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So, you are starting out in Catering.....

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Why catering? What makes it more attractive to you than working in a restaurant or personal cheffing...

Are you thinking it's in addition to working somewhere else?

If you are a restaurantuer and took on catering (either opening an onsite party room or picking up offsite events) obviously you saw $$$ or you wouldn't add it to your place. How is it working out?
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #2 of 17
Well, seeing no one else has replied as of yet I will.

I know I can't speak for all caterers, the reason on why I want to do catering for events instead of working in restaurants is (as said, can't speak for all so this perhaps isn't entirely accurate) I just generally enjoy catering for events rarther than restaurants. I generally prefer the atmosphere when doing event catering and I prefer to think and plan ahead rarther than do so with one-dish-per-person in a sense like with restaurants. I also enjoy travelling so travelling around and event catering appeals to me. I also ain't entirely one to enjoy the adrenalin rush and can make mistakes due to that, though, i'll overcome that with more experience and until I get that experience i'll work my way up until I feel confident doing event catering for that music group I like or that wedding event.

ps money isn't of huge concern for me, though it's an advantage.
pps - sorry if parts of that don't make sense to the reader.
"Heaven sends us good meat, but the Devil sends us cooks.” - David Garrick (1717-1779).
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"Heaven sends us good meat, but the Devil sends us cooks.” - David Garrick (1717-1779).
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post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 
absolutely it makes sense. I would not want to put in the hours that restaurant work generally demands. I don't want to make the same food day in day out. I do enjoy working a line occasionally, but don't always play nice with front of the house....drama, is annoying.
Most of my food is made without recipes.....a pretty darn signficant part of it.

Timing is different for events, you touched on that.....everyone gets the same food. It's all generated from a menu you create. You are in control of timing (within reason)....the wedding ran late, guests are still straggling in....

I like having time to visit farms, shop at markets, post of cheftalk. Some days it's cool having a breakfast, starting at 4am getting off at 9 and that be the extent of the day.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #4 of 17
I agree with the restaurant part, though what i've heard I wouldn't want to put in those hours though saying that, i've thought of working as a trainee chef and work up in a hotel rarther than restaurant so I don't entirely know how it's different. i'm also fortunately quite young so my body could take it (or rarther, take it well for now). Plus as you touched on, I enjoy working the line too, just not going out front of house, i ain't one for acting either.

If those hours you said are quite accurate and the norm then I could get used to that too as I generally am a morning person too, and can't complain about going to farms, going to the market (where I live it's the busiest 'market city' in the country:) and going on cheftalk is good, I can use it to find out various 'cheffing' and catering related things, and it's interesting to know what's happening food wise across the pond.
"Heaven sends us good meat, but the Devil sends us cooks.” - David Garrick (1717-1779).
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"Heaven sends us good meat, but the Devil sends us cooks.” - David Garrick (1717-1779).
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post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 
there are numerous threads on the difference between hotel and restaurant cooks.....huge difference, size matters, union, etc........most of those threads are in the student section or the professional chef section. Consider checking the search for info on the differences. Let me know how that goes for you.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #6 of 17
I worked in restaurants in high school, college, and grad school. I cooked in the military to keep out of the swamps and jungle. When I realized I could cater one, two, or three gigs a week and always make a very comfortable income, I became a caterer. But...make that...
but,
I have always been very selective in the events I have elected to cater.
post #7 of 17
Having many years experience working as a chef in restaurants and now
running the kitchen of an assisted living, I used to turn away catering jobs
often. I was very comfortable in my kitchen and feared going off-site. What
if I forget something, what if equipment breaks, the transport vehicle breaks
down. All the what ifs & worrying. Never the less, in Jan. 08, my wife & I started to cater on a part time basis. I have a prettty good set-up. My employer allows me to
use the facility/equipment(it is not in use from 7p to 7a). For the time being we are
keeping it a small/part time operation, not giving up the full time/full benifit job, especially in this economy. I am definately begining to lighten up on the fears, being
very organized & list oriented. I am enjoying the gigs, events & festivals. Meeting interesting poeple, learning a lot & making a little money. All in all I can begin to
see the advantages of catering.
post #8 of 17
Easiest part of the Catering business is the cooking. The planning, logistics. staffing, shipping, timing,packing, cleanup is the hard part. It is rewarding in terms of Ego and Dollars. Every gig is different, every client is different. To a caterer, there is no such thing as we cant do that, we figure it out and do it. No electric, no water, no gas, the truck breaks down we get it done one way or another. I was lucky to be in New York in the hay- day of on premise as well as off premise volume catering in the 60s. At the end of the day and after feeding 6 weddings in the day time 3 Bar mitzvahs at night and 3 more even larger weddings Total daily average 1800 people > I used to sit down at the end of the night and say to myself "How did we do all of this"'? We did it and it was a blast. EJB
CHEFED
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post #9 of 17
After spending some time on this board reading the interesting things that people are saying, I have to admit that I feel like a lone soul in here. Catering means something different to me at this time in my life, and the answer to your question actually has nothing to do with cooking, nor my dying love for food. Neither of which my friends would ever accuse me of possessing by the way. Before I answer this, it is good for anyone reading this to know that I have ZERO experience working in ANY food related industry....And I could very easily ruin your pancakes in the morning....and not be able to explain exactly why... (OK, I'm not really that bad...but you get my point)

