A well-known, award-winning catering company on southern Vancouver Island appears to be leaving people high and dry.
“I looked online, they’re permanently closed,” said Josey Reynolds. “We found ourselves suddenly left without a caterer but also left without a deposit.”
Reynold is getting married in August. A self-professed foodie, she booked her caterer, Toque Catering, well in advance.
“They came highly recommended,” said Reynolds. “Our family and friends said, ‘Oh, they’re the best, they’ve won a bunch of awards.'”
She built a custom menu with the company, locking in the contract in early November with a deposit of $5,000.
“My future mother-in-law, she and her husband were kind enough to help us with the wedding cost, and they offered to pay the deposit,” said Reynolds. “It was hefty.”
Just this month, though, she realized that gift was likely gone.
“February 2nd, my venue reached out saying you might want to get in touch with them, saying it sounds like they’re doing some restructuring,” said Reynolds. “I didn’t hear anything back.”
Reynolds followed up with a second, more strongly worded email. Again she says she received no response.
“So the next day, I decided, you know what? I’m going to give them a phone call. It’s disconnected. I looked online they’re permanently closed. So we found ourselves suddenly left without a caterer but also left without a deposit,” said Reynolds.
Reynold isn’t alone.
“We are in the same boat as most,” said Dave Walkling via email to CHEK News. Walking says he paid a ‘significant’ deposit in May of 2022 for services in July 2023.
“I called to discuss timelines in January 2023 for the event and have not heard anything,” said Walkling.
Walking says he, like Reynolds, filed with the Better Business Bureau. CHEK News spoke with two other people who say they’re in a similar situation. A thread on Reddit shows eight unverified accounts of comparable scenarios. Reynolds says she’s been in touch with at least five others in the same boat.
“My [wedding’s] in August, it’s only February, that’s six months. Even if they’re booked for one event per weekend, but I got the sense they were usually booked for more…I would say this is in the six figures,” Reynolds said when asked if she has a sense of how much money is in the air.
At what used to be their Vic West offices, another catering business seems to have moved in. Court records show three civil files have been documented since May 2022.
Reynolds says she’s opened a file with Victoria Police, but the big burn is on her and her future husband’s big day.
“I’m forced into a position of completely reevaluating my day. I have to rethink my guest count. I have to rethink my venue. I am forced into this position because I was effectively robbed,” said Reynolds.
Toque Catering did not respond to CHEK News’ request for comment.