Catering by Cordré Providing Customers with That Extra Element

Full Week of Service and Black-Owned Businesses Coverage

By Sam Perley  

Great food partnered with great service is a combination that Catering by Cordré’s Manny Cordray doesn’t believe customers always experience at every restaurant they visit. It’s an “element” lacking here and there in the hospitality industry, and something that ultimately inspired his business’ moniker. 

“Cordray is actually my last name, so we put a French twist on it,” he explained. “The whole idea behind it was we just felt like there was an element missing out here. There is good service and good quality food out there. I’ve got over 20 years in the business in terms of cooking.”

He added, “We just enjoy cooking food, doing great things and getting out and seeing the people. Our mission is to listen to our clients’ wishes, make sure we meet every expectation and then exceed those expectations. Deliver good food and good service. Know what you want and trust us to give you what you want.” 

Working out of a commercial kitchen on Latrobe Drive, Catering by Cordré will celebrate its fifth anniversary this month. Sweet and savory brunch dishes, breakfast sandwiches, chicken, pasta, salads and banquet style lunch morsels are littered throughout the menu. 

“I love to grill,” said Cordray. “I don’t care what comes off of it. Really intense, big bold flavors – I’m heavily influenced by Latin cuisine. My favorite food is a center cut pork chop – one with mayonnaise and Wonder Bread, the other one barbequed. I’ll eat two of those. As far as my favorite thing on the menu, we love our lasagna. I grew up on it and it’s one of the dishes my mother always made for me. I kind of recreated it and it’s on the menu now.” 

With the arrival of the pandemic several months ago, Cordray shifted gears and confronted the challenge head on and lately, things have been trending upwards. 

“It was definitely a pivot move along with the world,” he said. “My business motto has always been, ‘Move or get moved over.’ Now, we do all pre-packaged food either hot or cold. Right now, people are congregating amongst smaller groups of friends and family and we’re catering to that. We’ll set that up, pre-portion it and make sure that’s ready to go. We’ve started doing curbside dinners for birthdays, anniversaries. You have to move with the times.”

 Cordray recently mentored a CMS student who qualified for FOX’s MasterChef Junior in 2017 and created “Cooking Made Easy,” an instructional class for his neighborhood residents. Giving back is a two-way street for the chef and inspiring others has become a part of his everyday life.   

“Invest in your dreams and invest in yourself,” he stated. “It’s just like putting money in the bank. If you don’t put anything in, you’re not going to get anything out. You have to go ahead and invest in yourself, trust in yourself and believe in it. Know that it’s going to take work and have patience.” 

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