Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A Caterer is Born

After almost a year of anticpation I finally had my first real Catering Gig! I have been working with "the Chef" for a few months but this is my first big event on my own.(100-125 guests) I have done smaller stuff like my daughters party and I helped with a Church members reception last year but this was all me start to finish. I was not really sure if I could pull it off but I DID!!!
About 40 hours of work, 4 burns ,1 cut and only a couple of serious moments of panic went into the day.I had been doing it in my head and on paper for about the past month.

Sweet chili chicken bites
Moo Shu Pork cups
Stuffed Mushrooms
Cheese ball /crackers
Stuffed Cucumbers
Veggie Tray
Fruit topiary and Tray
Cheese tray
Meatballs (provided by Kristie)
Chicken Salad/ Crossiants
On Wed morning when I got off work I did my first shopping trip at Sam's Club for the major part of the food. I purchased the meat and most of the Veggies leaving the fruits for the day before the wedding so that they would look their best.

Wed. evening I went to Walmart to pick up the things they did not have at Sam's. All in all I made 5 trips to grocery stores. A couple more than I had wanted to but it could have been worse.

Thu was roasting and pulling the chicken for Chicken Salad, cutting and wrapping chicken in bacon for the Sweet Chilli Chicken bites and cutting the pork for the Moo Shu Pork. I also made the dip and cheese balls.

Fri was the big cooking day! I premade all of the dishes so that on Sat it was just assembly and final cooking/heating. I also made the final shopping trip(s) for the fruit and other last minute items. Fri night I went to the Venue and sat up and decorated the buffet table. Fri was a VERY long day!!! This was good because I was so exhausted that I actually slept pretty good Fri night which I had worried that I would not be able to.

Sat morning I loaded everything up and got to the Venue around 830am. My friend Robin AKA Did you wash your hands came around 915 to help me with final prep and serving. When she showed up I was in kind of an overwhelmed don't know where to start state. But she jumped right in and before I knew it we had a rhythm going and were knocking it all out. There was a brief moment of panic around 12 when I did not think that we would get it all done but we kicked it into high gear and had everything on the buffet by 1:00. It turned out that the guests did not even start coming until almost 2 so we were on easy street!
Robin working her Magic!
We did a lot of hustling during the reception. I don't have all of the equipment (like replacement pans for chafing dishes ... not to mention the chafing dishes were borrowed too) so restock had to be done on the buffet line. I had placed the 4 chafing dishes on the ends of the table which was a good move (though not intentional) so we were able to get to them without too much trouble.

Problems we had were surprisingly few. We did run out of Mushrooms and chicken salad but there was plenty of other food to make up for that. The bride did provide meatballs which is probably a good thing. I think we might have run out of more things had she not. All of those things were lessons learned that I will take to my next event and none were even close to being catastrophic.

There are several people I need to thank for helping to contribute to the success of this event. First Robert and Kristie for trusting me and giving me the opportunity to do it. To Cheryl, Lisa and Keith for loaning me equipment that I could not have afforded to buy (and kept me from having to rent it) I also want to thank Keith for allowing me to work with him and teaching me so much. Without my time with him this would not have been anything close to what it was. (Sorry, Yes I did steal your Moo shu idea ..but not your recipe) To all my friends and family who had to listen to my constant obsession about it. Most of all I want to thank Robin. Her help and skills and talent were priceless to the final product!


Mark said...

Man, all that food looks good. Only one thing missing...your picture is no where to be found! What's up with that!! You shuld be soooo proud...I am for you! Know that you have given me your site, I will be back!!

Shelly said...