Do Crawfish have a Future in Des Moines and Peoria?

By Chris Bonura, Staff Writer, CITY BUSINESS

In Alaska and Wisconsin, in New York and Texas, crustacean connoisseurs are sucking heads and pinching tails. And they are paying at least $2 per pound more for crawfish than locals pay at the neighborhood seafood market, says a local businessman who markets crawfish out of state….

Local caterer Tim Howard was working for Emeril’s restaurant four years ago when he realized, after catering a party in Miami Beach, that the growing popularity of Louisiana food offered him a business opportunity. 

“Crawfish are unique in that they are inexpensive. At that time, it cost $3 per person for three pounds of crawfish. All it took was shipping the crawfish, flying myself down there and getting some pots,” he says. 

On the plane back to New Orleans, Howard hatched the idea for Hot on the Spot Catering Co. It is a full-service catering company, but shipping live and boiled crawfish is an important revenue supplement, Howard says. He sells between 5,000 and 7,000 pounds in a season. His Web site,, sells party packs that include seasoning and andouille sausage for about $5 per pound of crawfish. On big orders, he throws in a kettle and burner as lagniappe.


As Featured in “Pastry Art and Design” Magazine – December 2002

Truckin’ – Louisiana Style

Tim Howard, Owner 
New Orleans, LA

Hot on the Spot, a traveling New Orleans catering company with 12 people, a motor home, and an 18-wheeler refrigerator truck had just finished up a tour with Carlos Santana when we had time to talk with Tim Howard, Founder and President of Hot on the Spot Catering. As Tim stated, “We pull up to the venue, set up the night before the concert, party or event, create the fabulously festive atmosphere and delicious food to be enjoyed, throw the party, break it all down that night, and move along to the next city. I have a crew setting up triple sinks, portable deep fryers, double burners – all inside a 10” x 30” kitchen tent. We hire wait staff and bartenders in each city. We do cooking demonstrations and pass hors d’oeuvres, and when the party really opens up, we can cook to order. We have ample staff and firepower in the portable kitchen to cook at a high-quality level of cuisine for people as they come in.”

“Our catering is more unique than most because of its New Orleans flair, in addition to a basic proven menu that we don’t miss on.; crawfish dishes, traditional New Orleans recipes, crab cakes, and more, we also have all of the décor and items needed for a true “New Orleans Styled Bash!!”. 

“After having worked with restaurants such as Commander’s Palace and Emeril’s for over 11 years, it was the constant comments from people coming in and saying how nice it would be if they could get REAL Cajun food in their hometown. That’s what gave me the idea of putting together a catering company that could put on events anywhere in the United States. The first three years were difficult, but the last three have been tremendous.”

“When we do the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, we have locally recognized and well-known pastry chefs prepare desserts ranging from petites fours to Bananas Fosters, and present them. We stick mainly to a Louisiana themed menu and go from there. For example with desserts, some of our many items consist of lemon crepes, bananas foster and pecan pie. Our lemon crepes are made from scratch and we’ll make thousands of them, fill them full of cream cheese, lemon zest and sugar, wrap them up and freeze them. The day before the event, we thaw them out and cook them to order. Because of how portable and flexible we are, it always goes over really, really well! From appetizers, to carving stations, to passed hors d’oeuvres, to grilled items on-site, to incredible desserts, we go in and knock it out!”