Stress-Free Catering: Ebony Jones

Ebony Jones has been in food service since the age of ten.

Ebony Jones has been in food service since the age of ten.

Jones. Image: Abe Draper

The Puckett native recalled being dropped off at after-school daycare where she was allowed to pour milk. She even got a check every other week.

“I’ve always been in food service,” the Forest Hill High School graduate said.

Jones has worked in her uncle’s Harvey’s Fish Hut in Pearl, taught technique classes at William Sonoma, and worked at Table 100 in Flowood, where she met Chef Alex Eaton. He invited her to his and partner Steven O’Neil’s The Manship as catering director six years later.

In February of this year, Jones launched Nola D Platters, Plants and Peculiar Goods, a catering business specializing in charcuterie, cheese and fruit platters.

If that wasn’t enough, Jones has a keen interest in plants. She even tends to the patio plants at The Manship. It is a practice started after the death of her 4-month-old daughter Nola Demaris in 2016, for whom her catering business is named.

She credits her grandmother’s motivation and love of plants and the inspiration of her late daughter for the green thumb.

“After receiving so many plants in Nola’s memory,” Jones said, “I owed it to her to keep these arrangements alive.”

When she and her husband are not looking for more plants in places like Birmingham’s Botanical Gardens, her daughters, Harper, 11 and Fionna, 9, are by her side.

“Fiona is my snacker and tester for everything at Nola D’s,” Jones laughed.

With holiday gatherings in sight, Jones said catering should not stress you out.

“First, if you are not prepared to really throw down in the kitchen, reach out to a caterer. We have holiday catering you can pick up the day before. We make it so easy and even provide the reheating instructions.”

“Second, be understanding. Not only is it hectic for you, but us. Give us some notice. Calling an hour before makes it hard. It’s not that we don’t want to do it. It’s that we’re just not capable. And supply chain shortages are making it harder. Something as simple as an aluminum pan, many places are out of them.”

“Third, do not be afraid to mix and match with your own things. You can take leftovers and jazz them up, and make them great. That’s where awesome soups come in to play at restaurants. The farmers may have brought us something to sample at The Manship, and we ask, ‘What could we do with it?’ At Nola D’s, we use organic fruit that may not be the most presentable for a platter to make jams.

Watch Jones on My City TV