By using locally sourced and organic produce, minimizing the use of plastic, and finding ways to creatively decrease our waste, we are able to help our client create events that have a smaller carbon footprint than most events.

Hope Bailey, Melissa Carter, and Joyce Malicse

Co-founders

Location: Southern California

Find Hope Bailey, Melissa Carter, and Joyce Malicse:

Pink Salt Cuisine is a southern California-based catering and events company dedicated to creating elevated and inspired plant-based culinary experiences. Using locally sourced, organic produce with a commitment to zero waste, Pink Salt Cuisine transforms your favorite dishes into mindful plant-based masterpieces filled with creativity and flavor.

What are 2 trends in the event planning industry that you’re excited about?

We are thrilled that more people are embracing plant-based cuisine and zero-waste events. Clients are becoming more mindful of the impact they make on our planet and are realizing how wasteful events can be. By using locally sourced and organic produce, minimizing the use of plastic, and finding ways to creatively decrease our waste, we are able to help our client create events that have a smaller carbon footprint than most events.

What are some tips for creating an elegant and memorable event on a tight budget?

We believe that everybody should have access to healthy, organic and locally sourced food for their special event, which is why we offer two types of service for different budgets. Our most cost-effective option is our drop-off service which reduces staff/labor costs and rentals. If the client is looking for a full-service option on a tight budget, then we like to recommend venues that have built-in catering kitchens to help reduce rental and labor costs.

If you had unlimited resources, what would your dream client and event look like?

We would love to have a pop-up dinner in a beautiful organic and vegan vineyard with one long farm table showcasing sustainable and edible centerpieces. We would offer a six-course organic plant-based dinner menu with a wine or spirit pairing, created by co-Founder and executive chef Hope Bailey. The farm table would be lined with our vegan friends and clients that believe in beautiful food and taking care of our planet.

How important are your relationships with vendors and what are some ways that you successfully cultivate and ensure good rapport?

We view each of our vendors as event partners, and as such, we treat them like extensions of our own team. We maintain constant communication leading up to an event, and as much as possible, we try to meet post-event to share feedback. These partnerships are the foundation of our business, and we share our gratitude as often as we can by referring business to event partners we trust.

What advice would you give someone who needs to plan a fundraiser but isn’t sure where to start?

As a team with years of creating fundraising events for large non-profit organizations, we recommend starting with an honest conversation to answer some important questions:

1) We always recommend starting with a budget discussion. How much money do you want to raise realistically? What are you raising money for?
2) Next, we like to look at how you can recognize the sponsors and donors. How will you promote the event and sponsors? What sponsor benefits can you offer and deliver on?
3) Trust and transparency are critical for asking for donations and support. How will you measure and report how and where the donor dollars go?

What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for you personally or professionally?

We are excited to see more people interested in learning about plant-based diets, Meatless Mondays, and a healthier way of living and celebrating. We are honored to be at the forefront of the event world by offering beautiful plant-based cuisine that is made with love, and creating events that are less wasteful and better for our planet Earth. We have a dream team at Pink Salt Cuisine and we are all three along for the ride.

What inspired you to launch your own company in the event industry? How long did it take from initially having the idea to setting up and starting to attract a client base?

Our team has been in the event industry for a combined 50 years. We are so fortunate to have had the opportunity to work together and build a professional relationship that eventually turned into a wonderful friendship. Chef Hope has been a lifelong vegetarian, and when she became vegan, she wanted to focus her culinary efforts on plant-based cuisine. The three of us sat down together in October 2017, and by February 2018, Pink Salt Cuisine was officially launched. As one of the only luxury plant-based caterers in southern California, we quickly became the go-to caterer for event planners in the area.

What’s the first event you can ever remember planning and how did it go?

As a team, our first event was a 400-person gala for PBS SoCal in 2014. At the time, Chef Hope and Joyce were working together at a local catering company while Melissa was the director of special events for PBS SoCal. Chef Hope was hired to cater this amazing event, which raised over $1 million for public television.

What are things you wished you knew before starting your businesses?

You have to know your worth and when to stop giving away everything for FREE. Our time is our currency – we are good at we do and we should be paid for it. It is also a different mentality to go from an employee to a business owner. Every decision we make matters and influences the direction your company goes in. We spend a lot of time discussing strategies and opportunities.

Anything else you’d like to comment on while we have you?

The event industry is always changing, but it has been exciting to experience the latest shift into mindful planning. Whether clients are choosing plant-based menus, donating florals at the end of the event, or making a conscious effort to only use items that can be composted or recycled, every decision they make has a profound impact. We’re so happy to see this shift, and love working with our clients and event partners to continue making a difference.

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