Greg Shapiro, is the chef and owner of Tastebuds Custom Catering. As a chef by trade, I have never attended culinary school, but I’ve worked and trained with some of the best in the business. Based in Naples and catering to Southwest Florida, we are a full-service, custom caterer that specializes in creative, one-of-a kind culinary experiences.
I always wanted to be a chef. I come from a family of great cooks; we had a salad with dinner every night, and dinner sitting together at the table NEVER got skipped. My fondest childhood memories include going to my Italian great-grandma Emily’s house for eggplant Parmesan. She always made a separate pie plate for my dad and me, and she insisted on using only Locatelli Romano cheese, the best of the best.
While my first love may be food, a near close second is Land Rovers! I am a Land Rover enthusiast and have owned seven to date, with my current one being a 1996 Land Rover Discovery named Eleanor, or Ellie for short. I enjoy working on them in my (scarce) free time and taking them off-road with friends.
Tastebuds Custom Catering officially launched in 2008; however, I came up with the concept in home economics class at the age of 15. Realizing how much I loved food and the happiness it created when sharing food with others, I started a small breakfast and lunch restaurant in 2006. We were doing small catering jobs out of the back. The economic crash forced us to close the restaurant. We retained our list of clients, an employee who is still with me today and a drive to push through the obstacles of the economic climate. Tastebuds Custom Catering began, and the rest is history.
What makes our company unique is that we rarely follow the rules! We look for ways to push boundaries, whether it be by a new recipe concept (liquid nitrogen ice cream) or unique food presentations (pork belly and Chinese five-spice cotton candy passed in a bed of wheat grass). We aim to create unique experiences—you won’t find any banquet-style chicken and bland vegetable mix at an event we cater. Also, we are not afraid to say no. We found early on in our business that we are not the caterer for everyone, and that's okay. It's better for both parties in the end.
We truly enjoy working with couples to create their custom menu and execute their dream wedding celebration. The best part of the wedding day? Easy—getting to see the look on a couple’s face at the end of the night. Our couples make their food a top priority for their big day, and we strive to exceed every expectation.