So why catering?

To me, catering has the potential to fulfill everything that I find rewarding. For the past 5+ years I have been planning and organizing live music events as a hobby/past-time. Nothing crazy big, and nothing with super famous artists, but shows that would draw about 150 people on average. The goal was never really to make money, the goal was to spend months of planning, organizing, negotiating, questioning, freaking out, second guessing myself, and ultimately ....succeeding. I loved the fact that I was providing a service to 150+ people, and that the majority of them have no idea how much time, effort and planning went into what they consider to be their "night out to watch a cool band"

Something about planning, organizing, working under pressure, and making people happy is so rewarding to me. However, the music industry itself isn't something I can put my heart into for the rest of my life. So a few months back, I started looking for an industry that could fulfill my personal definitions of happiness and success, but be a little less ego driven than the music industry. That is where Catering came up. Catering seems to be made up of very similar ingredients {excuse the presumably overused pun} to events production.

So as it stands now, I am doing research on the industry to see if it is something I want to pursue. I've been searching for job openings for caterers, yet have found only jobs for chefs or managers.

The more I read about it, the more I am intrigued and excited to begin the path towards owning a catering company......

Sorry for the book,
Ryan
post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 
event planning is very similar to catering....interesting thoughts Ainz, welcome.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #11 of 17

Fun

Catering alows me to be more creative. There is no fixed menu and the planning/working with the customer is fun. My catering biz exsisted before my current job. Over 10 years ago I was hired as the Director of our local Food Bank. 90% of my catering,now is to the benifit of the Food Bank. I love both jobs and have combined the 2 in a way that allows me to have all the fun of food with little or no risk. I truly live a dream helping those that need and serving to those that want great food.

Cheers fstfrdy :crazy:
Kill a cow...Light a fire.....The Magic begins
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Kill a cow...Light a fire.....The Magic begins
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post #12 of 17
This has been fun reading! I'm toying with the idea of selling goodies from my kitchen, perhaps farmers market, or to other people. Is it possible to sell without a certified kitchen certification from my state to private peeps. I really, really enjoy making baked goods, one of my blessings was to attend a 3 day French pastry class in Chicago. And now am looking on line for a stackable mousse frame to make big beautiful pastries. Should I not consider the large expense of a stackable frame and just perfect cookies bars, tortes and small mousse cakes for sell ? Thank you for all your thoughts.
post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 
welcome all....
didee, this thread may be of help to you in deciding what/how to sell baked goods.....http://www.cheftalk.com/forums/profe...rs-market.html
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #14 of 17

farmers market

Thank you Shroomgirl,
I found the writings very informative and have observed the rentals of commercial kitchens, however does that imply that I may not use my kitchen that has 2 stainless steel bowls and/or add an extra lg pan for that 3 sink idea? I've been told that if I sell to stores (cookies,and such) I have to have a certified kitchen, but to farmers market or to private individuals not necessary is this true? Thank you.
post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 
varies from place to place, we're dealing with the variences of health depts right now.....
The best thing to do is look up regulations from the Health Dept in your area....then call them and ask.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #16 of 17
Better, you than me, Ed! With a routine as strenuous as that, I'd have been either dead or in a mental institution.
post #17 of 17
Luckily it was seasonal. Bad part I never saw my daughter grow up. Good part I was able to retire in my Fourties, but it took its toll. :smiles:
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