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I came to "help".....

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
I just got done doing a 3 day wedding with a bbq on Friday, the reception on Saturday, and Sunday brunch for 150 at a beautiful ranch in rural Idaho. People from all over the country and quite a few people flew in from Europe for the week to attend. When I was booking the event several months ago, I bid on all three nights, bbq, formal reception dinner, appetizers after the ceremony, brunch and the Mom was pleased with the arrangements. Then she calls a month later to tell me that the wife of a very old and dear friend who has just graduated from a cooking school wants to cook the reception dinner and the appetizers for her "wedding present" for the bride. And BTW- she has NEVER done anything like this before, but she insists the she be the "caterer" for the day.....
Now to May- she calls me up frantic 3 weeks before the wedding to give me her menu! She lives out east in the Big City where availability is not a problem and half of the things on her menu would be difficult, if at all possible to special order in that time. I break down her menu and scale it up for her- 3.5 typed pages of special ingredients, most only used for only one appetizer or dish. She arrives a week before and is so unorganized that the grocery ordering and staging meeting she misses and me and the grocery guys are sitting there for an hour until we kind of figured out what she might want and then leave. For the entree she wanted to do a stuffed veal chop, till she figured out that they would run @ 10.00 for just the chop!!!! So 2 days before the event while I have put in several hours to different purveyors price comparing, checking for availability etc, then she decides to go for salmon instead.... Also, there are 31 kids, 1-18 years old. I told her we should have an alternate to the meal for the adults and her response was that the kids will eat whatever they are served.
The Menu:
Liver Pate,
Smoked Salmon
Maryland crabcakes
Nutty chicken balls
Peppered pork tenderloin
Cold Pea soup
Aspargus with roasted portabello mushrooms
salmon with tarragon beurre blanc.
She started prepping the Wednesday before. She had at least 10 people from the wedding party working from morning to night to help her prep.
She didn't bother to check for supplies i.e., she forgot to buy salt for the saltshakers, and did'nt realize till 30 minutes before the salmon was to be plated that she forgot to order dinner plates!!! She fed the kids first, then the band before she fed the guests and ended up running out of food for the last table of 8. The kids were starving and would't touch the pea soup (imagine that!). One of my servers told one of the 8 year olds who burst out in tears when she thought she had to eat her dinner and the server (bless here heart) told the little girl just to play with it for a minute or two so as not to hurt the chefs' feelings and then she would clear it away)....She had 4 people plating and was still not happy with how they looked- it took 2 people 2 minutes just about to put the sprig on top of the salmon and half of the time she was screaming(really!) that the weren't "perfect".....And plating for "perfection, (yeah, right!) took so long that serving the entree took waaaaay too long.......
Mom later in the evening after enough to drink confided in me that she had f**ked up- and this is not the kind of woman I'd expect to using expletives..... Feel free to use this story to talk someone out of repeating this mistake!!!!!
Have you ever had "help" forced on you? What is your story?
What a relief! To find out after all these years that I'm not crazy. I'm just culinarily divergent...
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What a relief! To find out after all these years that I'm not crazy. I'm just culinarily divergent...
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post #2 of 22
yep, but what is even worse is when they want to cut back on staffing.....they figure by saving that $75-100 their $2000 party would not suffer.

I'm bidding on a benefit lunch in Dec. the staff is from a fraternity...200 approx guests....salad, entree, dessert (donated) but I'm sure plated....beverage. My food budget has gotta be in the $10-13 range....I'm obviously concerned about the frat boys plating so I'll insist that the kitchen staff be mine and that we have someone out front working the floor. yippy.

I've had staff that could not glaze an apple strudel....even with the lemons and powdered sugar mix made.....

