The Picnic Basket family of companies which includes, Picnic Basket Catering Co., Cravings Five Star Catering, and Buffalo Gals Catering Co provide distinctively different styles with the professionalism, experience and tasteful preparations that make for remarkable feasts and memorable events.
The Picnic Basket Catering Co
Affordable breakfast, lunch & dinner buffets, boxless lunches, hors d’ oeuvres, trays, platters and gourmet gift baskets for businesses, graduations, open houses, weddings and Holiday parties. Simply creative and delicious. When you have more taste…than time!
Buffalo Gals Grilling
Catering authentic Santa Marie style BBQ, simple picnics and big stylish bashes. We travel anywhere indoors or outdoors in beautiful, colorful Colorado. Our custom grills ignite your event with a special, unique flair. Great food at a great price!
Cravings Five Star Catering
New and exciting flavors and techniques are blended with creativity and a modern twist. Featuring upscale urban menus, tapas, stations, elegant plated meals, and trendy mixology!
We want to publicly acknowledge and thank our exceptional staff who have contributed so greatly to our success. From the kitchen staff, whose hard work and creativity continue to amaze us, to the event staff, the servers and drivers who effortlessly manage logistics for multiple events a day, as well as our administrative staff who keep it all together. With special appreciation to our sales team who share our passion for catering and always strive to show our clients how very special they are.
Lewis GuarAsci, Executive Chef
My passion for the art of cooking began when I enrolled in a nationally recognized apprenticeship at the World-class Broadmoor Hotel. Through the mentorship of Olympian, Chef Siegfried Eisenberger, I gained a comprehensive culinary foundation. This profound introduction catalyzed three years of classic training and college education. Constantly challenging myself and participating in numerus competitions as a junior ACF member, I honed showmanship and practical skills. In a competitive work-environment of industry professionals, I would thrive on the constructive criticism provided and emerge as a leader.
Over the next decade, my contributions included various managerial positions throughout the country. My restaurant experience ranged from Chef de Partie to Chef de Cuisine in eight different fine-dining establishments. I served as Banquet Chef of two boutique hotels, responsible for all food products including pastries and show-pieces. My most recent endeavor was Executive Chef of Ajax Tavern, a four million dollar restaurant that resides on a 5-Star, 5-Diamond property.
Influenced by both my heritage and classic French training, I emulate fresh local ingredients, stamped with an Italian-American flare. My focus is to always serve wholesome food and initiate team growth. My dedication lies in the development and mentoring of culinarians and is a testament to industry progression.
Best meal you have ever eaten: New Orleans as a whole favorite food city!
Guilty pleasure: Midnight Ben and Jerry’s
Favorite ingredient: Sweat!
Michelle Talarico & Kathy Dreiling, Co-Founders
Long time friends turned entrepreneurs, Michelle & Kathy, have combined their passion for food and quest for adventure in 3 distinct businesses: The Picnic Basket Catering Company, Buffalo Gals Grilling Co., and Cravings Catering & Five Star Events. They bring over 30 years of experience delivering personalized and unique events with a desire to bring your vision to life from start to finish. Taste the difference with their commitment to the freshest ingredients, creating extraordinarily delectable dishes. Michelle & Kathy, have built a family of companies with a highly skilled staff that will provide impeccable service and unrivalled cuisine. Let us help create the perfect event for your perfect day!
Best meal you have ever eaten: Chili Rellano with secret chili mixtures, at the Anasazi Inn in Santa Fe. It was an out of body experience! I have been trying to duplicate the dish ever since – impossible!
Guilty pleasure: Popeye’s chicken wings and beer.
Favorite ingredient: Porcini Mushrooms, truffles & truffle oil.
Kathy is currently on the Colorado Springs Executive Association Board and Continental Who’s Who (1998-Present)
Best meal you have ever eaten: Chef Jenna’s Spinach Ravioli with Porcini Cream and Salt Roasted Root Vegetables. I wanted to lock myself in a room and never stop eating that dish.
Guilty pleasure: Cheese roll ups from Taco Bell and chips with salsa.
Favorite ingredient: Black Truffle Salt.
