- Featured Stories
- Douglas County
- City of Ava
- General Interest
By Whitney Keith
Brooke Elwood started her business in August 2010, with her first event being a wedding.
“My business is a cooking service designed with you in mind,” she said.
Elwood said she started the business because she enjoyed cooking.
“I didn’t think Ava offered anything like this,” she said. “It started as a little dream, then more and more people encouraged me to do it.”
She started out with a menu, one that is still evolving.
“I take suggestions from customers often about what they would like to see,” she said.
She offers catering for events ranging for six to 250 people, dinners for 2 or family dinners for 4 and daily lunch specials for those in Ava.
Elwood said she travels up to a 60 mile radius for catering for a $40 fee.
Elwood also offers gift baskets, which typically include cookies or cupcakes, a patterned or seasonal dish towel and gift certificates. The gift baskets can be customized to fit the recipient’s interests.
She occasionally raffles off gift baskets as part of her daily lunch special.
The Just for 2 and Family For 4 dinners can be chosen from Elwood’s menu or customized. Dinners are available for larger numbers for an additional price.
“A sample Just for 2 dinner may be four chicken enchiladas, Mexican rice and refried beans,” Elwood said.
Elwood delivers all meals to her clients’ homes or businesses.
She has catered events from weddings to business meetings and from reunions to rehearsal dinners.
Brooke’s Country Kitchen also has daily lunch specials available to those who live and work in Ava.
There are generally two lunch specials each week. Recent meals have included sauteed garlic shrimp over a bed of creamy fettuccine alfredo, served with garlic bread, and bourbon meatballs served with cheesy potato casserole and a buttery roll. Each lunch includes an optional dessert, and is delivered to the home or place of business.
“They are typically $6, and you can add a dessert for $1.50,” Elwood said.
Those who are interested in the lunch specials Elwood offers weekly can call her to be placed in a call or text list, or they may look at Brooke’s Country Kitchen on Facebook.
She has recently begun delivering meals to senior residents in the community.
“They can sign up for a schedule, like Monday-Wednesday-Friday, or just call occasionally when they need a meal,” she said. “I’ve had a lot of people using this service for their parents.”
Elwood said she enjoys the flexibility of her business, the ability to make her own schedule and spend time with her children and family.
“I’m doing something that I always wanted to do,” she said. “It’s very fulfilling.”
Elwood said she has always been interested in cooking, and learned how from her grandparents.
“I love to watch cooking shows and take recipes and make them my own,” she said.
Her signature dishes are her meaty lasagna and chicken enchiladas.
“People order them all the time,” she said. “Some order them and ask that I freeze them or they take them and freeze them to pull out when company comes over.”
Elwood runs the business from a building on her property, outfitted to produce the large amounts of food she needs each week.
She often caters family dinners, and also offers seasonal or holiday specials, such as Christmas cookies or candies.
All of her dishes are produced by her alone, so that she can ensure the quality.
“Everything tastes the same from each time you order it,” she said.
She recently held a “kick-off dinner” to celebrate the business and her customers.
The menu was Italian cuisine, and she rented a local facility for the event.
“It was a great way to get the word out to people who may not have heard about me,” she said.
She plans to offer occasional buffets such as that one in the future.
For more information, contact Brooke Elwood at 417-543-2079.
Reflections is a weekly column exploring Douglas County. This month’s series of articles will highlight the four newest businesses in Ava.