An Exclusive Q&A with Houston’s Top Caterer: Bailey Connor Catering

A team member from Bailey Connor Catering cuts steak at a food station for wedding guests.
Photo: Alexxis Christine Photography | Catering: Bailey Connor Catering

Searching for exquisite cuisine for your wedding day? Bailey Connor Catering has been Houston’s premiere full-service catering and events company for over three decades, producing unforgettable celebrations across the city. This family-owned powerhouse, led by Executive Chef Timothy Powers, Director of Catering and Events Marsha Millstid, and Director of Marketing Tessa Yates, delivers exceptional five-star European-style service, cuisine, and indulgent custom confections for any occasion. Catering and Events Manager Sequena Tate, Executive Pastry Chef Aaron Echols and Sous Chef Kathy McClarty have produced successful events for many years and continue their commitment to excellence, event after event. With this team’s dedication to elevated and unique catering experiences, Bailey Connor tends to every detail, from event planning, décor, rentals and more, so you can relax and let the experts exceed your expectations.

From intimate gatherings to grand wedding receptions, you can trust Bailey Connor Catering to craft a bespoke experience that tells your unique story through cuisine and design. We are delighted to welcome Bailey Connor Catering for an exclusive interview for all the details on their fresh and inspired menu options, creative designs and ideas, trends and unique serving methods.

A fish cooked by Bailey Connor Catering is served to wedding guests on a wooden platter with kale and an assortment of bell peppers.
Photo: Two Pair Photography
Weddings in Houston: Describe one of the most exciting wedding menus you’ve created recently. 

Marsha Millstid: All our weddings are exciting and different, and we love that. Although we have done more weddings than we can count, each one is always unique, and we love them all.

An exciting menu we’ve had the pleasure of doing would have been for our clients, Michael and Ellie. Their Star Wars-themed nuptials were centered around action station service. We had an expansive grazing table for cocktail hour, bringing in fall colors. The dinner service had something for everyone: Gourmet Slider Station, Poke Station, Mashed Potato Bar, Pasta Station and Southern Fried Chicken Wings Bar. This menu commanded tremendous compliments, and guests could not stop saying we had “the best darn buffalo chicken sliders.”

Our culinary experience continued throughout the night when our Pastry Chef attended the Flambe Station and Street Taco Station for a late-night bite. This wedding was fabulous because it was a menu highlighting the couples’ favorite foods while featuring their bond and love of Star Wars luxuriously with farmhouse tables, lush florals and gold accents.

Another favorite and new action station is our Tomahawk Station. Guests love to watch the chef prepare and flame steak. Guests also love watching this process as the chef cuts off the meat from a dramatic stand and slices each for the guests.

Another outstanding wedding we had the pleasure of being a part of was a three-day Desi wedding celebration for Razia and Hunter. Our event coordinators took care of every design aspect, from their Mehndi night at their home to their ceremony at McGovern Centennial Gardens. We provided a selection of butler-passed hors d’oeuvres, and guests were welcomed to the backyard with our attended action stations. The menu included our Gourmet Sliders, Wok-Fired Bulgogi Station, Southern-Style Shrimp and Grits and a beautiful Flambe Station.

Our coordinators continued bringing their McGovern Centennial Gardens event vision to life with a custom light design over the dance floor detailed in a large rose petal heart with bride and groom “thrones” on the dance floor with decorative lounge furniture and romantic florals.

Executive Chef Tim curated a plated dinner menu with the couples’ flavor preferences in mind. Their first course was our Citrus Pomegranate Salad. Guests could choose Champagne Yuzu Lacquered Halibut for the main course over Sauteed Farro and Spinach or Chicken Tikka Masala over Basmati Rice. We kept guests warm and energized through the night with handcrafted espresso drinks from our Espresso Bar (and plenty of outdoor heaters).

We even took care of personal décor details, such as having movers remove all the furniture from the main areas of the home, while we provided a banquet for the bride and groom, filled with various sofas, chairs, cocktail tables, custom draping, pillows and lanterns. Our team decorated their suite at Hotel Zaza with champagne, a bubble bath, rose petals shaped into a heart on the bed and the bride’s gift from the groom, bringing the wedding weekend to a storybook close.

The lamb lollipops, a guest favorite, are served on a silver platter for wedding guests.
Photo Courtesy of Bailey Connor Catering
WiH: What are some of the most in-demand menu items for wedding receptions?

MM: Many clients love our grazing tables, fig crostini, peach bourbon chicken lollipops and bloody mary shrimp shooters, which are in demand for cocktail hour. Action stations and stationary displays are prevalent right now, and our award-winning mac n cheese station is one of our biggest crowd-pleasers for adults and kids alike.

Our carving stations, raw bar with custom ice sculpture, petite salad display, artisan pizza station, flambe station, ice cream sandwich station, and our chocolatier station (Your guests can watch as our pastry chef tempers dark chocolate and dips strawberries, marshmallows & pretzels to order) are in high demand.

For our couples who want the traditional culinary experience, our Honey Balsamic-Glazed Chicken, Espresso Crusted Tenderloin and Firecracker Salmon are several popular entrees.

