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Fish Stew or Bouillabaisse at Odyssey Events Cooking Class

From The Blog Cooking while quarantined & the soothing power of food: A Q&A with Odyssey Events

From managing nightclubs to farms, spanning Italy to Vermont, Ted and Linda Fondulas' 30-year career in event management and the restaurant industry has seen it all – almost. Now, amid the coronavirus outbreak, they’re adapting.

In this Q&A, hear from Linda on her favorite comfort dish, the memories that make her smile, plus how you, the contents of your fridge, and a video conference with chef Ted can come together in a recipe bound for success.

Welcome, Linda, and thanks for (virtually) chatting with us! Let’s start with you telling us about your Bridgewater Corners-based business, Odyssey Events:

A: When we owned Hemingway’s in Killington we would bring groups of clients to Italy and France on food tours. We called these trips Food Odysseys and in 2008 we decided to do the same thing in Vermont and call them Vermont Food Odysseys.

Odyssey Events dessert dish
Jon Gilbert Fox
A delicious dessert is in your future

We had to take a hiatus from 2011 on when Hurricane Irene closed our restaurant. We went to work for Newhall Farm and The Hall Art Foundation, but after several years we were on our own again, and that’s when we decided to pick up where we left off with our Odysseys.

While at the farm and foundation Linda helped stage a wedding and several large dinners, so with Ted’s culinary experience we called our new business Odyssey Events.

Basically it’s a combination of event planning, plus cooking classes that we do at our home or that of our client.

Like most businesses, you’ve had to adapt in response to COVID-19 – and we have to say, we love your idea for the What’s in your Fridge video chat cooking classes! Can you give our readers a rundown of what this class entails?

A: Ted hooked up with The Chef and The Dish, a culinary video-conference business that Skypes or Zooms chefs into client kitchens, and it’s been fun and exciting.

Since they have been in place for a few years, The Chef and The Dish is now offering some more affordable classes, one of which is called What’s in Your Fridge?

A list of ingredients in your refrigerator or pantry is sent to The Chef and The Dish and they choose a chef to make the video call to the participating client. Of course, a client can request a particular chef! Hint, hint. 

Odyssey Events skype cooking
Chef Ted Fondulas bringing his expertise straight to your kitchen

So we have to ask – what’s in your fridge at home now?

A: Our staples are wine, cheeses, cured ham, salad greens, miscellaneous vegetables, farmstead eggs, assorted nuts, dried fruits, lots of condiments. In additional to the usual condiments—like Vermont maple syrup, of course, we have a few unusual ones that Linda buys and Ted never uses:)

Cooking can be such a soothing pastime – and who doesn’t love enjoying the results! What’s your favorite de-stress dish to create?

A: Homemade ravioli filled with whatever is around that works. The process itself is therapeutic and the results always delicious and comforting. Making fresh pasta is also the most popular of our Odyssey Event classes as well as those at The Chef and The Dish.

What’s your favorite memory from being in the party-planning and cooking industries?

A: Sorry no one favorite, but the energy and adrenaline at events is always memorably stimulating! This along with witnessing the palpable joy of those intimately involved with the planning process is hard to forget.

Happy customers during an evening with Odyssey Events
Happy customers during an evening with Odyssey Events

Regarding cooking classes, a few have booked because of birthdays. So for example, on his sixteenth birthday one boy wanted to learn how to make a prime rib with Yorkshire pudding—and he did. We loved that and a recent ten-year-old’s desire to learn how to make a soufflé. Even just watching a four-year-old make pizza dough is delightful for us as well as for parents and grandparents.

Throughout the decades some of our best memories are those of being with hilarious clients whether on our Food Odyssey tours or here in our home.

Fun people make fun events and since we have always had a sense of humor, we egg everyone on. Even at the restaurant our staff mission was to have folks leave happier then when they arrived. This is still our mission.

Last but certainly not least, can you tell us a little more about how the coronavirus has affected your business? How can community members support Odyssey Events and other small businesses from the comfort of their homes?

A: That’s a community-considerate question to ask! Thanks to all who think in this civic light.

Either through purchasing a gift card through us for future use at our home or theirs or by video conferencing Chef Ted into their kitchens. However at this time because of our contract, Ted has to be Skyped or Zoomed into kitchens via The Chef and the Dish.

Video chatting in the kitchen with Odyssey Events

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