Homemade, locally-sourced food the focus of Lake Ozark cafe and catering company
Hidden in Luby’s Plaza behind Wok-N-Roll in Lake Ozark, a small business proving to be a powerhouse has popped up, opening at the end of the busy season last year. Couture Cafe and Catering is owned by Amanda Ann Pratt, but she is no stranger to serving clean, wholesome food to the Lake community.
Pratt is a fashionista, and so is her food, thus the naming of Couture Cafe. She crafts delicious homemade food, but her cuisine is always aesthetically pleasing too.
The COVID pandemic did not slow her down.
“It hasn’t affected me, we are killing it on breakfast with many dine-in customers,” Pratt said. “Of course, I am worried about it just like everyone else.” In fact, her dine-in business is far outweighing her carryout customers, another service she offers.
“My sister and mom have celiac disease, that’s why I do what I do,” she explains about her healthy menu. She offers perhaps the widest array in the Lake area of gluten free, vegetarian, and vegan choices. Fresh-made butternut squash soup and crunchy asian salads are a few examples of what Couture Cafe runs on their daily lunch specials. Today she served a delicious, fresh veggie loaded goulash with spicy sausage and pasta. It was the perfect bowl of comfort for a chilly day.
Pratt stays busy with catering through the holidays, but last summer was perhaps her biggest catering season with pulling off gigs for top-name entertainment appearing in the Lake area. Her last food service presentation was for Granger Smith aka Earl Dibbles Jr. She also provided craft service or catering whole meals to the likes of Sublime, Billy Ray Cyrus, David Lee Murphy, and Casey Donohue. Her first catering job was for Little River Band in 2017 when they performed at Casa de Loco. Pratt worked as an event coordinator at Shawnee Bluff Winery before starting the catering venture.
“I love entertaining, and have traveled and trained in cooking in Greece, Spain, and the Dominican Republic,” she said. Last summer season, Couture Cafe catered for 12 nationally touring acts at the Lake. When asked if the task is challenging, with infamous food requests that celebrities are known for, Pratt said all were very easy to work with.
“I give them a variety of choices, and they seem to like that. One group asked for individual food orders and that was a little difficult. Billy Ray Cyrus and the band loved my food so much that they took the rest with them on the bus. The artists like that I will cook them a meal, not just craft service, they don’t get that a lot,” she explained.
Couture Catering is also experienced in providing local high-profile clients with refreshments for their events. A unique service that she offers is on-boat catering or chef service, depending on the kitchen set up. A small galley with at least refrigeration and a cooktop is necessary, but she easily adapts. Sandwiches, and finger and cold foods, and breakfast burritos are easier and can be prepared in the cafe kitchen and then served aboard. When she cooks on board in their galley, she offers the owners a choice of options. Pratt provided onboard chef service for a large crowd at this year’s Shootout event. Chef services will run you a bit more than catering, but the luxury of having the kitchen maintained by someone else would be well worth it.
She also provides private chef services for those who wish to dine at home, often cooking for nightly rentals. “I provided home chef services for a group of 15 for three days last year in their Lake rental,” Pratt shares. With her own lineup of equipment, she doesn’t need for much when arriving. The crew includes her niece, who is entering culinary school, and is rounded out by Amanda’s 10-year-old son who helps in the family business.
The Couture Cafe stays busy in its own right. Offering all-day breakfast seven days a week and lunch, the cafe menu has fun names for choices such as Who You Siding With on the sides menu and No Soup For You for soup varieties.
Pratt sources products for breakfast locally from Tom’s Slaughterhouse Meats in Montreal and The Butcher Shop in Camdenton.
What sets Couture Catering and Cafe apart is Pratt remains adamant about making everything fresh, in house, and sourcing ingredients as locally as possible. Renegade Farms, a micro-farm located just outside of Osage Beach, is one provider that she looks to for incredible and unusual farm-to-fork produce. She also patronizes Wood’s Supermarket for her ingredients rather than ordering from a food service.
What is Pratt’s favorite thing and least liked to cook? “Sauces and whole chickens are my favorite,” she answers. All of her dressings, compound butters, and sauces are made in-house from scratch. “My least favorite is appetizers because of the tedious detail, but I love the end result,” she said. Her house-made dressings and sauces are something that customers routinely rave about, and fresh herbal additions such as the compound rosemary herb butter in the scrambled eggs showcase the knowledge of her chef skills.
Catering services vary from weddings, dock parties, and boat excursions, to family gatherings, holiday dinners or party food, and gourmet meals, including three or four course chef dinners.
She hosts private pairing dinners that book up fast and are served at the cafe presented in an intimate setting with the chef and her guests. The pairing dinners usually seat five couples at the Couture Cafe’s great table, with staff serving while Chef Pratt cooks in a nearby open kitchen before presenting each course. Most recently, she presented tastes of the Caribbean in a tasting dinner, sharing her influences and ingredients gained while touring the Dominican Republic recently. She served Caribbean shrimp and red snapper, fried plantains, authentic Caribbean coffee, and hand-rolled cigars, while music of the islands played softly in the background.
Couture Cafe and Catering
Open Daily 8 a.m.-2 p.m.
1379 Bagnell Dam Blvd., Lake Ozark