Vendor Profile: Monica Holmes of The Clean Plate Club

We don't like to brag, but we work with the best in the business. What business you might ask? Well, all of them! With so many things happening in the building each week, there are are so many people that help companies and couples create phenomenal events. The superstar vendor of many events, including the Griffin Technology Holiday Party at Houston Station last winter, has been Monica Holmes of the Clean Plate Club. With the core of her business being catering, she has expanded into an event designer and planner, offering clients an all-inclusive experience.  Here, in her own words, she explains how she's started her business event philosophy, and plans for the future.

What got you into the event industry?

A passion for food was the driving force along with needing to create a job to support my son.  I was a single mom.  I started out of my house almost 33 years ago as many caterers begin.  As my business grew I was turned into the health department and forced to get a legitimate kitchen. This was the best thing that could have happened.  It was the beginning of the expansion of the Clean Plate Club.  My first event out of my legit kitchen was Naomi Judds wedding for 300 guests.

What do you like most about working in the event industry?

I love that every job is different. I would be bored to tears if it was the same, same everyday.  I like creating custom events.  I don't have a set menu. Our events are not cookie cutter.

What do you think are your unique qualities that help but your company and services a cut above the rest?

Hmmmmm.......Clean Plate Club is a turn key company.  We are not "only" catering. We can handle the entire event from start to finish. We work closely with the many fabulous vendors in town and we collaborate to make each event a custom one to reflect the clients taste and budget.

My role is to do detective work with the client and get a feel for the direction they would like to go.  (they don't call me Holmes for nothing!) I insist on meeting clients face to face and usually at the venue of event.  This way I can get a good reading on their personality and by being in the space we can easily walk around and I can more clearly explain the beginning vision that is being birthed in this first meeting.

This is my role in the Clean Plate Club, the planning of menu as well as event, conceptualism  and management.  I make contact with all of the vendors and will work with them closely from the start to the end. I have a keen eye for the details and watch over the entire event from the checking in and placement of rental, lighting and decor set up, etc. to the management of staff.

What do you enjoy about working at Houston Station? 

We are always excited to come to Houston Station.  The venue is beautiful and kept meticulously clean.  Elizabeth, Gordon and Scott are always available and work very hard to ensure that events go off without a hitch. They go above and beyond the role of being a venue owner. The pride that they take in the stunning  space they have created is very apparent.

They are very transparent in the fee that they charge for rental.  There are no commissions paid to venue by caterers & vendors and you can provide your own alcohol which is a a nice savings.

Where do you see yourself and your business in the future? 

It is hard to believe that in January the Clean Plate Club will enter it's 33rd year.  I never dreamed this would be a career when I began many years ago. The business has become a family one. My son Chris came to work with me in 1999 after graduating from culinary school and is a partner in the business.  His wife Lisa is the office manager. My 2 grandsons sometimes talk about becoming chefs and taking over one day!

It is an exciting job and I plan to keep on as long as my brain and body will hold out.  We are in the midst of expansion plans at moment and look forward to being part of creating special memories for our clients for many years to come.

We can't say enough about how fantastic Monica and her team is when they are in the building.  She is one talented, hard-working woman, and we can't wait until we get to work with her again!

Ann Gowan-Smith

Nashville, TN, USA