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3 questions with caterer Ami Novak 

Do you cringe every time you have to cook for a large number of guests? So do we. But for Ami Novak, throwing a party of large proportions is all part of her job as a caterer. This devoted mother, fiancee and chef defines herself as "the eye of the storm, grace under pressure and always hungry to learn more." After a seasonal trial run, Novak was awarded the title of Catering Director for Encore, a non-profit catering company affiliated with the Community Culinary School of Charlotte, in 2009.

Creative Loafing: Why did you desire to obtain a career in the food industry?

Ami Novak: Coming from a family mired in the automotive industry, I did not want to be so reliant on the ebbs and tides of the economy. I knew that people would always need to eat, and I would always be able to cook no matter where I lived and what the economic climate would be.

Oftentimes food and the arts seem to compliment each other; do you have a flair for the arts?

Yes, in the past it was competitive ice sculpting. I have several medals and awards from my ice-sculpting competitions. Now I like to do craft projects around the house if I am not working.

When you leave work at Encore, where you have been cooking all day, do you go home and cook a gourmet meal or do you slap together a PB&J sandwich and call it a day?

I try to plan on making dinner at home at least twice a week, and my fiance will also cook a few meals. He likes to experiment his dishes on me. Some nights, I get home so late that I just have popcorn, or cheese and crackers. When I have a craving I will kick up some gourmet goodies to eat no matter what time it is.

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