Hello! I’m Courtney, but you can call me “Court.” HoldingCourt.com is a place where I can share what I have learned through my experience as a pastry chef, caterer and event planner… it’s the place where “holding court” with Courtney comes to life. I started noticing that friends and family were coming to me when they had cooking and entertaining questions. I love being able to help, so here we are, “holding court” together to simplify life with easy recipes, tips for entertaining and other things to come.
I’ve been in the kitchen for as long as I can remember. As a kid, my mom needed to find ways to keep me occupied while she was making dinner: she would fill a pot in the sink with soap and water and put a stool in front so I could climb up there and make my famous “Pea Pie Soup.” I’m not sure where the name came from, but it stuck and I love it. My mom would hand me all the scraps from whatever she was making, along with a handful of saltine crackers and tell me to crush and stir them into my soup. With a wooden spoon in hand, I would stir and stir, which created more bubbles and made me so happy.
Soon, I would hear the garage door open and I could hardly contain my excitement. My dad was home and would get to taste my soapy creation! He would come into the kitchen where I would be holding my wooden spoon filled with soapy water, soggy crackers and carrot peels. I would hold the spoon up to his mouth say, “Want to try my Pea Pie Soup?” He would “taste it” while I waited (wide-eyed) for his response. “Yum! Good job!” he would say, and I felt so proud. I think those moments made me realize how important food is and feeding people quickly became something that I love to do.
Cut to a few years later, you could still find me helping my mom in the kitchen, but I added entertaining into the mix. Anytime we hosted a holiday gathering, I was at-the-ready to help. It started with rolling silverware and tying it with ribbon and writing out the place cards to making a Thanksgiving Day menu to put on the table. I loved getting out the construction paper and crayons and tracing my hand to create a turkey. I would write down everything we were serving and proudly place my creation in the middle of the table.
Throughout my childhood and beyond, I spent lots of time around food and in the kitchen. I cooked for friends in college every Thursday night and fell more and more in love with cooking everyday.
In 2002, I moved to Sydney Australia for 6 months. I got a job in a fancy French restaurant where I spent most days peeling shallots, chopping herbs, making sauces and prepping salads. I also had the honor of learning from a very talented chef who taught me the importance of being organized in the kitchen.
With my new skills in tow, I was back in the US and ready to work in another restaurant. I moved to Boulder and got a job as a pastry chef at The Med. I learned a lot about breads and pastries and spent my days baking up a storm. After immersing myself with all things pastry for a couple years, I found myself wanting more. I enrolled in culinary school so that I could continue learning as much as possible. This was my kind of school: we were in the kitchen cooking on day one!
After graduation, I started a catering company and took on personal chef gigs at the same time…not the brightest idea! It was brutal work and I was a one-woman-show. My boyfriend (now husband), Scott, eventually became my dishwasher, which helped a ton, but it was just too much and I found myself starting to dread the round-the-clock hours. I decided to focus on the personal chef gigs and had fun prepping food for clients that they could just warm up when they got home from work. It felt good to know that their families were eating a nice dinner that took only minutes for them to get on the table.
Around this same time, I started working in event planning and hospitality, which tied my love of food to my love of entertaining. I continued down this path, which brings us to today… Scott and I run a seasonal B&B on a ranch in Wyoming. All of my entertaining, hospitality, and cooking experiences are put to use everyday! Getting our B&B up-and-running also fueled my burgeoning interests in decorating & interior design: it’s safe to say I will always be ready to learn and try new things… and I’ll be ready to share them with you. Thanks for being here to support me: celebrating food, entertaining, and life after 40… with Courtney!