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Meet Raquel Fleetwood of Catered by Raquel in Long Beach

Today we’d like to introduce you to Raquel Fleetwood.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Raquel. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
My first memory of being in the kitchen was at four years old cooking with my grandmother. Cooking and family have always made me feel complete in life. I am a proud mother of four, a wife, a chef and a business owner.

My Black and Puerto Rican background are what mold and shape my tastes for bold, vibrant and delicious food. Being raised in New York, traveling the world and landing in Los Angeles have exposed me to many different ethnicities and food cultures. This helps me further when creating memorable dishes and flavors.

After many years of working in the food industry and customer service, I took a break and focused on my family. This is how catered by Raquel was born. Catering allows me the flexibility to do what I love. I can cook and create while still being able to be a present figure in my children’s life.

Shortly after moving my family and my business to California from Atlanta, Georgia, my catering company blossomed. Within a year’s time, I had corporate contracts, working with movie studios and doing the biggest events of my career.

We took over a restaurant and closed the whole thing down and outfitted it to be a high capacity catering kitchen. Before COVID hit, we where catering approximately 75,000 catered meals a year.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The biggest obstacle by far has been Covid-19. It’s has put most catering services to a halt. We are working on reinventing our brand for now until hopefully things go back to semi-normal. We are looking at ways to do social distancing events to help the Long Beach school district which have taken a major hit in funding. For now, our doors are closed until we feel it not only safe for my employees to work but safe for my customers as well.

Before COVID sometimes finding ways to balance my fast-paced work lifestyle and family was challenging. I just had our fourth child in March and was working on my feet until three weeks before my due date. My passion and drive for my business kept me motivated to keep pushing myself.

I have been blessed with an amazing, hardworking, dedicated and talented staff. The first year was challenging. It took a full year of funneling through workers, some who wouldn’t show up where I was left all alone to cook sometimes for up to 200 people. But through all that, I managed to maintain a high standard and quality my customers have come to expect.

Please tell us about Catered by Raquel.
I am the head chef and owner of my catering company Catered by Raquel. I am known for great presentation and beautiful food that tastes good!

I am proud to be a black and Latina business owner who prides herself in employing other minority women. We are an all female run kitchen.

What sets us apart is that unlike many caterers, we specialize in all cuisines. We have the ability to create whatever the client wants. We go above and beyond and will create custom menus for clients who have specific wants and needs.

We also specialize in the whole event. We not only provide the food but provide event planning and decor, staff, help with finding venues and offer an overall comprehensive package.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
If you are a small business owner appreciate every day you are able to open your doors and do what you love.

I strongly believe that in my industry and in life in general, the strongest people are the ones who not only make mistakes but are not afraid to make them and learn and grow for our experience.

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