the planning was tricky.
Kylie R. · Married on 08/31/2019
I promised I’d write reviews for all my vendors as it seems often times only the positive reviews make it on these websites..Sent on 10/03/2019
When choosing to get married at a family home rather than a wedding venue we knew the planning process would be more challenging and time consuming. We hired multiple vendors (tent/rental company, wedding planners, florist, hair/makeup, photographer, videographer, shuttle company, etc). All of our vendors outside of TableField did a wonderful job and were pleasant to work with. Tablefield added a new level of frustration to wedding planning. I will not be using Table Field again after the poor time management, lack of communication and oddly erratic/rude behaviors demonstrated by the management team. They worked poorly with our other vendors and our wedding planners requiring my husband and I to spend countless hours handling tasks we hired the caterer and wedding planner for. Our “person of contact”’was switched 6 weeks before the wedding with no explanation. It seemed little was communicated between the old POC and new POC requiring us to basically restart the planning process with the catering team a month before the wedding. They really didn’t want to talk about details of our wedding until it was 30 days away and would charge extra “project management time” if they had to respond to an email.
The food itself was good but cold. The bartenders were unimpressive- pouring full glasses of Woodford (went through 2 handles during happy hour-not sure how that’s possible), making mimosas with vodka, and they were unfriendly. I am trying to give table field credit.. I understand we had a large (180 ppl) out of town wedding and it’s difficult to plan for an event like this! With that being said we spend nearly 25k on catering at the very least expected professionalism and responsiveness from the management team. Like I said before- poor time management, poor communication and lack of professionalism/transparency.
Sara · Married on 09/20/2008
I loved the food. Everything else- was a HUGE pain in the behind. Paul, the owner, is a phenomenal chef- which I can't stress enough. But that didn't NEARLY make up for how irritating it was to deal with him and his wife. They rubbed EVERYONE involved in planning our wedding the wrong way. My mom hated having to contact him on the phone (which was nearly impossible at times) because he was so horribly condescending to her every time they spoke. Our reception site coordinator has threatened to take him off her list of approved caterers because EVERYONE reports the same experience- great food, but everything else is terrible. Paul interrupted our wedding to give a long, drawn out spiel about what was on the buffet- he mentioned he might do this but made it sound as if it would be brief-- he came off as pompous and arrogant. If I had to do it over again, I would have opted for a less expensive caterer, even if the food wasn't as high in quality.Sent on 10/08/2008
Table Field Catering's reply:As the chef and partner in Dionysus Kitchen I feel I must respond to this post. First let me say that Dionysus Kitchen has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau and a 4.4 rating from Wedding Wire despite this particular individuals 2.0 review. Four of the other five Wedding Wire reviews rated us a perfect 5.0 and the sixth a 4.6 to date. Nevertheless, it greatly disappoints us when we dont please everyone, as much as we try.