The Gathering: Local entrepreneur’s new business offers a unique dining experience

It didn’t take Fort Gratiot resident Calah Wesley long to find a new avenue with which to use her background in nutrition during the pandemic lockdown. With a master’s degree in nutrition education, Wesley launched her business Cultivate: Nutrition Services in 2020 which offers a personalized and mindful approach to meal planning.

Calah Wesley, owner of Cultivate: Nutrition Services and The Gathering.
Wesley uses her clients’ personal preferences, food allergies, and nutritional needs to create a virtual grocery cart individualized to each client. By counseling, planning, and shopping for all of the required ingredients, Wesley says she relieves her clients of the added stress of not only meal planning, but having to go into the grocery store.

As time passed, Wesley says she thought something was missing. People were safe at home during COVID, but instead of food being associated with family and community, she was concerned that people were becoming too familiar with the isolation. Meal times went from being a time shared with loved ones to one of eating alone.

“Eating is meant to be communal,” Wesley says.

Looking to expand upon her offerings in an effort to help foster community, Wesley transformed her backyard, repurposing her deck into a comfortable and inviting gathering space able to accommodate 6-10 guests. Here, others can gather together at Wesley’s home and enjoy a meal provided by her as their personal chef. Out of this her new business, The Gathering was born.

It was such an immediate success that Wesley contacted her long-time friend Kate Voss, owner of Kate’s Downtown in Port Huron, to discuss the possibility of incorporating The Gathering events into the cafe. Their first event together sold out in just six hours, followed by an official inaugural dinner at Kate’s Downtown the week of Valentine’s Day.

Musicians perform during one of The Gathering's events.

“I’d say it was in the stars,” Voss says. “Kate’s is the perfect place for The Gathering because that’s what we do! We’ve been gathering together for over a decade.”

Wesley prepares all of the food herself and says she is intentional about using all locally-sourced ingredients. The Gathering is still in its growing stages and she says she is still tweaking and perfecting details to create a memorable dining experience for participants.

“The entire experience is very intentional and is meant to encourage being together, communing with one another, and sharing time among friends and family,” she says.
To enhance the experience, local musicians provide live music tailored specifically to the meal and theme of the evening.

“Nothing goes unnoticed and it’s evident in the display and taste that comes with the experience,” says artist and musician Amber Dasharion. “Melding fresh delicious food with the company of people you cherish makes the evening one worth remembering.”

Participants are asked to provide a photo of themselves that coincides with the theme of the particular event. The photos of each attendee are then included on their individual table setting. Following the meal, the reverse side of the photo will be a place to handwrite an honest and heartfelt review of the experience. Wesley says this provides not only valuable feedback which she uses to continue to improve the experience, but also a way to remember each person.

“The Gathering is a wonderfully unique dining experience based on all things local,” says recent guest Shelly Harvey. “No detail is overlooked. We even had the opportunity for some one-on-one time with our hostess and chef, our server, and the musicians who provided the entertainment. It was a wonderful evening with friends that I’ll never forget.”

For those interested in nutritional services, Wesley offers dietary counseling and meal plan options at To book or register for an upcoming event, visit
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Read more articles by Rita MacDonald.

Rita MacDonald is a U.S. Army veteran and a full-time registered nurse who claims that her Irish and Scottish heritage is the reason for her love of storytelling. She is the mother of two adult sons, “Gummy” to her three grandchildren, loves talking with anyone who will engage in a conversation, and “eats life with a shovel!” In addition to her work with The Keel, Rita is a contributor for the Thumbprint News, an author of three books, and writes a blog at