28 October 2009

The Hardest Working Outdoor Caterer in Charleston


Charleston Outdoor Catering, Charleston, S.C.

Hold your hand up if you live in the Lowcountry and have never been at an event catered by the hardest working man in outdoor catering - Jamie Westendorf.

No one, right?

He does have a recent Facebook fan site but I can't tell that he even has a web site of his own. Probably doesn't need one. He is everywhere, at every oyster roast, lowcountry boil and pig picking working in background in the steam and heat under the oak trees.

They aren't exactly vegetarian events. He lays out the whole delicious pig, head and all. A few gals at the recent BBQ celebration he catered for our hospital had to turn their heads and let someone fill their plate for them.

Jamie won a Jefferson Award earlier this year and I snitched this piece from the Post & Courier's report:
Westendorff, owner of Charleston Outdoor Catering in West Ashley, has been giving to those in need for two decades. His business turns a small profit, he drives a broken-down truck and wears raggedy jeans. He jokes about being overdrawn at the bank. "All I do is donate, donate, donate. I find it's easier to bite the bullet than turn people down," he said.

He's known as the guy who cooks for the Lowcountry. Sometimes the food that Westendorff cooks is donated or discounted; he pays for it out of his pocket in many cases. He serves his popular Frogmore stew and tasty coleslaw at just as many charitable events as he does for profit.

His munificence sometimes strains his bank account, but that doesn't slow down his charity work. He has fed the multitudes at the American Lung Association's Camp Puff 'n Stuff to the tune of thousands of dollars out of his pocket.

Cooking for merely a couple of hundred people at weddings and social events pays the bills, but when he voluntarily feeds sometimes thousands at a time, be it kids with cancer or hurricane victims — that's what excites him. After Hurricane Hugo tore through the state in 1989, Westendorff set up his grills in Marion Square and fed about 20,000 to 30,000 people.

Might as well be a facebook fan. He is going to cook for you sooner or later.