Caterers 101: Four Things Your Caterer Wishes You Knew

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“Food is symbolic of love when words are inadequate” –Alan D. Wolfelt

We might think their jobs are easy enough and straightforward, but the truth is, a caterer’s job is quite complex. Whether they may be providing the canapes for your daughter’s eighteenth soiree or providing all the courses to your elegant wedding, catering for an event is not as simple as creating a menu and cooking whatever is selected for the menu. The truth is being in your caterer’s shoes can be quite an overwhelming and daunting experience. In fact, there is a myriad of things your caterer would want you to know, so that the next time you are thinking of hiring one, you would have a better understanding of what goes on behind the kitchen doors.

Additionally, it would not hurt to know a few of some insider caterer’s secrets that might be helpful in aiding you make better decisions for the catering of the party you would be hosting next. So, before you start scouring for potential catering services in Bacoor, Cavite or elsewhere, here are some of the things you might want to know:

1.) Guests will drink more than usual

Guests tend to indulge themselves more at parties by drinking in excess and far more than used to. More often than not, this is because celebratory libations are free and of course, parties have an aura of euphoria to it which would prompt guests to drink. As this is the case, estimating the amount of alcohol needed for a particular event can present a challenge, but it is not impossible. Keep in mind that as your guests tend to imbibe more drinks than usual, so if you want them to indulge their drinking desires, buy more than necessary, or you can alternatively avail of cheaper packages.

2.) There is no need to create a menu around special diets

Some of your guests might be vegan, and there might be a few who might be allergic to gluten, this does not mean however that you have to bend over your back and design an entire menu to suit those preferences. Your caterer can always provide a dish or two for the guests who have particular or strict diets. Remember, you are feeding every single one of your guests—not only a fraction of them with specific diets.

3.) The kitchen at your site matters

One of the major snags a caterer would hit when it comes to catering for an event is a small kitchen—or worse the lack of one. Even if the food for your party is prepared off-site, a kitchen would still be ideal in order to reheat the food or keep it warm. In any case, having your caterers operate in a site sans a kitchen would result in creamy food being congealed and food losing its crisp. While this is not the case all the time (as you can always plan your menu with food that does not necessarily need to be kept warm), having a kitchen on the site would still be a good contingency plan.

4.) Pinterest is not always realistic

Some brides-to-be would come up to their caterers and ask them to imitate a particular food or cake they found off Pinterest and expect their caterers to mimic every detail. While Pinterest is a good website to inspire ideas for an event, not everything on the website is necessarily realistic. Apart from relying on the skills of your caterer, you also have your own budget to keep in mind. More often than not, the praise-worthy posts you have seen on Pinterest were probably created by food stylists who have employed innumerable inedible things (from shaving cream to glue) just to make food look the way it was advertised.

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Wedding Catering 101: Ten Tips in Curbing Your Expenses on Food for the Big Day!

A majority of your expenses will be solely focused on the wedding catering during your big day. And your disbursements will largely depend on how many guests you have invited to your memorable affair. If you are planning to host a rather lavish dinner complete with a food and wine buffet–some cocktails on the side with hors d oeuvres, chances are you are going to be charged rather exorbitantly but regardless of whether you are turning your wedding dinner into a grand event or not, wedding catering fees are going to be relatively pricey.
However, there are ways to curb these needless expenses, so before you contact your caterer take a look at this article and look for ways on how to have a great catered event while staying within budget.

1.) The presentation is key. People are very visual creatures and more often than not, they feast and eat with their eyes first, so zero your focus on the presentation of your food. Invest on unique plates instead of intricate serving trays as this will add a twist to your food presentation without having to foot a hefty catering bill.

2.) Being on a budget does not necessarily connote being miserly and cheap. This is your big day after all. For appetizers, instead of scrimping on the total costs by using commonplace cocktail food such as carrot sticks and cucumbers, opt for broccoli flowers and artichoke hearts cut in various unique shapes, sizes, and other creative choices. Give it a tasteful twist by adding an array of flavored dipping sauces.

