Love to Cater
When planning an event many details go into the preparations. One of the most, if not the most, important element for any party is the food. Some may say the music or the people, but really it is all about the food.
As a chef, I have customers that call and want something that they scrolled across on Pinterest or saw at an event and wish for me to duplicate. This can be difficult because the photo they are looking at is inside and their party is outside, or it is fall in the photo was taken in the summer. The season and the time of the day will impact the heat that is projected onto the food.
The amount of time the food is going to be out for guest is the number one thing I consider when choosing what to put out on a tasting platter. There are cheeses that you would not want on a board that is going to be out for 2 or more hours; some melt others dry out. I love finding great cheeses that taste great and hold up well. My favorite is a Drunken Goat and Home Grown Market’s Pimiento Cheese. Charcuterie Boards have made a significant impact on party platters with their sustainability.
The demographics of the party will determine what is out for the party too. The old, young, adventurous palate, meat, and potatoes kind of people? Often the age group of the party determines seating and table set up. If the party has limited seating, it is not ideal for serving foods that require a plate and a fork. It is difficult to balance your drink and eat at the same time. If there are Tall Boys (the small tall tables you stand at), your guest can set down their drink while they eat. This setup makes it not so difficult to eat off a plate with a fork. Many occasions I have seen (mostly couples) do team eating; one holds both drinks while the other eats and feeds the one holding the drinks. To eliminate this issue, keep in mind foods that do not require utensils or items that are only one bite.
Lastly, the occasion will contribute to what you are placing on your buffet or passing around to your guest if the event is low key…keep the food low key. I know you are saying, duh…. but most people try and “show off” or go overboard. Keep things simple. Sometimes, this will be better than going over the top. Of course, weddings fall into a separate category all their own!
Side Note- Also sauces and dips…..no one wants to use a squirt bottle that has air holes in them….they go to squeeze it onto their plate and it either squirts out and splashes back on you or a piece of onion or parsley gets stuck at the top blows off causing the contents to pour onto you, the table and the floor. So now a guest’s clothes are stained and you have to clean up the mess.
I have a list of questions I always ask the customer when they inquire about catering
When is the party? Not the date or day (this is important too when booking, however it does not determine the types of food)
When? Means time of day, is this a morning, brunch, lunch, early afternoon, late afternoon, evening or night?
Where will the event be held? Inside/outside? In a home/public location? Seating and Tables?
How long will the food be out?
What is the age group for the majority of guest?
What is the occasion? Birthday/Wedding/Shower/Date Night? Fancy/Casual?