HARD WORK COMES EASY: After a half-decade of growth, Easy Entertaining Inc. recently opened a space in a building at the Rising Sun Mills in Providence. Pictured above are owner Kaitlyn Roberts, left, and Executive Sous Chef Ashley Vanasse.
At $7.95 for the sandwich and a side, a mouth-watering “signature BLT” from Easy Entertaining Inc. exemplifies the company’s emphasis on fresh, locally produced food.
Topping a toasted Foremost Bakery brioche or whole grain and flax bread, the lunch item features in-house-cured, applewood-smoked Blackbird Farms bacon, local sliced, sweet tomatoes and homespun, roasted garlic aioli and mixed greens.
Attention to detail is just one of owner Kaitlyn Roberts’ ingredients for success at this company, which would not be doing the catering and café business it does today if the 30-year-old entrepreneur had not followed her own path of self-discovery.
At 19, Roberts used cooking as a way to gain some privacy from four roommates studying abroad in Rome – choosing to confine herself to the kitchen and make their meals.
When she returned to campus at Wofford College in Spartanburg, S.C., however, where she was studying English and communications and considered herself pre-law, she cooked on electric burners in her dorm room, earning repeat fire-code violations. But the dean of foreign studies saw potential in her renegade ways.
“She said, ‘You like to cook so much, you’re about to get kicked out of the dorm. So, why don’t you go to culinary school instead of law school?”
The Niskayuna, N.Y., native, who now lives in Providence, got her undergraduate degree in 2005 and then took a year-long culinary finishing program in Florence, Italy at Apicius Culinary Institute, now known as the International School of Hospitality.
“I packed my bags and moved to Florence,” she said, “learned to be conversant in Italian, went to school and loved it.”
From there, Roberts found herself preparing food for her parents’ friends’ parties. Dinner parties turned into parties of 50, which turned into weddings for 100 or more people, and before she knew it, Roberts had a business of her own to manage.
Before the catering business took off, Roberts was a personal chef for various clients, working out of their kitchens and maintaining office space in a building at Rising Sun Mills. After leasing separate kitchen and office space at various locations over the years, last November, it all came together and Roberts was able to lease Building 10 at the Rising Sun Mills for both offices and a dining area that can be used for breakfasts and lunches to host events.