Fairfield County is full of trailblazing women, particularly in the culinary world. Which is why, with 2018 being proclaimed the Year of the Woman, we felt compelled to honor the pioneers among us.
Our new series, “It’s A Woman’s World’ is devoted to Fairfield County female influencers who’ve forged their own paths, often in food-related fields long dominated by men.
Whether farming the land, bringing healthy food to the masses, feeding an entrepreneurial spirit or injecting feminism with food, these groundbreaking ladies have set a new definition of women’s work, creating new paths and setting examples for those who follow.
How'd they do it? Read on. This week, our focus turns to Marcia Selden, Owner of Marcia Selden Catering & Event Planning. Have a suggestion on someone you’d like to see featured? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marcia Selden, Owner, Marcia Selden Catering
Why She’s A Pioneer: She started her catering career in 1970 based on a simple phone call – along with a strong belief in herself. When someone asked if she knew of a caterer for a wedding, Selden, a passionate cook and frequent entertainer whose background was in the art world (she had been a fashion jewelry designer), said “Tell me what you’re looking for; I’d love to take the job.”
The rest, more or less, is Connecticut gold. The self-taught chef soon found word of mouth kept her busy as event after event came her way. For many years, she did it all, shopping for every ingredient, inspecting every apple, then storing the food, delivering it and setting it up.
In 2003, her business, which prides itself on its top-notch cuisine, creativity, and highly polished service, took off in spades when she moved into a retired caterer’s commissary. Soon after, her daughter, Robin, a cooking virtuoso in her own right, joined the business and, in 2012, her son Jeffrey came onboard, making it a family affair.
Make that an award-winning family affair. A member of the Leading Caterers of America, MSC was the first caterer to be named to the Connecticut Restaurant Association’s Hall of Fame (in 2015). Other accolades include being named the International Caterers Association (ICA) Caterer of the Year in 2017 as well as to The Knot Best of Weddings Hall of Fame 2018. Robin Selden won the ICA Chef of the Year Award in 2016 and in 2017, Robin and Jeffrey Selden were named two of the “100 Most Inspiring People for 2017” in the Wedding Industry by The Knot. MSC has also won the “Oscars of Catering” the ACE Award Best Caterer of the East Coast Region.
On Being A Woman In A “Man’s World:” “I was never phased by being a woman,” says Selden. “The only problem I had was in people believing in me.” To combat that, she worked hard and plowed her way through. “I just went ahead and did my job,” she says. “Knowing I was as good as any of them.”
What’s Next: Continuing to service the tristate area; Marcia Selden Catering orchestrates over 1,000 events a year, many of which are weddings and premier parties for thousands of guests. Five years ago they opened an office and exclusive venue, Above Twelve, in New York City with business partner Ron Ben-Israel, which helped expand their presence.