Pastel colors of pink, white and purple macaroons replicate a cake designed by Bailey Connor Catering's Pastry Chef, Tessa Yates.
Photo: Mustard Seed Photography
WiH: What culinary trends are you tracking for 2024 weddings?

MM: We are excited about the 2023-2024 wedding trends as the demand for unique and creative cuisine and design options is increasing. Stationary and interactive food displays incorporating ice sculptures, whether for an espresso martini luge, a raw bar, individual seafood towers, or even monogrammed ice cubes for signature cocktails, are trending for 2024.

Open-fire and open kitchen concepts are fun, giving guests the most interactive culinary experience as they see our chefs in action and feel the heat. Grazing tables and charcuterie boards are becoming the focal point for a cocktail hour by designing meats, cheeses and fruits into artwork.

We are excited about the trends related to cakes and desserts. Our executive pastry chef loves the trend of vintage and Victorian-style wedding cakes. 3-D floral paintings and pressed, dried florals on wedding cakes bring a modern flare to any traditional cake. For our couples that love more than just cake, we are excited about the feature of cascading or towering macarons. We love the more non-traditional display of cake designs, like square and geometric shapes and metallic accents. We are also keeping up with the trend of our clients opting out of serving cake altogether and offering a dessert display with an assortment of petite desserts and interactive dessert stations.

Wedding guests indulge in a dessert station serving ice creams and other sweet treats catered by Bailey Connor Catering.
Photo: Ali Minetree Photography
WiH: What are your favorite display ideas for fun, unique, interactive food stations?

MM: We love getting creative with our interactive food stations, offering various toppings in innovative ways. We create displays mixing heights to keep the eye drawn to a new part of the display every time. If the couple has a theme, we utilize that in our displays and trays. We love ice sculptures, and not just the swans! We also love incorporating themed serving ware like mini cast iron skillets, coupe and martini glasses, bamboo bowls and monogrammed packaging.

The two grooms share an intimate and memorable moment as they enjoy a taste of their wedding cake.
Photo: Always Us Studios
WiH: Why do you love what you do? 

MM: We love what we do because we enjoy being a part of so many memorable moments. Sharing smiles and laughter and witnessing the celebration of love is truly an honor. We often get stuck in work mode and must remember to enjoy life’s moments and special occasions like weddings. Our team has shed some tears after the “I Do” and individual speeches.

We love creating for our clients, and we love their reaction when it all comes together. We love designing vision boards for our clients so they can actually “see” and “feel” the colors and design before we get started, helping us fulfill their visions. We like to incorporate wedding monograms, couple photos or other designs on our monogram bar fronts and video streaming on our video bars.

One side of our business concentrates on cuisine, and the other on event planning and design. We all share our ideas and input on the cuisine we think fits or create a new dish (if the client hasn’t decided), entertainment such as live hand-rolled cigars with custom bands, espresso and coffee bars, and live entertainment from dancers to Casinos.

Of course, floral design and the coordination of linens, furniture, glassware, flatware, etc., is what ties it all together. We operate in an open concept office, so we all have a voice and input on all planning aspects to final execution. This way, everyone in our team knows how to execute every event we produce. We ALL love collaborating and being creative and are so happy this is our job – our work!

A culinary dish cooked and created by Bailey Connor Catering consists of shrimp, rice and edamame.
Photo Courtesy of Bailey Connor Catering
WiH: What is your all-time favorite dish? 
  • Marsha, Catering Director and Owner (Hors d’Oeuvre: Fig Crostini, Entrée: Shrimp and Grits Dessert: Bonbons)
  • Tessa, Marketing Director and Owner (Hors d’Oeuvre: Crab Wonton, Entrée: Fire Cracker Salmon Dessert: Pumpkin Spice Macarons, Pistachio Macarons and Signature Homemade Chocolate Chip Chookies)
  • Timothy, Executive Chef and Owner (Hors d’Oeuvre: Seared Scallop A La Carrot Puree, Entrée: Espresso Crusted Ribeye Dessert: Tropical Passion Panna Cotta)
  • Aaron, Executive Pastry Chef (Hors d’Oeuvre: Brie Tartlet, Entrée: King Oyster Scallop Dessert: Pastel De Tres Leches Con Coco)
  • Kathy, Sous Chef (Hors d’oeuvre: Asparagus Straw, Entrée: Sea Bass Yuzu Dessert: Croquembouche)
  • Sequena, Wedding Sales Manager (Hors d’Oeuvre: Crusted Lamb Lollipop, Entrée: Grilled Red Snapper Veracruz Dessert: Skillet S’Mores Station)

Now that you have found the perfect caterer, it is time to select the venue. Check out these 20 Fabulous Rehearsal Dinner Venues in & around Houston.

“An Exclusive Q&A with Houston’s Top Caterer: Bailey Connor Catering” Spotlight WiH Partner- Bailey Connor Catering

Contributing Vendors – Alexxis Christine Photography / Two Pair Photography / Mustard Seed Photography / Ali Minetree Photography / Always Us Studios 

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