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Catering up close

Bay Ewald and Nick Nigro, who founded comewecreate last summer, prepare food fresh in customers' homes.

January 22, 2014|By Rhea Mahbubani
  • Bay Ewald, left, and Nick Nigro, of comewecreate share a cucumber and jalapeno margarita in their Costa Mesa home. Comewecreate is an in-house catering service established by the Costa Mesa couple in 2013.
Bay Ewald, left, and Nick Nigro, of comewecreate share… (Don Leach, Daily…)

Save for breaking in, how can someone gain entry into a family's home and hear about the experiences that form the tapestry of their lives?

By cooking for them — or so Bay Ewald and Nick Nigro, founders of comewecreate, have found.

The Costa Mesa couple, self-proclaimed foodies, launched the in-house catering service last summer after picking cooking as their creative outlet of choice.

Since word got out, they've served at birthdays, business events and Christmas parties, provided romantic meals for two and even fed people with special dietary needs. You name it, and in all likelihood they've done it, Ewald said. Despite this, they don't want to be known only for their culinary abilities.

"Eighty years from now, we may not be able to crack an egg with one hand or construct elaborate pastries, but we will hope to have maintained many friendships and relationships that have come as a result of our ability to connect with people through the portal of cooking and of food, and through the sharing of meals," Nigro said.

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"Food is about the emotional state that it elicits in those we are serving. It is not about the recognition we are getting as the chefs."

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Love at first meal

The 24-year-olds met in San Francisco on Dec. 30, 2011, upon the insistence of a common friend. Their relationship began over crab cakes, salmon and calamari at Fisherman's Wharf, where they discovered a shared appreciation for writing, music, film and, especially, cooking. It was love at first meal, they joked.

Within days of their first encounter, the two embarked on a monthlong culinary adventure that included Thai food in the Marina District, margaritas and nachos at Sandbar in Santa Barbara, cupcakes on the Manhattan Beach pier and avocados on the Ewald family farm in San Diego.

Afterward, Nigro stayed in Orange County while Ewald returned to San Francisco State University, where she earned a master's degree in English and creative writing while also working as a food blogger and photographer for SF Weekly. When the two reunited in May 2013, growing an herb garden, drinking tea every afternoon and filling their home with refurbished furniture were priorities. It was then, as they settled into a new life together, that inspiration struck and comewecreate was born.

Ewald and Nigro have since carved out a gastronomic niche for themselves. Unlike other caterers, who cart dishes of prepared food, the pair cook at the client's chosen location.

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