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Meet Pace Webb of Taste of Pace

Today we’d like to introduce you to Pace Webb.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Pace. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
For as far back as I can remember, I would listen with my mouth agape as my grandmother would tell me stories of her mother throwing lavish dinner parties in a hotel ballroom with jewel colored glassware dotting the table. That same grandmother showed me pictures from when she raised my mother and her brother (my uncle) on a farm in Loredo, Texas. She would hand write every invitation and cooked everything from scratch. Birthday parties were imaginative scenes of circuses and theatrical performances. To no one’s surprise, my mother became an actress and our house was always the stage for opening night parties. It was at one of these opening night parties that I realized that I wanted to be on the other side of the party. I wanted to be the one filling an empty glass so that a conversation could continue uninterrupted. Then, when I was 17 I was diagnosed with colon cancer. So young and so rare!

Needless to say, I’m alive and well and I have had a long journey with food. I used to be afraid of food thinking that every impurity caused cancer, which is no way to live! I studied in Italy and really understood slow food (cooking seasonally from scratch) and my relationship with food grew deeper and more passionate and certainly less fearful. Years later, I’ve arrived at a place where whole foods are celebrated and coupled with special occasions, kind of like the ultimate union for the most important things in my life. I never planned a career in the culinary arts, it just sort of naturally evolved that way- like most things in life that are good for you.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Hahahahaha! If anyone answers yes to this question, something is wrong or they haven’t been around long enough. I had naivete on my side when I started because no one who knew (really and truly) how difficult being an entrepreneur in addition to being in the culinary industry is would actually do it. As an owner you are the driving force and you work so hard to be successful and curate your company and client experiences the way you envision and when outcomes are out of your control it can be a little heart-breaking. But, as the leader, you can’t sulk too long and you just have to try different things until you get it right and more right and more right. And being an entrepreneur is really for thick skinned people who aren’t afraid of big risk. It’s not right for everyone and this ok! The other aspect of being in a creative field is that there is a trend and aesthetic to what you are doing and how you communicate your art has to resonate with others, which we all know changes just like fashion. So yes, I think being a creative entrepreneur is extraordinarily difficult. I have so much respect for other artists, actors, and musicians!

Please tell us about Taste of Pace.
I started my catering business, Taste of Pace about 7 years ago. It’s been such a wild ride and mostly fun. The experiences I’ve pulled in seems like pure magic! We’ve accomplished so much in such a short period of time. Sometimes I have to pinch myself and go “they want me to cook for them?!” We do everything from casual lunch drop offs to full service plated dinners. My culinary style is Regional Italian by way of California. Our fried chicken sliders, short ribs, and overnight brined salmon are some of people favorites. My personal favorite thing to do these days is to look at food waste in the kitchen and try and make something out of it. We each have a little bowl at our stations to collect the odds and ends from a prep day and then I see what we can make. Last week I scooped out the inside of kabocha squash, toasted the seeds and “guts” and made a stock with sage and parsley stems and shallot trimmings. My idea is to use it as a pasta sauce base to accompany a pumpkin pasta with browned butter and toasted walnuts.

I think I’m most proud of the way our company runs. I’m obsessed with organization and systems so we review every Monday what is working and what changes need to be made only if small so that the organization pretty much runs like a ballet. That gets me excited! I’m not so much a micro manager in the office, but that’s a little different in the kitchen.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
I think we all like to recall positive experiences that make us feel warm and fuzzy. We gathered at my grandparents’ house every weekend, particularly on Sundays for roast. Now, the food wasn’t necessarily good by today’s standards, but it was good because I loved my “Maw Maw” so much (I’m from Texas- can you tell?). We had pot roast so dry you had to use an electric carver to cut it, canned green beans with some bacon cooked until they were gray, some kind of mashed potatoes- maybe instant, the salad was never more than iceberg with ranch and “bacos” (little pieces of bacon you bought pre-crumbled in a jar) and sometimes the rare appearance of an unripe tomato. As a kid, this was all delightful. Even more so was her chocolate cake and chocolate chip cookies. That has to be my favorite childhood memory- standing on a stool baking chocolate chip cookie wearing an old 1950s apron with Maw Maw by my side patiently guiding me through the recipe. I felt so loved and I think that’s what every child wants!

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Brian Tropiano
Erin Hearts Court
Ben Gibbs

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