Monday, August 20, 2007
The Catering Life
My boss and I swung by for some more terrific Sichuanese after work the other night. We usually don't have time to go out after catering big weddings but this time we were just doing the rare dinner party for twelve. We had pork with pickled veg and hot and spicy prawns, both fantastic dishes but I still love the cumin lamb the best.
The party for twelve was a fun gig, we served perfect Filet mignon with a red wine and mushroom demi glace based sauce. We served this with garlic mash potatoes and fancy little veggie bundles. My boss is into the classical French fare and really knows how to make this stuff taste great. We usually do more Americanized and International type food for the weddings though, because it's what the customers ask for.
Even though I catered a half dozen weddings when I owned the Mr E Cafe (cheesy name, right?) I never really had the catering business figured out; how to price things, the timing of champagne toasts and what not. Most wedding caterers aren't really chefs, but my boss is, and I've been super impressed with how good the food we manage to produce for large crowds is. It's inherently difficult to cook in unfamiliar kitchens (often home kitchens) and get the food out hot, on time, and cooked properly. I think we do it with great aplomb and I have been enjoying the job immensely. It's been nice to be a small part of so many peoples big day!
The next night we did a plated wedding (we plated everything rather than setting up a buffet) which is an added challenge. To plate so much food fast and get it to the tables quickly is always tough. We figure out a way to set up an assembly line and then just blast it out, "table five; three salmon, two chicken, two beef...let's go people!" The sun was setting on the water when we got out, there was a picturesque ferry boat tugging along in the distance, pretty fantastic sight after several hours in the kitchen. We headed back to unload the van and cleanup, ending an eleven hour shift of constantly being on my toes, lifting heavy loads, and snacking on delicious foods. Not an easy job but satisfying when we see everyone smiling and thanking us for a great meal! Then we wake up and do it again...