3.) When it comes to rather expensive cocktail food and appetizers, opt to hand pass them rather than setting them out in a buffet for guests to freely serve themselves. In this way, guests are least likely to overindulge and have less wastage as well with the leftover food. Additionally, it helps you account for the cocktail food by serving only a portion per guest.

4.) Have themed stations at a buffet such as an Asian station or a Mexican station. The ingredients for a simple noodle dish are affordable, and Mexican fajitas and nachos are relatively cheap. It would look like you have invested a lot while you are still sticking to a budget.

5.) Save carving stations for the main course. Carving stations during cocktail hour (such as ham, pork loins, etc.) are impractical as it leaves guests feeling heavy and full making them skip out on the main meal and doubling your cost and causing food wastage as well.

6.) Serve seafood based soups in small mini cups. Clam chowders, lobster bisques or any flavors of any variety could be served at weddings for a minimal price if you served them in cups rather than have them sitting at a buffet station for guests to serve themselves.

7.) Skip the cheese platter from your cocktail menu. Hors d’ oeuvres are typically served before the main course and while guests wait for the entourage to arrive but cheese platters are often typical and predictable. Not to mention they are quite pricey, and no one is likely to pay them any attention. Skip this and serve little tea sandwiches instead.

8.) Ask your caterer beforehand which seafood are likely to be in season during your wedding day. In this way, you are likely to save on the cost as there is an abundance of supply in your choice of seafood.

9.) Consider serving family-styled dishes and forgo a buffet if budget is tight. In this way, each table gets served equal portions without having to worry about food going to waste which will help you and your wallet.

10.) For your wedding toast, consider skipping the champagne. Guests can similarly toast to you with whatever drinks they have in hand (and similarly allows those too young to drink to toast to you as well). Alternatively, you can look for cheaper alternatives in ciders and sparkling wines instead.

 

Serving a wedding feast does not have to be expensive if you know how to cut costs. Follow some of these tips to enjoy a sumptuous wedding meal without having to break the bank and leaving your guests satiated as well.

Do’s And Don’ts Of Catering For A Wedding

Catering for a wedding is quite different from ordinary or regular catering. First of all, it is almost always more formal and second, it is almost always more detail-oriented and meticulous. Hence, you will need to be well prepared when catering for a wedding. If you want to be successful in catering for a wedding, here are some do’s and don’ts that you might want to pay close attention to.

  • Do prepare or plan for extra guests. Don’t get caught running out of food. You see, despite the seat allotment that couples, nowadays, place on the invitations, a lot of the guests still bring extra companions. The more common companions include children, nannies, or caretakers (which are really quite easy to find excuses for). You cannot help it. Weddings are festive occasions and you know what they say about numbers – the more, the merrier! So do not get caught running out of food for guests. It is a major turn off that can potentially damage your reputation. For every 100, many catering services allot portions for about 10 extra people. Just make sure it is clear with the couple that you are charging for excess guests so you don’t end up treating people for free.

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  • Do dress up for the occasion. Don’t come underdressed or overdressed. Weddings are most of the time formal, so dress up in something that suits the occasion. Make sure that the quezon city catering crew looks very presentable and not out of place. Otherwise, the guests will feel awkward and a bit reluctant to approach the crew for assistance. This makes the whole dining experience quite uneasy.art-SHE-wedding-20130725135202890699-620x349
  • Do some familiarization with the couple and their families. Don’t guess who’s who. The crew will be, for a brief period of time, in contact with the couple and the couple’s special guests. Make sure they know who the couples are (by names and faces) as well as their families (parents, siblings, and even some of the sponsors).  This will make it easy for the people to address them and assist them with the food and drinks. This adds a more personalized touch to the service.
  • Do coordinate closely with the couple and run every decision through them. Don’t decide when to pack up and leave on your own. Leftover food can be a sensitive issue if not handled correctly. Make sure you discuss with the couple what to do with the extra food or when packing up should be done. Do not allow the crew to take food home, unless of course it comes with the explicit permission from the couple.

Wedding Reception Timeline: DOs and DONTs In Having A Customized Reception Schedule

Proper scheduling is tremendously important in planning a wedding party. It can make or break the whole experience after all. Late arrival of the catering services crew, insufficient lighting or backdrop for the photographer, each of these can spell major disaster to the newlyweds if not carefully thought about. Hence, here is a quick guideline on the basic DOs and DONTs in having a customized reception schedule.

