On August 31, 2019, Edward Pearson, a United States Army veteran, died in Naples, Florida at the age of 80. It was understood that he had no immediate family, and community members were concerned that he was going to be buried alone.
Funeral director, Michael Hoyt, published the following sentence in a local newspaper: This veteran has no immediate family, and all are welcome to attend. When news of the open service hit social media, the response was overwhelming. Quickly, Pearson’s obituary went viral, and both U.S. Senator Marco Rubio and CNN host Jake Tapper tweeted about the story.
More Than 2,000 Head to Sarasota FL to Pay Their Respects
The funeral was scheduled for October 1, 2019 at 12:30 pm in an open-air pavilion at the Sarasota National Cemetery in Sarasota, Florida, and hundreds of people in the region said that they were planning to attend. In Naples, a city with many retirees and veterans, residents were ready to make the trip to Sarasota to honor Pearson’s life. Fire & Rice founder, Chef Paul Schmidgall, also a military veteran, and his colleague, Colleen Connolly, made the trip to show their respects. “No veteran should be laid to rest alone.”
U.S. Army veteran and Purple Heart recipient, William Bowman, told the Associated Press, “You know what? There’s no way I’m going to let him do this alone. I’ve never met the man. But he’s a veteran and he’s a brother of mine.”
Remarkably, more than 2,000 people showed up to attend the funeral, most of who had never met Pearson. Patty Thrasher, Pearson’s friend, commented to the AP, “I think he would have just totally been in tears. He’s looking down and probably crying his heart out.”
From 1962-1964, Pearson served in the U.S. Army and was honorably discharged. Public records say that he later became an engineer and worked at Marriott Hotel Services Inc. Upon his death, no family members claimed his body, but his good friend took care of the funeral arrangements.
The Bluffton Arts & Seafood Festival takes place October 12th-19th in Bluffton, SC, right in the heart of Low Country between Hilton Head and Interstate 95. Bluffton is a charming town that is situated along the beautiful May River and boasts an eclectic art community. All week long, you can sample the area’s amazing seafood while perusing the local art and enjoying the area’s Southern hospitality.
For the second year in a row, Fire & Rice Low Country will be part of this fantastic event. You’ll see us preparing our award-winning paella and interacting with the crowd in a unique communal setting that’s fun for everyone involved. Chef Paul Schmidgall, the founder of the Fire & Rice franchise, made the trip up to Low Country to be part of the action and help the team in any way he can.
Fire & Rice Offers a Fun & Exciting Paella Catering Experience at the Bluffton Arts & Seafood Festival
There are so many activities at the Bluffton Arts & Seafood Festival. You can take your time strolling through a wide array of artwork, go on a boat tour, try paddleboarding, or sit back and watch a boat parade, to name just a few. Throughout the day, you can listen to a wide range of music, including acoustic soul, southern blues, contemporary jazz, country, and more. But, most importantly, make sure you try the wonderful seafood options available from the area’s finest food establishments!
When you head down to the festival, you’ll find Fire & Rice right in the middle of it all, preparing our delicious paella in large shallow pans out in front for everyone to see. Using only the finest ingredients dating back to 16th Century Spain, our chefs enthusiastically combine traditional seafood ingredients with meat, saffron, and Bomba rice for a delicate flavor and texture that is simply divine. Many of our clients have traveled all over the world and say that our paella is the best they’ve ever tasted.
As soon as you see Fire & Rice, you’ll know there’s fun to be had. People are drawn to our enthusiasm as well as the beauty of the dish, and we typically bring in a crowd. People gather around the pans, and we encourage them to join in the preparation process. It’s fun and exciting, and everyone wants a turn!
Naples Paella Catering & Beyond!
More than a decade ago, Chef Paul Schmidgall brought his authentic paella concept to Naples, and it caught on like wildfire. Now, you can enjoy award-winning paella from Fire & Rice at multiple locations across the country! If you’d like to learn more about Naples paella catering for your next party or event, call (239) 269-8857 or book your party online.
Please help welcome Colleen Connolly to Fire & Rice as she officially joins the Naples’ paella catering team this October! Colleen has worked extensively in the catering business over the years and brings with her a wealth of knowledge as an industry expert. This summer, she’s entrenched herself in our paella culture, and we can’t wait for her to jump right in!
Naples’ Original Paella Catering Company Welcomes Colleen Connolly
The Fire & Rice paella catering concept has spread like wildfire over the last decade, and our team has been working at full capacity for some time. This fall, we’re ready to expand so that we can bring our award-winning paella to more parties and events than ever before.
As the paella business has continued to grow at top-speed over the last year, Fire & Rice founder, Chef Paul Schmidgall, has been considering a new hire. His goal has been to find a professional caterer with the experience, personality, skill set, and talent to flourish in the position and take on new responsibilities.
Chef Paul has known Colleen for many years – they both live in Naples, share common interests, and have been in the catering business for a long time. In fact, Colleen has been running the day-to-day operations for a catering and event business for more than 15 years! From staffing and décor to planning, booking, and site checks, Colleen has done it all. And when she told Chef Paul that she was looking for a change, he knew that she was the right one for the job.
Having seen Chef Paul grow the paella catering business and watching the way runs his company, Colleen is excited about the opportunity. She said that her experience at Fire & Rice so far has been lots of fun, and she looks forward to the newness of it all as well as forging new relationships.
One of the things Colleen loves most about the opportunity is that she’s able to interact with clients during a time that is exciting for them, such as a party or event, as she really enjoys helping people. Right now, her biggest challenge is learning how to drive the trailer, but she’s confident that she’ll master it before too long!