I love the hostess that buys crap from Sams and puts it out with my food so that "there will be enough food" or they cut the menu dramatically and their costs but "beefed it up".....caterer's little helper.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 
No, the staff was mine and they were running like crazy that day for her. No, I had 5 servers to clear soup plates and serve and myself and a pretty good guy doing the plating. And she was fussing over the sprig so much that the servers started helping arrange sprigs so they could carry out plates faster. And it did go a little faster, and their sprigs looked exactly like her sprigs but she was screaming at them constantly. When we were plating appetizers we were checking over the prep list and realized the cream cheese was downstairs in another fridge, she goes over to my prep guy and says"we need the creamcheese from the refrigerator downstairs.. Its white and comes in a box marked "cream cheese" "... As one server put it "she was just bitin' heads".....
What a relief! To find out after all these years that I'm not crazy. I'm just culinarily divergent...
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What a relief! To find out after all these years that I'm not crazy. I'm just culinarily divergent...
Reply
post #4 of 22
I love the ones that want to only pay for 50 when a hundred are showing up
post #5 of 22
This woman sounds exactly like a woman I knew in Chicago. Her and her husband would dine almost every Friday at our place. Inevitably she had our Duck dish (Grilled Duck Breast with an Eggroll made from Confit and a Chinese mustard-honey glaze). She loved it. Well she decided to attend one of the local culinary schools (she was a dancer with one of the bigger dance companys in town, married to a rich guy and had time on her hands, and since she considered herself a foodie, well....). Soon after, she came in, ordered the Duck once again, and soon after it went out, sent it back declaring that now that she was a professional our Duck dish didn't impress her and she wanted something else!!! These kind of people drive me nuts. They really have no clue about what is going on, but because they graduated from a culinary school, they think they have it down!!
post #6 of 22
proving once again that a little knowledge in the wrong hands is a dangerous thing
post #7 of 22
But Pete don't you knoe they are all big time chef's when they graduate...:rolleyes:
post #8 of 22
Peachcreek,
I've never met a kid who didn't LOVE liver pate. Mmmmm...;)
I don't suppose you'd ever let a client tell YOU who's cooking for her guests again. And why should you? It only makes YOU look bad.

Shroom, I know what you mean about the wholesale cookies mixed in with mine. Bad news...:mad:
post #9 of 22
Peachcreek,the "expert" who had just graduated from culinary school had to be joking!!I share your view,a piece of paper doesn`t mean that they know it all.To me,just graduated,means that a person has one foot on the ladder.This dear lady can`t handle pressure as she clearly demonstrated to you.
I once heard a chef say "the first ten years are the hardest,after that you get the better".:eek:
post #10 of 22
Sorry,i meant get better!
post #11 of 22
Hey dude , as the big wigs in our biz would say " a learning experience". Knowledge is a two edged sword ! To know what you would want and to be able to do it are two different things.
Also sometimes during the negotiations you have to ask the tough questions such as , have you ever done this before or do you realy have s**t for braines ? That many kids at the meal is an obviouse clue to serve them an alternate ! Mom was so right in saying she F***ed up ! When you hire a pro let the pro work or else do it yourself ! By the way , did you do the food for the other functions ? If you did I am sure it was outstanding !
Keep walking the walk dude . Doug.....................
The two most common things in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity !
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The two most common things in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity !
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post #12 of 22
Thats quite an experiance. I have learned over the years and would of seen that coming. Contracts for everything and since I am the pro they do it my way or its the highway. I have seen this happen so many times, graduates! sheesh!
At least there was some condolance haveing the mother admit that she was wrong, hope she has more than one daughter so her next wedding she can learn from her mistake.

Hogan
post #13 of 22
Any kid that would eat this deserves a medal of honor!

The Menu:
Liver Pate,
Smoked Salmon
Maryland crabcakes
Nutty chicken balls
Peppered pork tenderloin
Cold Pea soup
Aspargus with roasted portabello mushrooms
salmon with tarragon beurre blanc.
post #14 of 22
Would make a great one episode sitcom with Joan Rivers as the shrieking amateur.:D
champagne for my bad friends
& bad pain for my cham friends
(Francis Bacon)
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champagne for my bad friends
& bad pain for my cham friends
(Francis Bacon)
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post #15 of 22
Mike,i think one episode would be just about bearable!
Joan Rivers shieking!That would make some people want to emigrate.:D
post #16 of 22
My kiddies are foodies, but they would be hard pressed to eat anything on that menu... with the exception of the Nutty chicken balls, only because they have such a funny name!

