What dreams are made of:  Holleday Productions plans weddings fit for fairy tales

Northern Arizona’s Mountain Living Magazine, February 2023

Written by Gail G. Collins

As the wind began to catch edges of the crisp white linens on the buffet table, eyes turned skyward. The focus had been within the Poore home for hours as the ladies primped and family gathered. At the bottom of the garden, a floral arch and rows of chairs stood ready for the couple to take their vows.

Rain began to patter and build and instead of driving guests indoors, they crowded the patio watching nature have its way on a wedding day. The mood remained positive and guests reassured one another that rain is good luck. And in Arizona, rain is generally welcome. The drama passed and a double rainbow took its place. Then, dressed in their finest, folks wiped down the benches, and the ceremony began. It wasn’t the first time the Poore family had rallied in support, and it wouldn’t be the last.

Such devotion is one of the reasons Hailey Muller chose to marry Travis Kasinger in this place. Well, that and her many memories, like youthful tales of Bigfoot living in the rocks nearby. Their theme was Coming Home.

The property’s rambling home began as a dairy barn, built of brick and stone. Suffused with natural light and southwestern art, saddles are mounted across the loft’s bannister and repurposed as end tables, bunking simply alongside a worn hat and striped blanket. Dedication and a doctor’s presence are found in a framed Hippocratic oath while an enormous fireplace begs guests to linger. The roomy kitchen and wall of old photos says, “Home sweet home.” It’s a humble homestead near the woods that has created solace and a love of place for this extended family since 1966.

As Alexis Holle of Holleday Productions says of such events, “It begins and ends with family.” This is her second wedding on the Poore property. In fact, the impetus for Holle’s business was a family event—her sister’s marriage. “We planned it together and did so much DIY,” she remembers. “We thought how much fun it was, and the idea took off.” A winding road of experiences through study of fine arts and art history, retail fashion design via her shop, Sundara, and hospitality gigs combined to provide the necessary skills set.

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When Personal Chef Nicholas Di Paolo is in the kitchen, everyone is on vacation

AZ Daily Sun, Mountain Living Section, February 2023

Written by Gail G. Collins

The supper scenario can be daunting. There is more drama than drive, more demands than day, and yet, there is that overriding aim to eat well. We have good intentions, but the time it takes to plan, shop, prepare, and yes, tidy up, crowd an already busy life. Do we grab take-out again or snag a ready meal? Those options are fine on occasion, but they won’t deliver a healthy lifestyle, despite Grub Hub’s willingness to drop it at our door.

Perhaps, the solution to the problem is a personal chef. They’re not just for the famous or fabulous; they’re niche operators that cater—literally—to our needs. Aside from basic planning, prepping and putting away, they can satisfy dietary and creative preferences. They can introduce new dishes, like a fish curry stew, or put a spin on an old favorite, like smoked gouda mac ‘n cheese with ham and peas.

Having a reunion? You don’t want to spend all your time in the kitchen; you want to spend it reminiscing around the table. Dinner party? Host it with a welcoming vibe without the hassle. Family getaway? Getaway from the stove and focus on having fun.

You might think you can’t afford it. Think again. Seating a large party at a restaurant is impossible while the expenses surrounding a meal out from parking to check stack up quickly. Consider the convenience and comfort of staying put and let the restaurant come to you where your personal chef does it all. Those, who enjoy cooking, can even learn a technique or two from a pro.

Chef Nicholas Di Paolo logs 30-plus years’ experience, and now relishes the most rewarding part of his culinary journey in Northern Arizona, ensuring a client’s every desire is fulfilled. This ranges from family style events to exacting menus for tastings or formals.

“I was always gonna’ be a chef,” he says and began a career in the Bronx. “All of our menu items are made from scratch with the best ingredients—a standard that was born in Little Italy and honed over time to bring you the best experience available.”

His resume includes Raoul’s, a bustling bistro dating to the 70s with an utterly French menu. By 1997, di Paolo made executive chef, but over time, noticed an edgy turn in the industry. Her followed his family to Las Vegas, but was unfulfilled. After the 2008 crash, Nick missed the harmony of the house—front and back—when dedicated staff previously had covered for one another. The cutthroat atmosphere he felt—where knowledge was guarded, not mentored–became stifling.

“Chefs produce chefs,” he says. “We’re partners in business—that’s old school.” But he admits, “People grow out of positions. I was 40 years old and wanted to buy a home.”

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