The Accidental Caterer

“I’m so stubborn,” says Olive Chase, owner of The Casual Gourmet. “All the times I should have quit, I kept going.” Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, the business that initially started offering box lunches is now one of the top catering companies for more than 25 venues across the Cape. In 1986, Chase put her experience managing restaurants to work and opened a gourmet shop in Centerville. The long hours Chase and her family endured—husband Dave would wash dishes after his day job—were worth it to be able to work for herself. Chase hadn’t planned on catering, but people kept asking her to. “It turns out I was really good at it!” she says.

Chase, who has recently been named president of the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce, shares a secret to her success: “It doesn’t matter if someone is getting a sandwich in a cafe or throwing a wedding for 300 people. We always give our maximum effort for every client, every time.”

In addition to catering weddings and social and corporate events throughout the Cape, The Casual Gourmet operates Express Cafés at Heritage Museums & Gardens, Cape Cod Hospital and the Hyannis Youth and Community Center. A fourth Express Café opened at Falmouth Hospital in early April of this year. –Lisa Cavanaugh

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