By: Shalese Kocher

Sitting down with Raul Cantu, owner of Eventfully Yours Catering, you have to brace yourself for the stories he’s about to tell.  From skiing with Ben & Jerry (yes, THE Ben & Jerry) in Vermont to attending Bollywood weddings in Scotland and London, it’s safe to say that Raul is a man about town.  Luckily, Raul has graced Richmond with his presence since 1991, and more recently, he has been taking the wedding catering business by storm . . . in a flawless tuxedo jacket, no less.

You may know Raul from his restaurant, Nacho Mama’s, and their famous margaritas.  Being a staple in RVA since 1996, it was only natural that folks started coming to Raul about catering their weddings.  He realized that he had a very versatile chef at one of the Nacho Mama’s locations, so they started offering catering for weddings and events that ranged from Mexican food to soul food and Italian specialties.  As the wedding business picked up more and more, Raul created Eventfully Yours Catering so that his clientele could find him even as Nacho Mama’s moved to their new home in Carytown.  He also wanted to make sure everyone knew that he can cater WAY more than just Mexican food!

Now, four years into the catering business, Eventfully Yours is carving its own niche in Richmond.  Raul says, “When I went to weddings, I saw such beautiful displays of décor and food, but the servings were so small!  Sometimes you leave weddings just not feeling fulfilled.  We want everything to look spectacular, but also fill your soul with amazing food and give the couple something to be proud to serve their guests.  People remember two things about weddings they attend: how beautiful the bride looked and the food!”

What’s unique about Eventfully Yours Catering?  Well, among many other things, Raul uses his vast network of friends and acquaintances to pick and choose the perfect chef for the type of food a particular couple wants.  He has chefs who specialize in soul food and chefs who make a mean beef tenderloin, so you’re getting someone hand-picked just for you and your tastes.

Raul also enjoys getting to know the couples he works with.  He loves when clients come in with specific ideas about the type of food they want for their wedding, but Raul has learned to work with all types of couples AND budgets.  He tells me, “There is no wrong budget.  As long as the couple is honest and understand the limitations of their budget, we can work together.”

While it is much easier to work with clients who already have specific dishes in mind, Raul knows how to get to know what they want.  “I ask what they’ve liked at weddings they’ve attended, what they like to eat on a normal day, etc.  From there, the chef will come prepare a tasting, and we’ll spend some time getting to know the couple even more.”

As a groom-to-be himself, Raul has an even more intimate understanding of what his clients are experiencing.  Raul is currently planning his own May 2018 wedding in Mexico, so he is very familiar with the feeling of decision overload!  That’s why he has created some specific menus to give his couples a place to start if they don’t have particular food in mind.  There’s “The Southerner,” a menu with fried chicken, meatloaf, potatoes, and baby carrots, “The Wedding,” a classic beef tenderloin meal with stuffed chicken, red wine syrup, roasted Romanesco, and asparagus (above), and “The Cuban,” a pork carnitas dish inspired by a specialty at Gloria Estefan’s west coast restaurant.  Talk about options!

Raul credits his having friends from all over the world for inspiring his multi-cultural dishes.  “I love sharing ideas and working with other caterers and restaurants.  Behind the scenes, we’re all a big family supporting each other.”

After sitting down with Raul, I know one thing for sure: “eventful” describes both his business AND his life.  For our shoot, for instance, Raul designed a gorgeous table AND brought in a chef to prepare his three signature dishes.  He praised the chef endlessly, and I’ll be honest, the smell of these dishes was making my mouth water!  When our shoot was done, Raul gave hugs all around and was off to another meeting to continue dominating the catering world one delicious meal at a time.

Eventfully Yours Catering, (804) 399-8553. Special thank you to Historic Mankin Mansion, Flowers by Zoie, Classic Party Rentals of Virginia and Chef Ian McFadden for making this shoot possible.