TARPON SPRINGS – Smaller the Better catering, a local company founded by Chef Parris Manning and his wife, Kimberly Rankin-Manning, held a tasting event downtown last week at the 1910 Inn in celebration of the company’s one-year anniversary.

The event, “Creative Tastings by Chef Parris,” was staged Sept. 24 and highlighted not only the company’s food offerings but the many vendor partnerships established by Smaller the Better over the past year, according to Kim Manning.

“We haven’t done any marketing at all, so we thought this would be a good way to let people know about what we do,” she said in the early stages of the two-hour event. “Plus, we’re at the point where we’re bringing on business partners, and this is our way to showcase them.”

As the guests sampled items like salmon mousse on cucumber chips, caprese skewers, various pastas and assorted petit fours, representatives from area catering, photography, florists and other event-service companies handed out samples and networked their businesses.

While her husband, a decorated chef and 30-year veteran of the culinary world, toiled in the kitchen, preparing the food for the two-hour event, Kim Manning, an event planner who works for the Nielsen Company, ran around tending to the needs of the guests and the demands of the staff.

When she had a free moment, Manning explained how the couple was able to fulfill their lifelong individual dreams by starting a catering company that’s smaller, therefore better, for some people.

“There are a few catering companies in this area, but they tend to stick to doing big events,” she said, noting Smaller the Better typically stays “on this side of the bay,” working North Pinellas communities such as Dunedin, Tarpon Springs, Palm Harbor, East Lake and Safety Harbor.

“We came up with Smaller the Better for the events that are 20 people or less. We even do individual home catering for special occasions like anniversaries or parties. So, we’re a little unique in that regard, especially around here.”

When asked why the busy couple would want to take on the arduous job of running a catering company, Manning said with a smile, “This is our passion, our dream. We’re not doing this to get rich.”