Caterer hosts farewell benefit
Before leaving Carson City, Molly Gingell wants to give back to the community that supported her business for more than a decade.
“It’s so much better than just a silly little party to say goodbye,” she explained. “It’s a goodbye with a purpose.”
Before shuttering Molly’s Gourmet Catering and Take Out after 11 years in operation, she will host one final soiree to benefit the Carson City Greenhouse Project and to raise awareness for the proposed downtown learning center.
“I know that some very crucial programs are trying to get started in Carson,” she said. “I want to bring awareness to what people are doing to keep downtown vibrant.”
Gingell hadn’t always planned on owning her own business. When she was fresh out of college with degrees in French and business, she flew to London to begin a tour of Europe with the hopes of one day finding a job there.
“Three days into it, I met my English husband,” she said. “That ruined all of my plans.”
After Gingell married Terry, a PGA Class A golf professional, her “pragmatic” mother gave her some advice: “If you’re going to marry a golf pro, you better have a more stable profession.”
So Gingell completed Le Cordon Bleu culinary program in London in 1985 and began her career in food preparation.
She moved up through the ranks from prep chef to sous chef and head chef, and the family moved from Europe to the Bay area.
When her children – Melanie, Garrett and Brent – were young, Gingell traded the unpredictable hours of working in a restaurant for the more stable catering business, where she once catered for Pope John Paul II at Candlestick Park.
She continued to work for catering companies after moving to Carson City in 1994.
“Finally, I decided it was time to take the leap and open my own place,” she said.
Although the focus shifted when the economy turned from take-out to mainly catering, she said she always found ways to adjust to changing times.
“I’m very proud of the whole body of work,” she said. “It’s been so fulfilling.”
She credits community support for her success, but members of the community say it was her support that made a difference.
“Molly has been one of the downtown champions forever,” said Robin Williamson, a former city supervisor who now sits on the Carson City Library Board of Directors.
She listed several events Gingell catered in support of city projects, including the summer concert series at the Pony Express Pavilion.
Tammy Wetergard, who served as the former parent-teacher organization president, remembers working with Gingell as a fellow parent at St. Teresa of Avila Catholic School.
“It wasn’t unusual for me to call her at the last second for something, and she’d just open up the cooler and tell me to take what I wanted,” Westergard said. “She will be missed.”
Denise Clodjeaux, spokeswoman for the Greenhouse Project, said the farewell party will be a good opportunity for people to learn more about the project being built at the high school that will supply fresh produce to area service organizations.
Sara Jones, director of the Carson City Library, said that as a business owner, Gingell understands the importance of a healthy downtown.
“The economy has affected her business,” Jones explained. “We need to do something that makes the downtown more interesting to people so they will stay and shop.”
Charlie Abowd, owner of Adele’s Restaurant just up the block, said he will miss working events with Gingell and just popping in to say hello. Their relationship, he said, was never competitive.
“We’re old school,” he explained. “We’re from the school of cooperation.”
Gingell isn’t sure what’s next for her once she moves to Palo Alto to be with her husband. He’s the golf coach at Carson High School and recently took a job at the Stanford Golf Course, where he’ll also be teaching physical education and recreation classes.
But she knows what she will not be doing.
“I won’t own my own business,” she said. “I’ve enjoyed it immensely, but I’m over the rat race.”
If you go
WHAT: “All Donations Welcome” Farewell to benefit the Carson City Greenhouse Project new library.
WHEN: 4:30-6 p.m. July 22
WHERE: Molly’s Gourmet Catering & Take Out, 220 West John St.