Photo provided                                “Auntie” Jackie Huerta often has her 8-year-old granddaughter, Naomi Jean, to help her in the kitchen.

Photo provided “Auntie” Jackie Huerta often has her 8-year-old granddaughter, Naomi Jean, to help her in the kitchen.

Oak Harbor caterer is adapting her business to COVID-19

An Oak Harbor caterer with a love of cooking for the masses has had to reinvent herself and her business as a result of COVID-19, taking to-go orders and cooking in smaller batches.

Jackie Huerta, or “Auntie Jackie,” as she is known in her community, wanted to find a new way to cook since many of her catering contracts for events during the spring and summer have been cancelled.

Then the idea hit her to bring traditional Sunday dinners to the homes of others.

“What do Italians do? We have Sunday dinners,” Huerta said. “We have one at my house every Sunday. Let’s share that love with the community.”

She created a new website for her heat-and-serve to-go orders, zaninistogo.com

The menu changes every week with two options available. So far she has had everything available from spaghetti and meatballs to chicken parmesan to lasagna.

Prices depend on the entree, but Huerta assured that portion sizes are always generous and able to be shared or eaten over multiple days.

She also makes lemon cake, Italian cookies and focaccia bread.

For the fifth week, she is planning on possibly doing lasagna or roasted rosemary garlic chicken as entrees.

Orders can be placed Monday through Thursday through the website and pick-up or delivery is available on Sundays.

Between 2 and 4 p.m., she and her family will be outside the Oak Harbor Elks Lodge, playing Italian music and the food will be ready to be taken home.

Delivery is also an option. Owner D’Arcy Morgan of Whidbey SeaTac Shuttle contacted Huerta about providing free delivery to the whole island.

“I think she’s on the right track to something,” Morgan said.

There has been a limited need for deliveries so far, but he is fully supportive of Huerta and any deliveries that may be required in the future.

“She’s just a good business partner to work with,” Morgan added.

Huerta said she has averaged about 24 orders each week, with some of those orders calling for multiple entrees.

Her eight-year-old granddaughter Naomi Jean will often help her roll meatballs, an activity Huerta remembers doing when she was that age.

The to-go orders are something she hopes to continue for forever.

“It’s really not just about the food. The food is wonderful and I’m blessed to be able to share that. What I want to happen is for people to have Sunday dinners again,” Huerta said.

“This is kind of the perfect time to do that.”

Photo provided                                “Auntie” Jackie Huerta often has her 8-year-old granddaughter, Naomi Jean, to help her in the kitchen.

Photo provided “Auntie” Jackie Huerta often has her 8-year-old granddaughter, Naomi Jean, to help her in the kitchen.

Photo provided                                A finished dish of Huerta’s meatballs.

Photo provided A finished dish of Huerta’s meatballs.

Oak Harbor caterer is adapting her business to COVID-19

Photo provided A finished dish of Huerta’s meatballs.

Oak Harbor caterer is adapting her business to COVID-19

Photo provided A finished dish of Huerta’s meatballs.

More in Life

The Nutcracker -Swanson
Dance theater brings Nutcracker to the drive-in, living rooms

A popular wintertime performance will be offered virtually this year.

Rockin’ a Hard Place: Making the most of the short end of the drumstick

So here we are, having given thanks for all our blessings on… Continue reading

t
Santa Claus set to make rounds on Central Whidbey

Central Whidbey Fire and Rescue will resume their traditional Santa Mobile tours soon.

Georgia Gerber with her whale statue on display along First Street on Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020 in Langley, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Whidbey’s Georgia Gerber creates iconic shapes in bronze

She turns abstract forms into some of the region’s most beloved public art, including the Pike Place Market pig.

teaser
South Whidbey farmer has small plants for future

Full Cycle Farm will be giving away 100 saplings — free of charge — starting on Black Friday.

Sabine Wilms spent the beginning months of the pandemic taking care of two goats, Lady Yang Xiaomei and Marisol. She used Chinese medicine to help heal the goats. Photo by Kira Erickson/Whidbey News-Times.
Home for the kids: Whidbey woman takes in two goats deemed lost cause

A South Whidbey woman nursed two goats back to health with the help of Chinese medicine.

Cory Fakkema has brought the family farm near Oak Harbor into the modern age, using more ecologically sound practices that are considered better for the land and livestock. Photo by Ron Newberry
Regenerative agriculture: A new, healthier way to farm

A Whidbey farm is relying on more ecologically sound practices.

t
Kau Kau Corner to give away free meals on Thanksgiving

It’s the business owner’s way of saying ‘mahalo’ for the support this year.

Artist Louie Rochon demonstrates the process of how he paints at his Clinton studio on Thursday. Photo by Kira Erickson/Whidbey News-Times
South Whidbey artist is painting the blues away

All proceeds from a raffle for a local artist Louie Rochon’s painting will benefit a food bank.

Most Read