Peoria Caterer Feeds Famous Actress

By Maggie Vespa

August 15, 2010 Updated Aug 15, 2010 at 10:28 PM CDT

Back in May, when Emily Cotton first got wind of the job being offered to her family's Peoria catering company, it already sounded exciting enough.

"We were contacted about a photo shoot for Elle Magazine involving their September fashion issue," she said.

But when she discovered just who the food was to feed, she realized Hollywood was about to hit home.

"We knew it was going to be Julia Roberts involved in the shoot," said Cotton.

Yes, the Julia Roberts.

Cotton's family owns and runs Cyd's Gourmet Kitchen Café and Catering in Peoria's Junction City.

Roberts was scheduled to be in Chicago Mother's Day weekend to appear on the Oprah show, promoting her then upcoming movie 'Eat, Pray, Love.'

The film hit theaters Friday.

Cotton says directors at Elle Magazine decided to shoot Roberts for the cover of their September issue in Chicago that same weekend.

Cotton's brother owns the photography studio Elle chose for the shoot.

She says when he called with details about the offer, she knew right away it would be a fun job.

"You would think the biggest movie star on Earth had all, you know, green m&m's and all these funny requests, but she was completely down to Earth and cool. She wanted something with chicken and chocolate chip cookies," said Cotton.

Cotton says during the 13 hour shoot, Roberts called the staff by name, introduced them to her kids, and ate lots of food.

She adds she doubts she'll ever get another experience like that, which she says is fine.

"We're just a Peoria, Illinois caterer that just got a really neat opportunity," she said.

Especially when you have Roberts' new favorite cookies to show for it, just in case folks back home don't believe you.

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