Culinary Craftsmanship and Christ: A Columbus Caterer’s Calling
By Carl Stagner
Those who attended the Regional Convention in Columbus, Ohio, in June came for connection and conversation, for worship and the Word. Others came for resources, and for reunion with friends and family. Few came expecting to tickle their taste buds, but for those who experienced the culinary craftsmanship of the catering at First Church of God, that’s exactly what they did. While the desserts and dishes at convention meals and receptions were a delicious delight, the sweet spirit of Michael Mayfield and his team is what left convention-goers most impressed.
Michael Mayfield was the first in his family to become a chef. His father, though not a professional, could often be found in the kitchen or at the barbecue for family and church functions. Young Michael observed the joy his father felt as he watched the smiles on the faces of those who consumed what resulted from a labor of love. Following in his father’s footsteps and cooking for casual gatherings was how Michael got his start in catering. But his desire for excellence and his servant heart is a reflection of Colossians 3:23. In everything Mayfield’s Custom Catering does today, it’s clear they’re doing it for the glory of God.
“There are three things we’re committed to providing,” Michael explains. “Uncompromising quality, impressive presentation, and attention to even the smallest of details. Those are things I’m a stickler on. If someone’s going to pay for our service, it needs to exceed expectations.”
For Michael, the food must not only taste great, but it must look great. That’s why presentation is so important to him. “I’m a visual person, and a firm believer that you eat with your eyes first. It has to jump out at you. I like giving my customers the ‘wow’ factor. It’s about paying attention to details.”
Others might skimp on quality or presentation if they can get by with it. There might be shortcuts Michael and his team could take, but he knows they’re serving not just people, but Christ. “I’ve been in church all my life and watched my parents serve. I watched my mom, even on her deathbed, do whatever she could to serve the church. I’m able and well, so I’m going to give God and my clients 110 percent, no matter how much they’re paying, regardless of the budget.”
Besides handling other clients, including local charter schools and the Manna Café—housed inside First Church of God—Michael often offers catering to the many events that take place on the First Church campus. Having been in business for nine years, and having leased space to run his business at First Church for the past six years, Michael was the go-to guy for First Church of God when the Regional Convention came to town. Lori Dixon, who handles missionary and donor relations for Global Strategy, was especially impressed, not only by the tasty treats he made, but the servant heart he exhibited. “For the Global Strategy reception, he had cookies made with the Church of God Ministries logo on it,” she explains. “The service even included stunning floral arrangements. Every little detail was attended to. The caliber of service we received exceeded that of some of the finest hotels we have been to in the past. It was the best event we have had to date, and the least expensive.”
Michael also catered for the ONE Event that followed, which brought together students representing IYC, NIYC, and the Hispanic Council.
Though First Church isn’t Michael’s home church, it has become a home-away-from-home church. In fact, Bishop Timothy Clarke is a friend to Michael’s pastor, and they often enjoy the mutual connection. But Clarke has been a mentor and encourager to Michael, something Michael’s greatly appreciated. “He will never sugarcoat anything,” Michael reflects. “He will tell it like is, and he’s offered me wisdom on a spiritual level and on a personal level. Though sometimes he’s offered tough love, it has helped me take what we do to the next level. To be around Bishop Clarke has been a phenomenal blessing to our business.”
Though Michael specializes in a variety of dishes, his favorite food to prepare is Italian. One example is a chicken pasta, complete with roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, and a Cajun cream sauce. On the sweeter side, he delights in creating cobblers and pies, but his forte is his famous bread pudding. Find him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/mayfieldscustomcatering.
Blessings at the Church of God Regional Conventions this year have come in all shapes, sizes, and degrees of sweetness! Plan to join us for one (or both!) of the remaining two Regionals—Fairfax, Virginia (September 18–19) and Safety Harbor (September 25–26). Register now at www.chogconvention.org.