by Mary Cokenour
Recently, retired San Juan County Sheriff Cal Dean Black found himself on the other side of the interrogation table and having his mug shot taken as well.
“Alright Black, give us the goods on this catering business, and no holding back on the sauce.”
As Cal’s daughters, Alyssa and Sierra are learning from their daddy, Cal learned the art of Dutch oven cooking from his beloved father, Arvid Black.
Arvid enjoyed cooking up ribeye steaks and chicken for friends and family, teaching Cal the correct type of fire to maintain, tools of the trade, and care of the pots. After Arvid’s passing and Cal’s retirement, it seemed a natural progression to go from a fun side to a complete, full course menu.
Before continuing with the historical birth of Custom Catering, a little historical backdrop on Dutch ovens has a necessary place here.
In the Nederlands (that is how the people there spell it; in America it is spelled Netherlands), a Dutch oven (braadpan) is a frying or roasting pan, closely resembling a heavy-lidded pot that is normally used on the stovetop or in an oven to make casseroles.
Originally, these cooking vessels were created in the 17th century and cast of brass, sand used around the molds to produce a high quality pot with a smooth surface.
In 1707, Englishman Abraham Darby, after studying the casting process in the Nederlands, returned to England with the intent of producing pots cast from iron with molds using loam and clay.
The end product was cheaper to produce, therefore more economical to the public, but yielded the same cooking end results. The English brought the Dutch oven to the colonies of the United States.
They were prized possessions, used by pioneers, homesteaders, miners, and ranchers in the southwest. Yada, yada, yada. Now back to Custom Catering’s history.
“Cal Dean Black, why’d you do it?” the suspect was asked, while his daughters giggled in the background.
While he was a sheriff, catering small groups like his father had done was all Cal was able to handle.
After retirement, taking on this business venture was not a way to simply keep busy, it was a labor of love which would keep the memory of Arvid Black alive.
Cal expanded the menu to include marinated and grilled chicken, marinated brisket cooked in a savory barbecue sauce, grilled pork loin, Dutch oven potatoes, barbeque, and desserts.
“We can do up just about anything, locations indoors or outdoors, groups as large as 500 hungry people.”
A couple of Cal’s favorite events are the Jeep Jamboree in Ouray, CO and the Sportsmen for Fishing and Wildlife Banquet. Both events hit the almost 500-persons mark.
Cooking outdoors, especially for such a crowd, can be a challenge. Cal has a trailer with a generator that helps greatly to overcome some of these challenges.
He covers weddings, reunions (family and school-related), award banquets, and sports events in the mountains, canyons, deserts, and conference halls. Large to small, Cal will make a meal to wow.
His wife, Kay Lynn, does up the desserts like a chocolate Texas sheet cake with chocolate frosting, warmed up to help a scoop of vanilla ice cream drape over it.
Then there is her special white sheet cake with a topping comprised of lemon pudding, whipped topping, and cream cheese, garnished with peaches and berries.
Cal’s assistants are Alyssa, who likes when there are leftovers, but loves mom’s sheet cake the best. Sierra does not have much to say, but says it all in four simple words, “The food is good!”
Interested in having a personal or business event catered? Give Cal Dean Black a call at 435-979-2125.