Laura McAdams is the founder of A La Carte Events & Catering, one of Houston’s top catering & event planning firms.* Her passion is working with clients so that they get to enjoy the planning process and attending their special event.
"Event planning can be overwhelming, and I love to be behind the scenes using my experience to support our clients with thoughtful details and delightful food,”she says. "When the gluten-free trend started years ago, we created Pancetta Crisps. They're crunchy, salty, creamy and sweet, all in one bite. And gluten-free!"
From the tender age of 16, Laura was drawn to the hospitality industry. She started as a hostess and worked her way up. "Years later I was in corporate marketing and enjoyed working on tradeshows, so jumping to into catering and event planning wasn't a big leap; it really combined things I love doing anyway." That was back in 2009.
Event Planning & Catering Process
The purpose of A La Carte Events & Catering is to make each client’s vision come to life. Laura and all of the other A La Carte planners take a collaborative approach to event planning. "We want to learn as much as possible about you and your event ideas early on so that each and every detail is tailored to you. That includes finding the perfect venue, creating specialty cocktails and selecting linens & florals to match your message."
Above all, we believe our role is support clients. You deserve center stage.
"Food has a language of it's own," Laura says, "and the adjectives you use to describe your event really guide our food & beverage recommendations."
As a result, we take all of these factors into consideration to create your menu:
- your adjectives,
- the occasion,
- the season, and
- your guest demographics.
Laura loves a good menu challenge. For example, her favorites include an alumni event where the food could only be white or orange, and a gluten-free, pescatarian bat mitzvah. In addition, A La Carte regularly feeds a large group of engineers that need approachable but uncommon (and varied) menus. "We had a diverse group of pipeline engineers asking for the Cookies & Cream Chex Mix recipe they had at afternoon snack one day." Success! (And yes, we do share recipes.)
A La Carte Events & Catering's Philosophy
Since every event is different, you aren't limited to a standard menu. A La Carte's menus are starting points. We make your food from scratch so changes are not only welcomed, they're encouraged.
Career highlights for Laura include hanging out with Anthony Bourdain nibbling hors d’ oeuvres in a field kitchen (he took seconds of everything!) and 5 crazy, successful days of serving NFL owners and players for the Super Bowl. Less flashy but equally satisfying is working with repeat clients like the Houston Mac & Cheese Fest.
"I measure A La Carte's performance based on the number of repeat clients we have. Some months 50% of our events are for existing clients. There's comfort in knowing exactly what clients and guests expect, and gives us opportunities to surprise them with thoughtful touches."
When she’s not working, you’ll find Laura horseback riding. In addition, she and Shannon (her husband, who's also with A La Carte Events & Catering) love watching football. (They met at the University of Alabama.) They have a houseful of cats & dogs, and actively support multiple charitable organizations throughout the year. Favorites include Rescued Pets Movement, Pup Squad, The Gulf Coast Blood Center and Big Brothers, Big Sisters.
Get In Touch
In addition to email, you can reach Laura through LinkedIn and FaceBook. Likewise, you'll also catch her at industry events sponsored by NACE, ICA, WHWP, BENG and CHEP to keep up with her Houston colleagues and the latest national trends.
*According to the Houston Chronicle, Modern Luxury Magazine and the Houston Press, to name a few.