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Preparing for out of town stage work

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 
Being the talent is so very different than being the director. How do you select recipes that reflect you and ask the right questions to get the support you need to have them happen the way you want?

This past week I experienced an event with lots of variables that were stressful to the max....most of you who have known me for years know that cooking without normal facilities is common....when you are in the middle of a field or the street there is NO electricity, usually no running water....ANYTHING you need to make you need to bring in.....

Support Staff....what's necessary? How do you figure time when staff is pulled at the last minute? How do you manuver around prep sites, event sites, other caterers that have needs for limited resources? How to work with directors familiar with restaurants but not off-site catering?
Timing....timing for off-site catering is so very crutial.....

So, those of you that have done out of city events....either been the talent or the support, been the director/stage manager....bless us with words of wisdom.
cooking with all your senses.....
cooking with all your senses.....
post #2 of 2
Thread Starter 
well I'll start from the stage manager/talent director's point of view.

If you are the talent:
1) Prior to selecting a recipe find out
a) what the facilities are.....what equipment is available
b) who is your audience....are you making a dish they will be able to make at home or are you doing FLASH
c) timing....how much do you have on stage, how much is there between talent
d) budget, if this is a fundraising event and most are, there is probably a food budget....if you are serving samples to the crowd truffles, foie, Kobe beef are probably not good ingredients to have.
e) For goodness sakes, if you can pull a recipe you've used in the past that is edited USE IT. Hunting down recipes and threatening to show up at your backdoor with a pen and tablet in hand is not my idea of a good time, but inevitable each year it happens......it's tough I know to decide what to make, but I'll work you through that process......after that give me the recipe ASAP
f) Give me your undivided attention prior to you going on stage....really important, the guys that haven't, have not had as smooth sailing on stage.
I'm your life line.....your backup.....that 30 minutes is probably the most important time to go over shtuff with me. You are there for the demo, I'm there to make you look good. If a sponsor, groupie, significant other or who have you....comes up to chat while we are going over the demo/equipment/what questions to ask/etc...it isn't as important as our conversation....they can wait, you can't.
g) if you feel up to it, go out with the locals.....we want to show off our city!

H)Energy on stage is all important, engage the audience....do recipes that are fun or have stories that are funny.....Fr. Dom pulls people up on stage and has stories for his recipes. Not that I recommend pulling the audience up on stage, but it works for him. Yeast breads do not work on a stage in Jan in STL.....been there, it's not pretty.

i) If you had a great experience let the hiring powers know how well the stage staff worked for you......

j)Some chefs have mailed in ice containers of their prep, easy for me!!! Others have gotten to know how anal I am and have me do the prep.....which is part of my job. One chef spent the day before the event prepping in my kitchen....was ok, not optimal.

Ok. Flip side.

Talent....as the talent I want to know
a) can I bring my own assitant, I just got burned badly.....not only did I not have my own person but the promised staff was non-existant-or got jerked out from under me at the last minute.

b) what equipment is on site.....I have butane burners that crank to 16,000BTU....most don't

c) how do I manuver through the city, site, etc

d) I am less interested in networking, wining and dining than making sure the event will be smoothly run. Some coordinators have not worked through
specific logistics...yet are concerned about group dinners.....um, the setup, prep area etc....way more important than dining out.....

Logistics should be worked out LONG before the day of......

Competitions....maybe some of you are more familiar with how to setup for events or competitions....share advice please!
cooking with all your senses.....
cooking with all your senses.....
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