Originally hailing from Atlanta, Georgia, Cate Easterly now calls Sayulita her year round home. After becoming friends with, and then working alongside Nuri Bon, who was voted Best Private Chef in 2014, the two decided to open Bocadito Catering together. Their complimentary backgrounds, styles of cooking, use of organic ingredients, and catering to traditional as well as modern palettes, have led to rave reviews.
Has cooking always been a passion?
Not at all. Growing up, my dad owned restaurants and I used to like to spend time there but was such a picky eater. As a vegetarian, I would only eat grilled cheese sandwiches and no vegetables. It was years before I would eat a salad. My dad would prepare paella every year at Christmas and I wouldn’t touch it. It wasn’t until later that I developed a passion for food after I began my first cooking job at 15 and discovered I loved being creative in the kitchen. Imagine my mom’s surprise! Now I eat everything with gusto.
How long have you been doing catering (in general and specifically in Sayulita)?
My background has mostly been restaurants, but I dabbled in catering and did a lot of private chef work in both Denver and Seattle prior to moving to Sayulita. All in all I have been cooking 20 years now. I actually had switched from back of the house cooking to pursue studying wine and restaurant management. I worked as a wine buyer and a restaurant manager for a time too. Then, for a while I just made cheese and cured meats as a hobby, and only dabbled in the kitchen. About a year and a half ago, back here in Sayulita, I started working for Nuri Bon helping her out periodically with private events and fell back into cooking professionally again. Last season we decided to form a partnership and make a real go of it, starting Bocadito Catering together. Neither of us anticipated how busy we would be right off the bat. It’s been phenomenal.
How long have you been living in Sayulita? What made you come here?
Initially I was visiting Puerto Vallarta and took a bus to Sayulita to surf for the day. That was 6 years ago. I decided then I was moving here. I went home (to the US), went back to work, sold all my stuff and drove down with my dog not knowing anyone here. I left for a few years but was drawn back; it’s been almost three years back now full time. I wanted to surf, paddle, fish, and have more of a work/life balance.
What type of cuisine do you prepare?
We prepare a variety of cuisines. Nuri brings a more traditional and modern take on Mexican cuisine and my background is more classical French, Italian and new American. For us, the most important thing is focusing on using local ingredients and putting our spin on it.
Do you have any specialties?
Well I love cooking seafood of all varieties! My take on pescado zarandeado is a constant hit. I did spend over a year doing nothing but rolling pastas, which is something I don't do a lot of here but I still really enjoy it. Nuri makes an amazing cochinita pibil. Both of us try to focus on updating classic and traditional dishes, using the best of locally grown ingredients wherever possible. We both are really interested in gardening and the tropical climate affords us a long growing season and a beautiful variety of fruits and vegetables.
Please tell me what all goes into providing a signature/memorable catering experience.
There is so much work that goes into creating memorable events, especially with larger parties like weddings. It’s all about getting to know the guests, their personalities, likes and dislikes, and creating custom and personalized menus. A successful event is made in the details. Most of the time we don’t meet clients ahead of time so communication is key. We really strive to anticipate everyone’s wants and needs ahead of time. Preparation is essential. Paying attention to the details is what can really make or break an event. We never want the guests to have to worry about any hiccups.
What is your favorite part of what you do?
There are so many! I love the immediate gratification of seeing people gathered together enjoying each other’s company, food and drinks. People come here for many reasons: yoga retreats, celebrations or just relaxation, and we get to be a part of making their vacations memorable. The constant change in the menus we create and the beautiful locations are also amazing perks. We are working with fantastic ingredients in beautiful Sayulita! It’s definitely never boring.
What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received?
I think for me it’s having guests who continue to return to Sayulita. Forming relationships and continuing to cook for them is the highest compliment. There is a lot of trust involved.
Anything else you’d like to mention?
I feel so fortunate to have made Sayulita my home and to have become a part of such an inspiring community. I’m looking forward to hopefully a little downtime and the coming rain and tranquility of low season. It is truly a paradise of diversity and a wonderful place to visit and live. Also feel free to check us out and make reservations because our calendar is already filling up quickly for next season.