From casual Caribbean beachside dinners to corporate fine dining and event services, Fabulous Feasts’ Emma Dubois does it all. When she’s not planning and executing these lavish gourmet catering events on the luxurious island of St. Martin, she’s playing with her kids, competing on the tennis court, or traveling the world. Here’s her account of what a not-so-typical day looks like.
“My day starts with a hot cup of tea and freshly squeezed orange juice. After spending time with my daughter and bringing her to school, I make sure to take an hour to work on myself – 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. is fitness hour. Once I arrive at the office, my mornings are quite busy because that’s when I receive all my event requests. Between emails and phone calls, it’s typically go, go, go from the moment I walk through the door until my lunch break.
I’ve seen a lot of the world and tried to apply as many of those experiences to my career as I can. Originally from the Bordeaux region of France (yes, where the wine is from!), I’ve lived in Boston for training and been to New York – one of the hospitality capitals of the world – several times. My sister used to live in Madagascar and I visited frequently. When I was just starting out in this business, my English wasn’t very good so I decided to move to London and work at a restaurant called Le Piaf.
When you travel, you see new things everywhere, and you keep each of them in mind until one day you can use it. That’s why I love to travel.
When you travel, you see new things everywhere, and you keep each of them in mind until one day you can use it. I like to keep these moments somewhere in my mind, and one day I’ll have that moment where that little piece of knowledge or that one little experience is useful. That’s why I love to travel.
My husband and I always wanted to live on an island (who doesn’t?!) so when he got a job on St Martin in 1999 we decided to move here! There I met gourmet chef Bertrand L’Herbette, founder and owner of gourmet catering company, Fabulous Feasts. I began working for him immediately and I haven’t looked back. It’s a different way of life out here – especially if you’re used to an American or Western European way of doing things. It’s quieter out here; people are relaxed, at peace.
When I’m not working, I like to stay home and relax with my kids (my daughters are 17 and 5), take tennis lessons, and eat lunch at the beach. That’s what I call a balanced lifestyle!
Fabulous Feasts has worked with Luxury Retreats and their clients for about 10 years now. We have a great relationship, and since I’ve been around for the whole time, I know most of the concierges. They trust that I will handle requests quickly, and our trust goes both ways.
My approach is to pamper the client, and I love doing it because of the people I get to deal with.
My afternoons usually consist of party planning and quieter, less hectic office work. I might be working on menus or doing some accounting, but it’s definitely a time to take a breath after the morning rush and really dive into some work. My approach is to pamper the client, and I love doing it because of the people I get to deal with. Concierges may contact me with a unique request, and no matter what it is, the first word out of my mouth is typically ‘Yes!’. Every event has to be unique, because no client wants something boring. We deal a lot with birthday parties, weddings, and anniversaries – these are special events that mean a lot to the hosts, so it’s our duty to make their vision a reality.
There are always curveballs, be it allergies, decor changes, or themes. Special requests come in all the time – one client wanted to have a mystic dinner, so we brought a priest in for the event. Brides are often some of the most demanding clients – and rightfully so!
It’s the fact that every catering event, every day is so different that keeps me motivated. I love what I do because no day is like the one before it. We’re a small team of 6-8 people, and we’re always trying to do something new and modern. I do everything I do for my clients, but at the same time, I do it for myself because I like to create. I take pleasure in seeing an event come to fruition and to know that I made it, and it was exactly what the client wanted – or even better!”