If you’re looking for a unique and exciting alternative for your next catered party or event and would like to learn more about our award-winning Naples’ paella catering, call (239) 269-8857 or book your party online. We look forward to helping you make your next occasion something special that people will remember for years to come!
When you start franchising, you’re venturing into a different way of doing business. All of your past achievements don’t necessarily help guide you, and neither do your street smarts.
The role of a franchisor is a road that you’ve never been down before, and the framework of your business is different than what you’ve experienced in the past. Relationships are more complicated, and lots of different pieces need to come together simultaneously to achieve success.
Chef Paul Schmidgall, the founder of the booming Fire & Rice paella catering franchise, knows that being a franchisor means that you continually have to evolve in order to grow your business, and part of that process is to connect with other franchisors and keep learning. So, from September 18-20, Chef Paul attended the Springboard 2019 Conference for Emerging Franchisors in Philadelphia and couldn’t have been more thrilled with the experience.
Springboard Conference: What to Expect
The Springboard Conference is an exciting, energized opportunity to connect with other franchisors in your industry and beyond. You receive guidance from successful franchisors, come together in break-out sessions, and get actionable items to grow your business. Successful franchisors will share what they have done right, the mistakes they’ve made, and how they’ve achieved success.
Springboard experts agree that operating a successful franchise is based on strategy, not luck, and even though you may have the best product, be able to distinguish your brand from the competition, and make money, you need to foster the right relationships to succeed. Some of those critical relationships include franchisees, vendors, customers, state regulators, and people in your community. Not only will successful franchisors share their approach to networking, you’ll also have the opportunity to be part of Springboard’s amazing on-site networking experience with franchisors at all stages of the game.
From finances, digital marketing, operations, new franchisees, leveraging brokers and consultants, scalability, PR exposure, franchise onboarding, boosting internal sales, marketing, and so much more, the wealth of information presented and discussed during the Springboard Conference is current and relevant. To see the complete itinerary at this year’s conference, click here.
Post-conference, franchisors rave about the Springboard. They say the weekend was inspirational and idea-packed with guidance from the greatest minds in the franchise world. Whether you’re beginning your role as a franchisor or have been in the franchise business for many years, this is the event of the year to connect with others, share ideas, learn, and get assurance that you’re on the right path.
From Naples’ Paella Catering to Fire & Rice Franchises Around the Country
Fire & Rice opened its first location in Naples more than a decade ago, and the paella catering concept spread like wildfire. Now, you can enjoy our award-winning paella all around the country!
If you’d like to learn more about Fire & Rice franchise opportunities or are interested in our Naples paella catering services, call us at (239) 269-8857. We look forward to hearing from you!
If you haven’t had the opportunity to try paella from Fire & Rice in Naples yet, now is the time! With our busy season is right around the corner, October is the perfect time to enjoy the ultimate paella experience before the crowds arrive this November.
If you’re new to paella in Naples, you may wonder what sets Fire & Rice apart from other catering companies. While there are lots of reasons to host a Fire & Rice Party, here are the top four:
1.We offer award-winning paella using traditional ingredients.
Are you tired of the run-of-the-mill fare that you find at parties and events and looking for an exciting food option for your next catered affair? At Fire & Rice, we create our award-winning paella using only the finest ingredients dating back to 16th Century Spain. Our chefs carefully combine chicken and sausage with saffron and Bomba rice in large pans, bringing together the delicate flavors and textures for a cultural, culinary experience that is simply divine. Meat can be swapped out or combined with seafood, and vegan options are also available, so there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
Whether it’s Mixta Paella, Paella de Valencia, or Paella de Marisco, when you take your first bite, it will exceed all expectations. Many of our clients have traveled all over the world and say that our paella is the best they’ve ever tasted.
2.We have a unique twist on catering that’s fun and exciting.
Fire & Rice is more than a catering company; it’s the ultimate paella experience. We create an energized atmosphere everywhere we go and, from the moment your guests arrive, they’ll know they’re in for a treat. As they mix and mingle, they’ll see our chefs enthusiastically preparing paella out in front for everyone to see. We’re passionate about paella, and it shows!
During the preparation, gentle aromas fill the air, touching the senses, and people are drawn to the pans, which are filled with a palette of primary colors. As the guests gather around, we encourage them to join in the preparation process. It’s fun and exciting, and everyone wants a turn!
When the paella is ready, we invite everyone up to the pans and serve them. During this time, guests come together in a communal dining setting that is warm and inviting, creating a feeling of camaraderie that is like nothing they’ve encountered before.
3. We are Naples’ original paella catering company.
More than a decade ago, Chef Paul Schmidgall, the founder of the booming Fire & Rice franchise, brought his paella catering concept to Naples FL, and it caught on like wildfire. Now you can find Fire & Rice locations throughout the US!
But would you believe that there are people in the Naples area that are pretending to be Fire & Rice? We want to make sure that if you’re looking for Fire & Rice that you’re not dealing with any paella imposters. So, we suggest that when you’re making a phone call to book a party, or speaking to someone at a Farmers’ market, to make sure that you’re dealing directly with Fire & Rice. If there’s any kind of runaround, it’s not us!
4. We make things easy for the host.
Because our goal is for you is to enjoy your celebration to the fullest extent and spend time with your guests, we make hosting a Fire & Rice party as easy as possible. We arrive to set up about an hour before the event and bring everything we need to prepare the paella and serve your guests. Just book your party, and we’ll take care of the rest. It’s really that simple!
Fire & Rice: The Ultimate Paella Experience in Naples