Mary Giuliani grew up as one of the few Italian kids in a mostly Jewish town outside New York City. In seventh grade, she attended 178 Bar and Bat Mitzvahs -- the Jewish rite of passage that comes at age 13. And at these parties, while the other kids were slow dancing awkwardly, Mary was engaged in a different kind of youthful discovery -- she was falling in love with pigs in blankets.
So when her classmates were hitting the dance floor, Mary was camped out by the kitchen door, waiting to ambush servers coming out with trays of pigs in blankets.
Little did she know that this classic appetizer would become the foundation for her meteoric rise to catering stardom.
When Mary started working low-level catering jobs, she noticed that as rich and fancy as the clients were, they always had the same food at all their events. The same salmon with dill sauce, tuna tartare.
It was boring.
After working for someone else for a few years, Mary broke out on her own and launched her own catering company. And she decided she wasn’t going to serve salmon with dill sauce. She was going to serve fun food – comfort food – even to rich people. Most notably: pigs in blankets. Or, as Mary calls them, tiny hot dogs.
Today Mary is one of the top caterers in the country, and a regular on the Today Show and Rachael Ray.
Mary talks about her journey in this week's show, taped live on stage at Caveat in New York. Mary also discusses what she learned from her Grandma Lucille, who was a powerful hotel owner when few women held such a job, and how working crazy hours, and struggling with infertility, affected her marriage.
Get a copy of Mary's memoir, Tiny Hot Dogs: A Memoir in Small Bites, here!
Interstitial music in this show by Black Label Music:
- "Dreamin' Long" by Erick Anderson
- "Slightly Carbonated" by Erick Anderson
- "One Time Instrumental" by Jordan Bleau
- "Get in the Back" by Ken Brahmstedt
- "Homefront" by Jack Ventimiglia
- "Diamond Cutter" by Marc Zazzaro
Photos: Courtesy of Mary Giuliani