Ben Lin of B.Lin Catering has been shifting with the times since he realized his dream was to cook for others and not to work in the world of finance. His journey took him from dinner parties at his own place to cooking for members of the Supreme Court to finally starting his own catering venture in 2012. As the food and beverage world deals with the tricky implications of preventing the spread of a virus that requires people to not gather in large groups, Lin and his team have had the added challenge of not being a typical brick-and-mortar restaurant.
So, Lin found a two-fold solution: bring delicious, group-friendly food to the District through pickup and delivery and inject some fun into what small gatherings can be had with family and quarantine bubble friend groups right now. These staycation platters offer respite not only from the dread of cancelled vacations that might haunt your dreams, but also your typical takeout order. After visiting Lin’s kitchen in Northeast D.C. and trying these treats for ourselves, we caught up with Lin on the food, the space, and how he and his team are supporting other small businesses during this tricky time.
“When Covid hit, it was pretty hard on us. All of our business was from big events. When you put a moratorium on more than 10 people [being together] and people start working from home, that’s all your business. And like most catering companies, we’re not in central business districts because we don’t need to be. Usually, people don’t know this [space] exists.”
“We’ve not only pivoted to this new model, but we pivoted to become a shared kitchen space ourselves as well. There were a lot of other small businesses that couldn’t pay their rent. It helps them if I can get them cheaper rent and it sure as hell helps me, too. We have [seven] other small businesses here now. It’s been tough for them too, so we try to work together and support one another.”
“The whole concept behind it is that while we might not be able to have big gatherings, maybe people will start having small gatherings of six to 10 friends. Can we still do something delicious and make it special, affordable and something that’s not your ordinary takeout? That’s when we came up with staycation platters.”
“Staycation platters include Korean braised short rib (galbi jjim), lumpia Shanghai with sweet chili sauce, lemongrass flank steak skewers, chicken satay skewers with sriracha peanut sauce, vegan garden rolls with hoisin, vegan roasted butternut squash curry, crab rangoon with sweet chili sauce, ube coconut jasmine rice, vegetarian fried rice, Korean fried chicken, Singapore noodles with jumbo shrimp and sambal olek.”
“The basil and gochugaru daiquiri and the lemongrass gin and tonic are the cocktails people can order when they’re placing an order online for a staycation platter. The 16-ounce serves two and the 32-ounce serves four, and they’re 3 ounces of liquor per 6 ounces.”
Visit www.blincatering.com to place an order of staycation platters and cocktails for pickup or delivery. Stay up-to-date with the latest from B.Lin Catering by following @blincatering on Instagram and Twitter. Learn more about the seven small businesses within B.Lin’s space below, including their Instagram handles.
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