A little history of MBP and how it all began!  

Mary Beth Poe-Former owner and founder of MBP Distinctive Catering

I am not sure what retirement life going to be like, but I am working on it.  Catering has been my life for 32 years plus 14 years at IUPUI.  I started at IUPUI in the Union building and we had catering, hotel and food service.  I had no idea what I was doing but with an amazing boss that was way ahead of his time taught me.  He is no longer with us and his name was David Paul.  We also did concessions on the track and field and the Natatorium.  What an experience that was.  For 13 days for the Sports Festival I was on the track the entire time with Sally Rogers who also worked for MBP and unfortunately she has passed away.  We had no idea how to run concessions but our first event was a mess and we learned quickly after that.  When I finished the event my legs were solidly bruised from running the entire time.  It was a great experience and I would not change a thing.  

IUPUI decided to contract out the food service to Modern Foods and I decided to go with the food.  What was I thinking!  I was the director of catering and I wasn’t sure how I could do it without my boss but I did and worked very hard to figure it out.  Of course I had a great staff which helped a lot.

I decided if I was going to work this hard and I need to try it on my own. Then one day my husband Darryl found an investor which was Jack Williams.  He purchased the Common Market on Monument Circle and then the fun began. The manager of the restaurant was to stay for a month to train us and then he asked me to help with a catering job that he had already booked through the Common Market.  I agreed but he never gave me the menu.  The event was on a Friday and I finally received the menu at 11:00 AM.  After reviewing the menu I realized that they did not have the correct equipment for the food he was serving.  My friend Helen was helping us at the restaurant and I convinced her to help me and then I called Modern Foods crying and begging for equipment.  Of course I had no van and they delivered it to me along with my previous assistant at Modern.  That really made me cry.  We did it and I could not have made it without Helen and Tom.  And the topping on the cake was when the old manager walked in and the customer was praising him.  Helen, Tom and I were behind the scenes and watched him appreciate all the nice comments and we almost killed him.  We did all the work.  After that day I didn’t even think about catering until Jack said I thought you were a caterer.  My comment was I think I was but not sure anymore.  He strongly suggested that I consider that.  

My first thought was that I needed a chef.  I decided to call Trina Stewart who worked for me at Modern as a event supervisor and I convinced her that she could cook.  She thought I was crazy but she joined the team and the team consisted of Tom who left Modern, Trina and I and the trunk of my car. 

Our first event was a served luncheon at the Symphony for 100 guests.  We were ready to go and unfortunately we plated the salads at the restaurant and put them on the dumb waiter and then I heard a huge crash and it was my salads.

I thought well here we go to a crisis and this will not help my catering career.  I called Tom Ramsey at the Symphony and explained the problem and he said he understood and ask what time I could serve.  You have never seen people move as fast as we did and we served 30 minutes late and it was successful.  Not sure how.  

That was the beginning of my catering career.  I have had amazing staff throughout the years and I have been blessed to have so many customers.  

I would like to point out a few people that are very special to me.  My husband Darryl for all of his support over the years and in fact he was our chef for several years and did a great job.  My sister Sandy and her husband Tom for their support and caring.   Our Dad and Mom would have been proud of both of us.  Janet Davis who was my bookkeeper for 32 years and tried to quit 2 times but I told her that would not work for me.  I couldn’t have imagined having MBP without her.   Christina Walker, my niece who has worked for me for 12 years and now is the General Manager and I know she will do a great job.  Trina Stewart who was my chef for 17 years and worked very hard and did amazing food once I told her she could be a chef.   I knew the more pressure the harder we would work.  At the end of the day I would say how in the world we do that  

The growth of MBP is all related great staff and great and loyal customers.  My customers were always very important to me and my goal and my only goal was to make them happy.  I was blessed and believe me I will never forget any of you.

Throughout the years I have met so many vendors and have so much appreciated their support.  It is an amazing industry to be part of and we all work together to have a great outcome.  

I ran a good honest business and I am very proud of that and most of all I loved my customers.  In all my dreams I would never have thought I could start and grow a catering business.  

  It is very hard for me to not be involved but now is the time for others to take over.  In closing I am sure Taki, the new owner will have the same values as me and MBP will still be one of the best caterers in Indianapolis.  

Mary Beth Poe