DO

  • Remember that it’s your ballgame. You can go old-fashioned and stick to classics or choose to modify the order of events based on your liking, no one should dare challenge you to do otherwise. This is your special day so there are no strict rules to follow.
  • Hire an organizer who knows her stuff and can envision your desires the way you want it. Working on the timeline is not an easy task. It has to be memorable enough to create a long lasting impact not just for the couple but to all witnesses as well. She should be able to visualize the entire program as if you did all the arrangement yourself. She should be someone who understands your priorities well, can collaborate with diverse personalities, has great organization and time management skills, and most of all, superlative in the creative department.
  • Think about the theme. Is it going to be held during morning, mid-day or evening? What segments are most applicable? Should you be hosting a tug of war game between the bridesmaid and the groomsmen to keep the crowd from getting sleepy? Would it be beach-inspired? Will they get to enjoy the waters and do a little snorkeling afterwards?

DONTs.

  • Disregard the traditional layout. You may opt to pick a different lineup but that doesn’t mean you have to totally scratch out what’s been working in the past. Use them as a reference when you’re mapping your timetable. How long will the festivity last? If you put in new ideas, would the group appreciate it or find it time-consuming? Which parts will stay or go? Do you slot the toast-making in the beginning or divide them in middle?
  • Forget to maintain an open mind when it comes to the venue. What’s the most ideal place to hold the affair? If you’re getting married in Antipolo and you’d want to book the catering event in Quezon City, you’d most likely encounter several obstacles along the way – traffic, extremely long waiting time and annoyed guests. How would you deal with this then?
  • Overlook the cultural background and values in designing your checklist. Others fail to consider this thus they lose the opportunity to think outside the box. For instance, in some parts of the Philippines, the new husband and wife dance while their loved ones pin bills on their clothes. On this note, if you’re the coordinator, you may need a moment to orient everybody about the routine and at the same time, think of ways to make it fun and lively and not give an impression that the wedded pair is only after the money. Should you sched the dance in the earlier portion where people have a revolution ongoing inside their stomachs?

Best Foods to Serve At a Kids Party

Every parent knows how it feels to plan a birthday party for their child and be faced with coming up with a menu that appeal to both children and adults. Although it is still better if you can plan a menu that has everything for everyone of all ages, remember that your kid’s birthday party is for him and his friends. Hence, the priority is for the kids to enjoy the food at your party.

If you are planning on getting catering services for your kids party, ask whether you can have two separate menus for your guests – one for adults and one for kids. Usually, if the company offering catering services has a menu for kids, these are at a lower rate than the adult rate. But whether you are preparing the food yourself or having the party catered, below are some food suggestions that will surely appeal to your kid guests.

  • Vegetable finger foods. What parent would not be happy watching their kids eat healthy food? Cut up small pieces of carrots, tomatoes, cucumber, celery, and broccoli. The key in making these vegetable finger foods appealing to kids is to serve various yummy dips. Some good dips are yogurt dip, peanut butter dip, chocolate dip, and cheese dip.

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  • Mac and cheese. This very simple yet healthy pasta dish is a favorite among kids. For maximum health rating, use whole wheat macaroni, low calorie and low sodium butter, skim milk, and cheddar cheese. Do not be surprised if even your adult guests ask for some.

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  • Pizza. Another blockbuster for kids, pizza is very easy to eat. You can even make it more fun by offering your kiddie guests to make their own pizza. Set up a pizza-making table where the kids can make their own pizza with supervision from an adult. Some good ingredients you can offer are cheese, pineapple, ham, pepperoni, bell peppers, tuna, olives, chicken pieces, and onions, among others.

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  • Fruit sticks. Another healthy option is to serve fruit sticks. Cut up small pieces of apples, oranges, grapes, pears, peaches, mangoes, bananas, and any other fruit available. Put small pieces of these fruits on a stick to make a fruit kebab. You can get a big watermelon and stick all the kebabs on it, so that you have a colorful display on your table. No kid can resist not getting one of these healthy treats.

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