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Freelancing/ Catering

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone,  I'm wondering what are the steps that I should take so I can start catering for any event.  Either to get paid or freelancing.  This is just a way for me to get some money in for school, and also to start getting my name out there.  

post #2 of 17
Thread Starter 

Also I was thinking of starting my own Home Bakery also, and deliver the products that are close for me to travel too.  What can I do also on this end?

post #3 of 17

I may be wrong, and am only a beginning culinary student myself, but to my understanding any kitchen in which food will be prepared for the public (even if you're catering) must meet certain industry standards, as well as be inspected by the health department before your business "opens".

 

Anyone care to correct me or elaborate?

post #4 of 17

Contact your local health department, STAT!

 

According to the 2009 Food Code, which has been adopted by many, if not most, states, unless you are preparing food for your own consumption or are cooking for someone in their own home, you MUST be doing so in an inspected, licensed, commercial facility.

 

From personal experience, I KNOW that is the case in California, where I work as both a "personal chef" as well as a chef/owner of a restaurant.

 

Further, even IF you cold get the health department to agree, zoning regulations and fire codes in California as well as business licensing regulations will make commercial cooking in a residence effectively impossible.

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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post #5 of 17

There you go. It seems like alot of people get this romantic idea of catering out of their kitchen, but unless you're doing it for family and friends, which, it sounds like is still illegal if you're getting paid with anything but hugs and kisses, it's not happening.

 

I speak from experience, because I too had this romantic idea.

post #6 of 17

You know, I was just talking to my girlfriend about this dilemma, and we both came to the conclusion that bringing a great dish or two to a family and friends gathering, and leaving a card next to it (of course, not asking for payment) could be a good way to promote your services as a chef.

 

I know it's not what you were hoping to do. But it is a way to "get your name out there".

post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thanks! I'll look into what my city hall has for this stuff.  Most of this is mostly going to be friends and family, at first.  They always pay me, not just in hugs and kisses. ha ha, since they all know of my financial problems.  If it comes out to me having to rent out a place, which will suck at 1st because I'm flat broke, and don't come from a wealthy family like many, that just mean's I'm going have to look for a 3rd job to make things happen.  I'm already working on getting my supplies needed.  Which I'm super happy about!  New Toys to cook with. ha ha  Even if all this is under the table,  is there still a way??? 

post #8 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marilynn Melissa Ramirez View Post

... is there still a way??? 

Sure! Go ahead and "do it", no problem until someone "turns you in" or "someone gets sick"

 

Personally, I wouldn't even attempt it without:

  • Liability insurance, probably, oh, $500/year, or about $50/month (Ins Co. wants to see Bus. License and the Food Safety Manager certification probably helps on the rate.)
  • Business license, generally nominal, may trigger a fire inspection as well as health dept inspection (no problem if you ONLY cook in the client's kitchen!)
  • Food Safety Manager certification, NRFSP, ServSafe, or equivalent
  • Sales Tax Number (in California, the BOE plays MEAN!)
     

You may be the cleanest, safest, most responsible person in the world and know exactly what you're doing and how to do it, but unless one or more government agencies SAY you are doing it correctly, you are not.

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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post #9 of 17

Not trying to ssound mean or anything, but I "got rid" of two under-the-table "caterers" who were constantly under bidding me on functions. 

 

Almost like taking candy from a baby, really.  They'd carpet bomb the area with business cards, problem was, they didn't have a business license, or a  inspected place to work out of.

 

In addition to what Pete writes, you will also need a contract form.  Before you get any equipment, get a decent contract written up by a lawyer that tells your client your terms and payment schedule.  You will need this. 

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by foodpump View Post

Not trying to ssound mean or anything, but I "got rid" of two under-the-table "caterers" who were constantly under bidding me on functions....

Yup, I have the following on speed dial:

  • Health Inspector
  • Business license offices
  • Code Enforcement

 

A few phone calls and the problem(s) are resolved.

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thanks guys!  Do I still need to do health inspection if I'm going to be doing the catering at the peoples home???  

post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marilynn Melissa Ramirez View Post

Thanks guys!  Do I still need to do health inspection if I'm going to be doing the catering at the peoples home???  

Nope, the client's home is exempt.

 

As a "point of interest", I do not believe there is ANY residential kitchen that can pass a commercial inspection. To start with, it would have to have:

  • A minimum of seven sinks, three for warewashing  (wash, rinse, sanitize), one floor sink to drain the warewashing sinks, a hand washing sink, a floor sink to drain the hand washing sink, and a mop sink.
  • ALL appliances must be NSF certified, especially refrigerator(s) and freezer(s)
  • All counters and work surfaces need to be seamless and, most likely, stainless steel or something similar that can be santized
  • NO access to residential facilities
  • NO pets
  • All lights must be shielded or explosion-proof
  • Impervious and seamless floor
  • Impervious wall coverings
  • Adequate ventilation system (hood(s)) and fire suppression (ANSUL)
  • Restricted access for non-kitchen staff
  • Access to restroom facilities
  • and the list goes on, and  on, and on....

 

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 

well wow! that's a long list. ha ha...well if I do more catering at a persons home, do I still need a business license?  Can I go to city hall to acquire one.  Obviously I'm clueless when it comes to this stuff.

post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 

And its especially hard since I just lost my aunt to Brain Cancer, and she was really excited about teaching me all of this in the summer, sadly now I'm just going to have to ask my teachers and people who have lots of experience in doing this, since she past on just a couple of days ago.  Plus i also need to know this stuff incase I decide to take over her restaurant in Vegas, until then I'm here in California to get my degrees before I move out there with my other family.

post #15 of 17

Get in touch with Candy Wallace, Executive Director, at:

 

American Personal & Private Chef Association
4572 Delaware Street
San Diego, CA 92116
800-644-8389
619-294-2436
info@personalchef.com

 

and listen to what she says!

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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post #16 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thanks PeteMcCracken!

 

Will email her asap!  Really appreciate it! =D

post #17 of 17

Concentrate on all you can learn at school first. WORK FOR SOMEONE ELSE next.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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