Jazey-Spolestra, North Moore Catering/RiverRoom/ Rhino Lounge Bakery and Coffee Shop
North Moore Catering was born out of a longing while owner Jess Jazey-Spoelstra was working at Walkers in Tribeca in Manhattan. Disenchanted with the catering at her wedding, Jazey-Spoelstra had an epiphany and decided to launch a catering company instead of a restaurant. She and husband Harmen and general manager, Sandra Doyle-Holden, set about building North Moore’s status as one of the city’s foremost caterers almost entirely on word-of-mouth.
Jazey-Spoelstra is a natural communicator with her finger on the culinary pulse. Like any effective entrepreneur, she has a particular charisma and an innate gift for training and mentoring skilled staff that can communicate her vision and deliver it with finesse.
When Jazey-Spolestra was offered the restaurant space at Museum London for the River Room, she and Harmen were initially reluctant. However, the room and the facilities were the proper fit for a caterer with the Jess’s entrepreneurial vision and creative talents. The River Room quickly became a success.
Her latest project is the upscale Rhino Lounge Bakery and Coffee Shop in the premises previously occupied by the gift shop at Museum London. The café is named after Tom Benner’s White Rhino sculpture that has stood watch on the grounds of the museum since 1987. There are plans to have strategically placed patio tables on the well -manicured front lawn and guests will also be able to sit by the beautiful pond on the west side of the Museum.
Jazey-Spolestra has a sophisticated design sensibility which is reflected in all her projects. It is about delivering elegance and the attention to detail. Smoky crystal chandeliers with dozens of multifaceted hanging crystals and custom-made black leather banquettes set the tenor. The space is designed to be multi-functional which will allow it to be repurposed for special and private events.
The in-house scratch bakery is set to showcase pâtissièrie, cakes, pies, croissants, handmade doughnuts and hand-rolled bagels. Pastry chef Michele Lenhardt’s chic dessert offerings include: Goat cheese cheesecake, cherry and lemon tarts and her signature chocolate pâté. The café will be licenced and the kitchen will turn out grab and go sandwiches, paninis, charcuterie and there are plans to make tapas available on Thursday nights.
Jazey-Spoelstra focuses on providing innovative and cutting edge food experiences combined with extraordinary service which is her hallmark. She does not source products from the standard food suppliers but instead Jazey-Spoelstra selects each food item to ensure quality and freshness at each event.
She has a penchant for adding her own signature style by reimagining food styles and cultures and says, “Quality has always been my number one priority, even if it means that my prices are higher than some competitors. At caterings, we still cook all the food fresh on site with a portable kitchen. Everything is made from scratch and if we can't keep our standards because of budget constraints or venue constraints, then we won't do the event.”
Most of the ingredients are sourced locally whenever possible, but some iconic staples such as smoked salmon, caviar, bagels and cream cheese, are express-shipped by courier from the famed Russ and Daughters in New York. This is a testament to her desire to bring nothing but the best to the table for her clients.
Last May, Jazey-Spoelstra invited me to the River Room to sample Russ & Daughters hand-sliced smoked salmon which is only available once a year (the year prior it wasn’t available at all). The cold- smoked Gaspé Nova is a primal experience due to the combination of the fattiness of the fish and the mild smokiness. She served this delicacy with double hand- whipped, eat-it-by-the-spoonful, scallion-cream cheese and proper hand-made chewy bagels. We also sampled the complex and sensual mouth feel of Osetra caviar from sustainably raised Californian sturgeon. On another occasion she invited me to sample some new dishes. Well, nobody in this city does bone marrow the way the River Room does – oh, the deep and satisfying pleasure of eating pure rich hot bone marrow.
And, speaking of Russ and Daughters, Jazey-Spoelstra told me about an independent documentary called The Sturgeon Queens. The documentary’s recent release is timed to coincide with Russ & Daughters centennial this year.
The documentary features an extensive interview with two of the original daughters for whom the lox and herring emporium was named. 100-year-old Hattie Russ Gold and her sister 92-year-old Anne Russ Federman both share anecdotes that encapsulate the Jewish immigrant experience: “hard work, humor, romance, and a little tsuris.” Other participants include the 4th generation family members who operate the shop today. The film also features Herman Vargas, aka “The Artistic Slicer,” longtime employee, now manager, who represents the new wave of immigrants behind the Russ & Daughters counter.
North Moore caters cocktail parties, weddings, post wedding brunches, dinners at your home, corporate events or any occasion a caterer is required. Catering events have included cocktail parties with guest lists totaling 1500 as well as intimate dinner parties.
“We are a full service catering company that takes care of the rentals, linen selection, floral, decor, backdrops, head table decor, wedding cakes and favours. We assist with timeline, floor plan and planning. We take great pride in everything we do and do our best to ensure every event is perfect,” says, general manager, Sandra Doyle-Holden.