Invention, my dear friends, is ninety-three percent perspiration, six percent electricity, four percent evaporation, and two percent butterscotch ripple

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Invention, my dear friends, is ninety-three percent perspiration, six percent electricity, four percent evaporation, and two percent butterscotch ripple

My Author Page

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post #17 of 22
that soundl like quite a nightmare. i do like joan rivers for the crazy woman. i work in a hotel so obviously our crack team of sales people wiil agree to having an event with a guest chef or event promoter who has their own dishes they need served. my rule , and they know this , i will do these peoples work. they are completely unorganized, unprofesional people. most of these people are local star chefs (old chefs that dont really work anymore and just promote themselves while others cook the food) or you have some young buck who has never even placed a food order before and shows up with half the goods he needs. i am very cautious in another chefs kitchen- remember this is their territory. one specific example, , and we will call him chef phill,,,to protect the ignorant. this famous local chef at the time was hired by the wildlife and fisheries folks to promote the trapping and consumption of nutria.(yes it is as awful as it sounds)b this was a high profile reception/ sit down dinner. he was to speak, and serve his "famous" nutria gumbo. he had it make at a local soup factory to his specs, and placed in soup boil bags. the man walked into our kitchen and starting barking out orders at all of us, he told me to put his soup in the tilt kettle with water and boil it. so of course i promptly ignore his querry and go to the other side of the kitchen. min before the party goes off he shows up out of nowhere and asks where the gumbo is--- cooler 11 phil.
after he threw a tantrum he started placing bags in the kettle wich is ice cold and filling it with water,, aftoer they boil for a while he realizes all of the bags have sprung leaks and all of his precious gumbo was spilling out into the water.. to make it short as he was serving"his"gumbo to the people in line they would look at it and set it down on the next buffet table. i watched with great delight as about fifty people in a row set their gumbo down in disgust . our famous chef stormed out of the room with aobut 65o people left to eat, and was found sulking in our concierge lounge. can our chef use your kitchen____no...
post #18 of 22
Gotta love it. I've got a really good idea of who your discribing.
Doesn't his school supply interns to schlep and heat? The factory he creates his meals out of had bagged soups, creoles, gumbos, etc coming out of it for years.
One of the best Sunday Brunches I've ever had was at a Plantation under his auspices.....
Too bad.
When I line up guest chefs our local guys cook from their recipes or make their own. We did have Ann Cooper and her pastry chef come in and do a great dinner a few years ago at Cardwell's....
we had a specified corner to prep out of and they came prepared with ice chests full of shtuff.
See it's usually the other way around. When I get asked to demo and talk I insist on bringing my own shtuff, cus the guy on the other end will substitute products or not have what I need.
Plus I'm always working with local ingrediants not easily accessed.

Though I got a crazy start for market this week...(gotta be out by 5:30am and brought the fingerlings, chanterelles, tarragon, salt&Pepper, olive oil ....left the skillet....bummed one from a restaurant on the street and shared the shrooms and taters with him. I think as a whole we respect each other's kitchen and ask for help when we need it. Rarely been turned down and always chip in when asked....never know when pay back will come around.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #19 of 22

wrong chef

the chef you speak of is john folse,, not the same i assure you. my brother and i both worked for jonn mike for arround 6 years total and myself for about a year. although he is not my favorite person , he is still a pretty good chef and working for him trained me to be prepared like a boyscout on speed. you may be speaking of white oak plantation, that is the property i worked at, very nice place.
post #20 of 22
soussweets ..... I reckon that you punctured the precious bags of gumbo with a fork prior to warming.... maybee not , but I would have,, or added way too much chilli & frazzled 650 mouths ..heehee.
Shadenfreund indeed.

chow
champagne for my bad friends
& bad pain for my cham friends
(Francis Bacon)
Reply
champagne for my bad friends
& bad pain for my cham friends
(Francis Bacon)
Reply
post #21 of 22
Sounds like true horror story..................When I ran a country club I would never let that happen. When they argued (which they always did) I simply explained that it was against company policy as if they were to get hurt( chef or no chef), we were open for legal reprisals. This seem to work pretty well. Nonetheless, sounds like a true nightmare!!
post #22 of 22

Outside Chefs

Hey Scott,

don't forget the Indian Chefs!

We cater a lot of Middle Eastern weddings and their chef thinks he owns the **** place. He was asking for spices, fryer oil, and had our servers doing prep and traying food. He showed up with one helper for something like 400 people. No equipment, no utensils, no chafers, no NUTHIN!

I hate when the hotel puts us in spots like that.Touchef.com
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