Regional Chamber Celebrates Opening of Boozey Bites Catering with Disco-Themed Ribbon Cutting and Mixer | Company

THE CENTER – Disco lights, appetizers and colorful drinks were on display at the Imperial Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce (IVRCC) Boozey Bites Disco Cocktail Bar event and ribbon cutting on Friday, June 3 at El Centro .

The IVRCC hosted the event at their office in support of one of their newest members, Sidney “Squid” Hollinger’s Boozey Bites restaurant and bar service.

The event saw the grand opening of his company, where IVRCC members and dignitaries from Imperial County, the City of El Centro, the City of Imperial and a member representative from the Assembly Eduardo Garcia were present to celebrate the new fledgling business in the Valley.

“Tonight was kind of a multiple event: a grand opening, a ribbon cutting and a mixer with a disco theme for added fun,” said Bari Smith Bean, CEO and Acting Vice President of IVRCC.

Bean said IVRCC’s support of Boozey Bites as a business aligns perfectly with the Regional Chamber’s work to support local businesses, but also “to get out of that mindset that a business is contained in a only city,” because Boozey Bites is a “business that comes to you.”

Hollinger — who grew up in El Cajon and worked with a young professional chef in Oregon before moving to the Imperial Valley in the fall of 2021 — had his first professional catering gig as Boozey Bites in February for the IVRCC’s Airshow Gala, Bean said.

Since then, Hollinger’s one-woman Boozey Bites Catering service has been taking off throughout the Imperial Valley as well as her native San Diego area, Bean said.

Sidney – or “Squid” as most call him, a longtime childhood nickname due to his affinity for swimming and water sports – said his restaurant business was born from a mixture of his childhood dream of being a chef and “a I love to eat and cook with my friends” in high school and college.

“Growing up, I feel like we (in my family) were all really busy, and then college came along and we made time to get together and cook meals with each other,” said Hollinger.

Although her double-major bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Davis was not directly related to culinary arts, Hollinger said she learned a lot in college about booking as a hobbyist before turning pro.

“As part of college (my friends and I) were very exploratory in the types of foods we prepared and the types of cuisines we tried,” she said. “I just felt like I had a good environment and a sense of love around the act of cooking and eating with other people.”

Squid Hollinger – who is the daughter of IVRCC Treasurer Michelle Hollinger – said her cooking skills had taken to a more professional level since working in Oregon under a chef with plenty of experience. for her young age, as well as her own personal experiences catering for IVRCC Lunches, Market Days and other small events, “…and now I’ve started doing it myself,” she said.

“I learn with confidence,” she says. “I love to cook, I love to eat with people, I love the smiles it puts on (people’s) faces. It’s one of those jobs where you never really settle into what you do; you are still learning.

As a show of a woman cooking outside her home, Hollinger said Boozey Bites Catering does a lot of business parties, lunches, etc., but Boozey Bites can cater up to a 3-course meal. for small parties. The company also gets frequent calls for its bartending skills, but so far its forte has been its elegant charcuterie boards.

“She made this beautiful pasture table that had all kinds of unique items,” Bean said of Hollinger’s work at the IVRCC Airshow Gala. “She really made our event special which was really more than just an appetizer. It was truly an experience.”

“When I talked to her about some of her visions, she wants to create the perfect experience, and that’s really different,” Bean said. “You have someone looking at what you need and then creating a special experience for it…(and) making your event or night more special.”

Hollinger said her clients tend to like that she comes to them for her catering services and works with them to meet requests, regularly doing themed catering.

“I love getting these requests, ideas, feedback on different cuisines and recipes…I don’t like to stay stuck in one cooking style,” she said. “It just helps keep my mind fresh about dealing with different recipes, different foodie aesthetics.”

Hollinger said she’s “like a catch-all” that can “do anything for anyone (in) the bartender and the kitchen,” including her own creative cocktails and infusions, like the Jalapeño Blackberry Margaritas that she used to win the Judges’ Choice Award at IVRCC’s Cinco de Mayo Margarita Challenge on May 5 at Imperial.

As her business grows, Hollinger said she hopes to be able to rent out the kitchen and eventually add helpers.

She also wants to connect with local farmers and select livestock owners to have resources for “fresh, organic and local produce.”

“Tonight was really fun with the disco vibe, seeing people in costume, the (70s) music and the specialty drinks,” Bean said. “It made it a kind of party networking instead of just your traditional networking.”

“I think we’re going to partner a lot with Squid as a chamber for our board meetings and those kinds of events, and we can showcase more of what it does,” she said.

To inquire about Boozey Bites Catering, email Sidney “Squid” Hollinger at [email protected] or call 619-729-3655.

About Erick Miles

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