The Caterers Corner
Not really a caterer . . . Caterers Corner: Not really a caterer . . .
By Darkflower (Darkflower) on Thursday, March 07, 2002 - 12:25 am: Edit

Thanks for reading this message. I've read through the other conversations regarding catering, and found all the information interesting and enlightening, but I don't think the information I've read quite corresponds to my situation, so I thought I'd start a new conversation.

I am a cook (not a chef, because I have not attended a culinary institute) with about five years of professional cooking experience. After a recent dinner at the facility for which I work, I was asked by one of the guests about the possibility of catering two wedding-related events some months in the future. There will likely be about 50 guests at each event, a dinner for the men in the family and a luncheon for the women.

I am confident that I can prepare good food safely for the number of people invited. I will be using the kitchen at the facility where both events will be held for all preparation. However, I am not sure what kind of liscensing and/or insurance I need, given the fact that this is likely to be a one-time only job for me. I haven't considered actually starting a catering *business*. Do I still need the legalities? If so, which ones?

I will likely only have one other person working with me, if she agrees to do so. She has a culinary education and extensive catering experience, and mostly I want her with me for moral support and just for the benifit of her experience as well as the grunt work we'll do together, though I will be the one planning, shopping and such. Since she is the expert and I am, although a deep lover of food and of sharing it, a novice compared to her, should I pay her more than I pay myself? Is it fair to split the net 50/50?

Sorry if these questions seem redundant, and thank you for your input.

By Sam (Sam) on Thursday, March 07, 2002 - 07:52 pm: Edit

well, truly what you are talking about is catering, and without a food service permit, it is illegal, insurance is a safety net, but not at all required to be a caterer, but some venues require that caterers be licensed & insured to protect themselves from liability for the split, it seems fair to me, except you were the one approached, not her,,,and by the way a culinary degree does not a chef make.....hope this helps...sam sears, cec

By Darkflower (Darkflower) on Thursday, March 07, 2002 - 09:17 pm: Edit

Thanks, Sam!

I *do* want to do everything by the book if I can. I just didn't want to do something the law doesn't require for a one-time-only thing. So, I'll check in with the board of health and see whether or not I can get short-term insurance. I'll also see about getting a food service permit.

Thanks, also, for the tip about what "Chef" means. I *do* sometimes question the way this woman who will be helping me does things, and now I won't feel so bad about that. :) Still, she does seem to know how to do things quickly and cleanly, knows all the facts and figures and techniques that make me go "oooh . . . aahhh." Plus, she has really cool knives!

Anyway, I'm off topic. Thanks again!

By Mbw (Mbw) on Sunday, March 31, 2002 - 09:58 am: Edit

I seem to remember that as long as you are preparing ALL the food onsite you should be able to avoid any health dept hassles. Your real task is to be safe, and you sound parranoid about that. GOOD!!!


A flat rate of $250 for the event should be enough.

"Chef" means you are responsible NOT capable. I have not gone to school, or worked 15 hour days in the basements of Paris either, BUT when put to the task I am a chef. Sorry to all you "Real" chefs out there. he.. he.. he.. I know you are responsible AND capable.

By Darkflower (Darkflower) on Saturday, April 27, 2002 - 09:24 pm: Edit

Sounds good, Mbw. Thanks for the input!

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