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« Porchetta. It's All the Rage! | Main | last days of june/ beginnings of summer. »

28 June 2008

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Take everything you said and add: Kosher...in Montreal a caterer needs to be Kosher if he/she is going to be anywhere near a bar, bat mitzvah or wedding in a synagogue...and many outside a synagogue for those that are not religious but eat Kosher (especially since the rabbi and his family are always invited as an honour)....

Kosher not only has everything u said but includes a man who is paid highly to stand around and make sure not even a spoon touches the wrong food - he stands over each cook and chef and has the absolute right to deny any ingredient before it is opened...if :bad" happens the shit hits the fan: everything is thrown out: the entire food and product purchased, cleaning and 'kashering' of each and every utensil incl the plates etc begins in the kitchen and prep and cooking begins again....add to that the cost of a heavy fine as penalty and none of the extra cost of anything can be paseed on to the client....

one more thing: on Shabbat ovens cannot be started so they are opened Friday before sundown and are on all day Saturday before cooking begins at sundown (think summer)

and i am only telling u what i know: which is limited

I'm pretty sure I know what caterer you're talking about..on a street that begins with H. I had an interview there a couple of yrs ago for the pastry chef position..which I promptly had to pull out of due to scheduling conflicts. I still regret it.
I've worked in catering as well & knowing how to make desserts for 20 - 2000 people has come in handy. What with all the local benefits some restaurants do you have to know how to get 1100 pieces of whatever done in between making everything else for restaurant service. People who've only worked in restaurants have no idea what pressure is until they've worked at top of the line caterer. 250 covers tonight..so what..try 2500 & see how that is!

oh yes! I worked for a large hotel where we had different divisions with different goals withing the culinary team. Our banquet kitchen worked like the catering business you described. Super, super efficient. Then we had the fine dining restaurant where the food cost was probably 80% (well maybe not but about 45%). Crazy. So I learned incredible amounts of things from both. Banquet=efficiency, repetition=becoming fast, organization=leadership... and fine dining meant free mind, exploring, challenging taste buds... completely different worlds.

Everytime we interview prospective interns we remind them of how much more there is to learn than what they will learn on the line of a well-known restaurant. Not to take away from the many great chefs out there in free-standing gigs, but that's why so many contestants flop big-time on shows like Top Chef when they break out the 'catering challenge.' All of a sudden, it's like none of them know how to cook and it's the culinary special olympics.
I'm glad you are keeping busy and motivated, Shuna.
Ditto on the 'kosher' catering comment. Usually the best you can hope for is the rabbi will have a taste for the Maneschevitz (*sp) and back off a little.

I love catering. It's so much fun. When I was a teen I used to cater a local tennis tournament for two weeks every year. My customers back then told me I should go into it as a career. I am ashamed to admit that at the time I thought it was 'beneath me' to do such a thing as my parents had pushed me to be more academic than that and to try and get a degree instead (because they had never had the chance). I don't really have any regrets about what I have done in my life and the opportunities that have arisen for me out of the education I had, but still I love to do a bit of catering especially as a hobby. More recently I catered a film shoot which was nerve wracking but successful and cooked meals for a pregnant friend who was on bed rest. To me, catering is far more appealing than being a restaurant chef. I can understand why it appeals to anyone.

with the thousands of things that can go wrong, catering is most definitely not for a wuss. i think you've got to be a little bit insane to want to do catering. the most i ever did was about 3000 and the fewest was 2.

The chef that trusted be with my first pastry position opened his catering company a few years back and I fly to go help him when he needs staff. I like the rythm, the different sort of precision and atmosphere. Although I don't "know" you, I can't see you tied down to one particular place very long. I think this is something to be enjoyed.

Oooh. . congratulations on learning a new tool. I love those things, too. I started in catering and them moved on to restaurant work. . .I think it was a great foundation - especially if you're working some where that you can be proud of. I did production and was lead chef on-site. . .it was all at once exciting to be RIGHT there when people ate the food you cooked. . .and sort of scary, too. Good times!

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