Owner of Brock Masterson’s Catering retires after 38 years: ‘It’s been a great run’

Credit: Mark’s Photo & Video

Credit: Mark’s Photo & Video

Rick Schaefer, owner of Brock Masterson’s Catering & Events, will retire and hand over his spatulas to longtime employees Traci Tobin and her daughter Caitlyn.

“It’s been 38 years,” Schaefer said. “It’s been a great run.”

He looks forward to doing a lot of traveling, food and culture research as well as getting involved with Daughters of Cambodia, an organization empowering those trapped in the sex industry to walk free and start a new life. Schaefer said about 10 years ago he taught a cooking class with the Daughters of Cambodia, noting it was “probably one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.”

“Dayton has allowed me this opportunity,” Schaefer said. “The people of Dayton have been so good to us. They’ve supported us at festivals. The venues have had us as approved caterers, so I want to give back to Dayton. Just give back to the community that has been so good to me.”

The start of Brock Masterson’s Catering & Events

Schaefer’s passion for food stemmed from his childhood where he recalled having certain dishes at family gatherings that gave him comfort and still do. He loves eating, cooking and creating food.

In 1986, he started selling “Precious Pecans” with his mom to Dorothy Lane Market in Oakwood. The old family recipe took jumbo pecans shipped in from Albany, Georgia, that the duo coated in egg whites, korintje cinnamon, sugar, and sea salt and baked to a crispy deliciousness. Schaefer said in the 1980s this was “cutting edge.”

Two years later, they opened a storefront on Park Avenue in Oakwood where the front of the store was a gift shop and the back was where he did catering. In 1998, they took a big leap and opened Nanci’s Porches, a full-service restaurant at 2600 Far Hills Ave. in Oakwood. The restaurant space was sold in the early 2000s when his mom decided to retire.

Around that same time, Brock Masterson’s Catering & Events was born.

Longtime employees are key to success

Reflecting on his career, Schaefer says his employees are his biggest accomplishment.

“The thing that has been most gratifying to me is that I kept my employees in an industry that just doesn’t keep employees,” he said. He believes they have many repeat clients because they see the same faces and have established relationships.

One of those longtime employees is the aforementioned Traci Tobin, who joined his team in 2011. She recalled initially setting up events and talking to clients, but once the company continued to grow she became Schaefer’s sous chef and learned the recipes. Her daughter, Caitlyn, joined the team in 2016.

Traci enjoys being a part of their clients’ life celebrations. She has seen many families and kids grow up.

“It makes us happy to do what we do,” she said.

One of Schaefer’s favorite memories is when a 92-year-old man walked into their showroom in December 2015 and asked if they could help him give his wife, who was turning 90, a meal she would never forget. Schaefer said he and Traci made a five-course meal.

“That was my one favorite catering job ever for those two people,” Schaefer said. ”I never felt so good in my life.”

Mother-daughter duo start new chapter

As the mother-daughter duo takes over, they say customers will still be able to get crab cakes, three-potato hash and dill sauce at festivals or by placing orders.

“The integrity of the recipes they remember from Nancy’s Porches — or just that Rick and I have served in the past — are going to remain the same,” Traci said.

In addition, Brock Masterson’s Catering & Events has new home at 101 E. Alex Bell Road Suite 104 C in Centerville’s Cross Pointe Shopping Center. Traci said the space is three times bigger than their previous location on Patterson Road in Dayton. The new space includes a party room that’s available for rent to clients wanting to host up to 50 guests. They also plan to use this space for trivia nights and charcuterie and cooking classes.

In addition, they hope to soon offer individual or family meals for carryout, a service they also provided during the coronavirus pandemic.

“I want to honor and respect all of the hard work Rick has done in establishing this business and growing this business,” Traci said. “We have a huge success on our hands.”

Schaefer is also hopeful for their future.

“I have such confidence in Traci and Caitlyn,” Schaefer added. “They’re going to do great. I think they will make it better, honestly. They have that ruthless desire. They’re very creative. They’re very resourceful and they both have fertile minds.”

For more information, visit brockmastersons.com or the caterer’s Facebook page.

About the Author