Chef Forum banner

My First Gig

1809 Views 11 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  marmalady
Hey everyone - I got my first professional catering gig!! It will be for 75 people, buffet style with a Caribbean theme. When I was asked if I could do it, I said, "Sure" without hesitation. As soon as I put a sample hors d'oeuvre menu together and faxed it off I began to get real nervous. As soon as the client returned her selections and I needed to price out the menu for her I realized that it would be more than what she originally told me she wanted to spend. Even though this was a personal friend and my first event, my anal business sense told me NOT to do this for breakeven just for the experience. So I asked for an increase and got it. All my nervousness has now turned to excitement. :bounce: Wish me luck!!

Any of you have an interesting first?
1 - 4 of 12 Posts

I love your advice!!! I am THE LIST QUEEN!!! Every morning for the last 10 years I've made a list. I love lists!! So since I'm starting out fresh I've noticed that the most time-consuming task is the pricing-aaaaaghhh. It's utterly boring and frustrating but necessary. I can see though, that my next job with this menu will benefit from the time spent on pricing this one. I have one question though, I've made some rough drafts of my "presentation" of the buffet on paper - like my centerpiece and garnishes etc. Do you normally prepare all of that ahead of time as well or just wait and see what inspires you onsite when you set the buffet? And speaking of garnishes (okay, question 2)- since this is a tropical theme and I'll use sliced/cut fruit as a garnish, can that be salvaged at all? Like into smoothies the next day? Or am I being ridiculous and should just toss it.?:confused: I hate throwing away good food.

As far as price goes - my background is as an analyst for a major financial firm. If a job doesn't make a profit it doesn't make much business sense. I don't care how much passion you have for it. It turns out that when I went to deliver to contract today, they paid "in full" and asked if I could cater a few other events. Can you see me grinning? :p

I guess this is how it all starts???
See less See more
I did tell you this was my First gig, right? So it's buffet style and I'm the server. I'm doing everything on this one. I realize I'm going to be running around but again, since the budget was not so reasonable, i put it all into the food and left the serving up to me, I'm not that worried about it. I'll just have to convince my hubby to give me a foot and back massage afterwards. How many people can you reasonably handle in a buffet?

BTW, what are some creative items you've used to "raise" your platters either under or over a tablecloth?
Yes, I'm sooooo impressed Peachcreek!! I had my first event last Friday and it was wonderful. I can say that I had all my Ps in a row. I did end up hiring one other person. Marm, you scared me so I thought I'd do it just for safety. I wouldn't want my first event looking unprofessional. At the last minute I made some business cards and ALL were gone by the end of the evening. I have two more parties, one this Friday and one the following Thursday. Things I've learned:

1. First and foremost, the 6 Ps rule!
2. Don't combined too many high-maintenance hodos, have a balance so you're not exhausted and up late in the kitchen.
3. Presentation is key - I received so many compliments on my arrangement of the table and the props I used. (fortunately the next two parties have the same theme)
4. Always bring business cards (& don't give any prices during the evening)
5. If using a new recipe, test them out a week in advance to perfect technique, flavor, timing and how to preserve for transporting (i.e. had to change from coconut shrimp to crab balls rolled in panko and coconut two days prior because my shrimp would have been soggy by the time it was served. They absolutely loved the crab balls.)
6. Make lists and label platters for each hodo to be served.
7. Bring 2x as many plates and napkins (I ran out of the nice plastic plates, even washed a few)
8. Shop at antique/flea markets for platters. today I just found 3 of the coolest large round wooden cheese boxes for $10 each. I'll do my cheese display on them this Friday.
9. This definately takes stamina that your body may not be used to if working a desk job previously.
10. Don't make any comments about how much time or energy it took when guests remark on your work, just take your compliments gracefully.

Well, I can say that this week I'm not nearly as anxious as I was this time last week. I seem to be on a roll and my husband keeps wondering where I got all this energy. It's been awesome and I'm so glad I took the risk to pursue my passion!:D
See less See more
1 - 4 of 12 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.