I had recently been contacted by a client, who was referred by a past catering client. I am a contract private chef, and rarley do catering anymore, except for REALLY GOOD PAST CLIENTS. The new client had actually remembered me from a party she had gone to that I had done, and asked her friend/myfriend for my info. Since we had spoken and she had a party she wanted done for her Hubby, and only in 2 1/2 weeks away. So I cleared my schedule for the most part since she was a friend of a great client/friend. She wanted something for 12 people, wine paired with extraordinary wines from their home cellar. 4 courses paired with the selection of wines they had chosen. They wanted simple, but eclectic & personalized to their likes,the HIghest quality when it came to product, 2 hors d'oeuvres, insalata,appetizer, entree, & dessert. I infact had inquired a specialty cake maker to make me a cake of a chateau Margaux bottle as a show piece cake(which would have been a present from me to them...no charge) then the actual dessert was a triple mousse individualized that they had requested from Jean Jacques recipes, The client loved the idea, and didn't even know,and still doesn't know I was going to pay for the wine bottle cake. Now, I had written a menu, and they wanted not only a menu, but 5 choices in every category(so infact 5 menus). And a menu that went with the transition of wines they had chosen and they wanted it ASAP because of the time frame. I told them no longer than 2 days for the menu & under the gun I worked and worked on it and finished it within 21 hours of that conversation, and hired the waitstaff.
She received them menu, and said it looked AWESOME, she loved everything. Now it was in her boat to pick what it is they wanted. I made it a point when writing the menu, for whatever they chose in the category, that it would go not only with the wines, but would also coincide with the following courses....so that took some time to compute and figure out. Well she told me her choices would be made by Saturday, 3 days from the time they received my menus.
Well this morning, which is Monday(5 days not 3), I got an email from her. And here it is
I will be sending out an e-mail shortly including you, explaining that Max and I have to postpone the party.
I am very sorry for inconveniencing you and am happy to pay you for the time you spent to date helping to plan a menu etc…
His mom is back in the hospital (she has cancer) and we are both under a lot of stress and sadly, we just don’t know what to expect in the next few weeks with my mother in law, so we have put Max’s party plans on hold.
Again, I apologize and thank you SO MUCH for your time.
Infact the letter she had sent out to all her guests, she had emailed me on that list, and some of them had contacted me saying how disappointed they were under the circumstances.
Question is now......she knows my hourly rate, she has agreed to it, and has offered to pay me..I have atleast a full day(8hours)of writing this menu ...I have a heart/ but I do this for a living Do I charge her?