We've become so accustomed to meeting individuals, it's refreshing to discover a family run operation. It was happenstance that brought us to the cheery dining room of Cafe Rae. With an OC Weekly magazine rack out front, and crunchy, stuffed challah French toast on the menu, we knew we had to meet Terry and Jenny.
You and your wife both have catering backgrounds. Was there anything that you learned from each other, or were your styles both the same?
I have learned much from Jenny; our styles are very different. She knows how to make spaces look incredible and has helped me really look at all the small details.
What are the most popular items?
Our crusted French toast and huevos rancheros.
Any foods you can't live without:
Soups or anything with brisket.
Earliest food memory.
Watching my mother cook almost daily.
Do people tend to mispronounce challah when ordering?
People always mispronounce challah.
Who is the cafe named after?
Our daughter, Sofia Rae.
Elaborate on your “uniquely health conscious” cooking style.
We try to use very fresh ingredients– no deep frying.
Best culinary tip for the home cook:
Don't be intimidated. Don't be afraid of spices.
Favorite places to eat:
Tony Luke's in Philadelphia. Good hole-in-the-wall BBQ places.
Most undervalued ingredient.
Not necessarily an ingredient, but having a feel for cooking.
You're making dinner. What are you having?
Simple things like grilled marinated chicken breast or fish and vegetables from the grill.
Favorite meal growing up.
Baby back ribs.
Do you have any good catering stories?
Catering is really a lot of hard work. 18 hour days are not uncommon. But it does get to be like you are feeding family after being with the same people for a few months at a time.
The first tour I worked on was The Rolling Stones “Steel Wheels” tour. While cleaning up the dining room, I backed up into someone. I looked over my shoulder, and there was Eric Clapton, David Bowie and Mick Jagger clearing a path for me.