Michelle Volunteers on these Boards & Committees:
Juvenile Diabetes Research Society 2004-2011
Chancellor’s Leadership Class at UCCS 1997-2007 and 2011-present
Wine Festival of Colorado Springs 1995-present
Colorado Springs Diversity Forum 2010-present
CASA Table Captain
Pikes Peak Library District Fundraising Committees
Greenberg Center for Learning and Tolerance 2010-present
Colorado Springs Leadership Institute: graduated 2002, ongoing networking and retreat committees
Cheyenne Mountain High School PTO
Cheyenne Mountain High School Secretary of Lacrosse Boosters
Voted the “Best Catering Company in Colorado Springs” for many years, Picnic Basket Catering Company had it’s beginning in 1989 when two friends, Kathy and Michelle, combined their love for food, fun and $300 each to pursue adventures in catering and event planning. The Picnic Basket consisted of a delicatessen with inside dining, lunch delivery and gourmet take-out items. Catering was then, as is now, the focus, and in June of 1989, the Picnic Basket found a home at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, serving lunches and catering functions for various events, groups and businesses. The Fine Arts Center is where many friendships began and community partnerships were established for the company. In 1990, the company moved to its present location on South 8th Street and expanded the operation to include more catering trucks and gourmet to go items. In 1999, the door opened for the company to expand into sophisticated, full service catering to handle special events, fundraisers and weddings in the form of Cravings Five Star Catering. Buffalo Gals Grilling Co. was born in 2001 out of respect and passion for a Central Coast California style of grilling & barbeque. Collaborating with friends and professionals from the beautiful agricultural valleys of the Central Coast, we mixed the delicious traditions of California with the beauty and ruggedness of the Colorado spirit and cuisine. Throughout the growth the Picnic Basket of Companies maintains the original commitment to quality food, impeccable service and our community partners.
We are privileged to have earned the trust and respect of our customers, and the recognition of our community, for a job well done. Below are some of our awards and accolades.
Colorado Springs Business Journal 2013 Best of Business 1st
Juvenile Diabetes Research Society 2012 Honorees
The Independent Gold 1995-2010, Silver 2011, Gold 2012-2013
Gazette Readers Choice Awards 1st 2009-2013
The Knot Best of Weddings 2012
Colorado Meetings + Events Magazine – Best of 2012, Caterer outside of metro Denver
CASA Business Award 2009
Top 100 Women Owned Business Colorado Biz 1999, 2002
Netcore Gay and Lesbian Community Resource Business of the Year 1998
Chef’s Gala 1st Appetizers 1996
Colorado Springs Chamber Business Persons of the Year 1995
We feel strongly about the magnificent beauty all around us, and we care deeply about the remarkably passionate people that live in this community. This is why we help support the organizations below, which are committed to sustaining our environment, developing this community and strengthening the people of the Pikes Peak region.
- Colorado Springs Leadership Institute
- Colorado Springs Executive Association
- Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance
- Colorado Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau
- Colorado Springs Housing & Building Association
- Juvenile Diabetes Research Society
- Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region
- Pikes Peak Hospice
- Catamount Institute
- Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center
- Trails & Open Space Coalition
- Center for Creative Leadership
- School District 12
- Citizens Project
- Wounded Warrior Project
- The Red Cross
- Early Connections Learning Center
- Children’s Literacy Center
- The Grace Fund
- Colorado College
- Kid Power
- Urban Peak
- Care & Share
- The Dance Theatre
- Relay For Life
- United States Olympic Committee
- Memorial Hospital Foundation
- The Penrose Hospital Foundation
- Arthritis Foundation
- Pikes Peak Library District
- Special Olympics
- Colorado Springs Conservatory
- Greenberg Center for Learning and Tolerance
- Colorado Springs Diversity Forum
- Colorado Caterers Association
- International Caterers Association
- Saddle Up Foundation
- District 11, 12 and 20
- Colorado Film Commission
- Rocky Mountain PBS
- Southern Colorado AIDS Project
- Pikes Peak Community Foundation
- Bristol Brewing Company
- Venetucci Farms
- Kid Power
- Springs Rescue Mission