On The Spot: With Sara Elise & Ora Wise, Owners & Executive Caterers, Harvest & Revel
Sara & Ora Tells Us About Life As Culinary Stars.
We would not be able to create the amazing weddings that we do without our truly incredible network of vendors. From florists to photographers to stationers, we are lucky to know some of the most talented and creative pioneers in their industry. In this weekly segment, we’ll be featuring our partner vendors and introducing you to their story and the amazing work they do. This week, we’d like to introduce you to the dynamic duo that are Harvest & Revel. Sara Elise and Ora are the co-collaborators behind the full-service event catering company based in Brooklyn, New York. They create food inspired by season and location, supporting health as well as the local economy by sourcing fresh and ethically produced ingredients from the farmers, butchers, and fishmongers in the area. We sat down for a quick chat with the team to learn more about their unique attitude towards food, their fascinating backstory, and what really sets their services apart.
We’ve heard you have quite a backstory—so tell us: what inspired you to found Harvest & Revel?
Sara: While working in Private Wealth Management after attending business school, I started to explore food as a tool for self-care and healing. I began hosting “Seasonal Tasting Events,” an public invitation for my community members to experience an authentically rustic, slow, and organic relationship to the crops harvested for the empowerment and reclamation of self, and community. Continuing with the mission of using all natural, organic, locally sourced, and seasonal ingredients—but now wanting to do this on a larger, event-focused level—I founded Bed Stuy Kitchen in 2012. Meanwhile, after over a decade of media and art based education, Ora had begun working as a private culinary coach, producing a blog focused on the culture, ritual, and politics of food as well as operating an organic shaved ice and popsicle stand. After two years of traveling parallel paths, we joined forces and a dream partnership was born. We later rebranded as Harvest & Revel in 2016, and now offer full service private event and office catering, a la carte food orders, pop ups, culinary coaching and workshops, cooking classes, and wellness mentorship.
Wow! That’s an incredible journey. So now that you’re here, what would you say you love most about what you do?
Sara: I love that I get to work with the complete picture of our business each day—getting to see where Harvest & Revel has been, and how far we've come in just a few years! From organizing and working with our team of badass creative women, to engaging with clients, to designing the food set up and logistical offerings of each event, it’s really interesting to see how each part of our business interacts.
Ora: I love working with other cooks because I have a deep reverence for the people who make food, the careful and creative processes with which it's produced, and the passionate sharing of information and skills across generations and kitchens throughout the world. I love the solidarity! I also love learning how to pay close attention to, and celebrate, the differences and details in ingredients. Food is connected to everything: history, science, culture, religion, family, identity, and politics. So I appreciate my daily work being in this intersection of creativity and necessity, the physical and the intellectual. And really…I just love dreaming up menus!
Amazing. So from where do you draw your daily inspiration?
Ora: It comes from dishes I grew up eating and the ones my family continues to create, the conversations I have with my cooking team, books written by chefs whose ideas about food I respect and want to learn from, the holidays or cultural events happening in this diverse city we live in, and—more than anything else—the produce that is gorgeous and flavorful at that moment in the season.
And how would you describe your culinary style?
Ora: Our culinary style is down to earth, relaxed, and very focused on flavor. A lot of our menus are influenced by the foods that I grew up eating (Mediterranean & Middle Eastern), but we also deeply enjoy creating menuswith members of our cooking team inspired by their passions or family traditions, as well as those of our clients.
So what would you say really sets Harvest & Revel apart?
Sara: At Harvest & Revel, we only work with organic, seasonal ingredients that are sourced from nearby. We make many of our own breads, syrups, pickles, jams, dressings, and sauces. And when we don't, we source from the artisanal producers that we believe are the most talented and ethical of New York. We’re consciously stepping away from our culture's industrialized agriculture, over-processing, and fast food. And unlike most other catering companies, Harvest & Revel doesn’t have set menus because we customize every menu that we create in response to the vision of each client. We design a memorable and delicious culinary experience with integrity at every point of the process.
That’s truly spectacular. Okay, final question! What wedding, to date, did you most enjoy being a part of—and why?
Sara: We loved working with Björn and Company during a wedding at DUMBO Loft this past Summer! Everything that Björn set up was beautiful, and it felt great working amongst an aesthetic that really complimented the vibe of the food we created for the special celebration.
Ora: We also really enjoyed creating and serving the food for an intimate wedding at the (insanely inventive and delicious) Mace cocktail bar. We respect and enjoy their work so much, and loved creating food to pair with their inspiring cocktails. And we love small weddings! They allow for more interaction with guests, which is always so rewarding.
To learn more about catering services of Harvest & Revel, visit their website at www.harvestandrevel.com. To learn more about our wedding services (and the other great vendors we work with!), click here.
Thank you so much for joining us today! We'll see you next time "On The Spot"
Have a wonderful weekend!