Caterer being resistant to a menu item I want…

posted 2 years ago in Logistics
Post # 2
1230 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

BurlapnLace:  1. Filet doesn’t class up a wedding anymore than a giant cake. 2. Filet is temperamental in it’s preparation and can easily go south if done poorly. 3. Always defer to the experts when it comes to something like this.

i went to a wedding once where there was filet. It was a shame because it was overcooked and had the flavor and consistency of leather. Perhaps the caterer is trying to caution you that so much depends on execution and they simply can’t do it to your vision. Better that than serving an over cooked 20$ steak.

Post # 3
422 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

He probably fears that he won’t be able to pull it off well. Especially is it continues to cook in a warmer and gets tough and leathery as your guests go through the buffet line. It doesn’t seem worth the added expense to me. You’re already having 3 options. A 4th seems a bit overkill, to me, honestly. I think the options you have sound great. Better to have fewer supper yummy things than more things which may be mediocre or worse!


On that end, I really really really wanted fried chicken at our backyard Kentucky wedding and my caterer was a bit resistant, but it was the one thing I was staunch on and she gave in and I think it will be EXCELLENT. More weddings should have fried chicken IMO. haha

Post # 4
5793 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

If the caterer could make that menu item up to his standards, consistently, and make a profit, they’d be happy to sell it to you. since they won’t sell it to you, either they don’t have the setup to do it properly or they’d have to price it too high. In either case, they’re the professionals and I wouldn’t push on this one. You’ll either pay a fortune, or you’ll have filet that is not properly cooked. 

Cooking BBQ brisket and holding it for catering service is waaaaay different thank cooking filet mignon. Not even close.

Sometimes you need to accept No as an answer.

Post # 6
1437 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2014

BurlapnLace: I don’t eat meat, but I know a lot about preparing it. I can’t imagine filet being even remotely good when served buffet-style. There are just way too many variables at play and odds are it would be over-cooked and dry. I think you should listen to your caterer on this one.

Post # 8
2696 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

I think your caterer is being quite responsible by respectfully telling you this is something he won’t do. He knows his limits and the limits of the protien you’re requesting (as disappointing as it is!)

Cooking something like that buffet style would likely end up with the meat being cold and tough. Is there a different cut that you could go with? We had BBQ striploin and it was fabulous (for about 60 people).

You could flat out ask him his reasoning on why he won’t do it, if you’re really curious.

Post # 9
2419 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

Sometimes you have to strike a happy medium between “You work for me so jump to it” and “OK, whatever you say”. It occurs to me that this is one of those occasions and in fact, I’d err in favour of your caterer’s expertise. I’m sure there are very sound reasons why he doesn’t think that filet is going to work well served in this style. Some of them already outlined by pps.

Sure, you can insist on him doing as you instruct but presumably, you’ve paid him to cater for your wedding because he knows more about catering for lots of people than you do as a consumer of his catering. Filet alone does not make for a statement of class. However, filet served in a style that is far from ideal makes for bad food. And reflects poorly on you as hosts and your caterer.

Post # 11
679 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

My FI runs his family’s restaurant and I just asked him about serving steak buffet style. He said he would not do it. As others have mentioned steak is not easy to serve on a buffet because it will constantly cook as its sitting in the serving tray.

He agrees with serving it as an appetizer where people will eat it quickly.

The caterers reputation is also at stake here so if he says no you have to respect that. 

Post # 12
5793 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

BurlapnLace:  be careful not to alienate your caterer. He has a menu for a reason: this is what they want to sell because they can deliver it consistently, make the customer happy, and turn a reasonable profit. When you second-guess why he will not provide your off-menu request, you risk being tagged as the whiny, high-maintenance customer which is not good in the long run. You have already been given the most likely reasons he is not goimg to do filet for you. Perhaps in the interest of the business relationship you should not press further.

Post # 13
3113 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

BurlapnLace:  If he’s super laid back and accomodating about everything else, but THIS is the thing he won’t budge on, don’t you think that maybe there is some merit to that? He’s not saying no for the hell of it. He obviously knows much more about it and is try to caution you against spending more money on a terrible mistake. And honestly, having a filet is not going to really add any “class” especially surrounded by pulled pork and other “fixins.” I think the menu you already have sounds delicious, and trying to add in a different food item to “class” up your event seems kind of pointless. 

Post # 14
4750 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

At my wedding, I also wanted filet. While we had a seated dinner (dinner time, seating chart and seat for everyone) we did do a buffet with various stations. I got vetoed all around for wanting filet as one of our options, and instead we went with a prime rib carving station. The reason being, like everyone else mentioned, filet is one of those beefs that everyone eats very differently. It’s silly to take such a good piece of meat, and then have it overcooked because it’s sitting around in chafing dishes waiting to be served.

Friends of ours got married two week before us, and my DH was the best man. They had a similar setup to us, but served filet. Literally every single person at the table was complaining about theirs – half the people complained it was overcooked for their liking, and the other half complained that it was undercooked (all filet were cooked the same – med to med/well). It’s good in theory, but something that’s pretty hard for the average caterer to pull off.

Post # 7
389 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2014 - Norton Country Club

I’m guessing he knows his equipment, skills, and staff well enough to think he might disappoint you with this dish.  As PPs have said, Filet mignon is a very tempermental product- it doesn’t do well in warmers, it toughens quickly, the cost can be prohibitive, and a sauced option may very well be seen as a poor attempt to mask poor quality.  Maybe he believes that the passed option will give the meat the time to rest as it needs, but not turn into shoe leather texture? 

Frankly, I’d ask him!  “I appreciate the suggestion- have you had experience with filet mignon in a buffet setting that didn’t work well?  I’m curious because I was hoping to make this happen, but I understand you have more experience in this arena.”  Although that means you will have to defer to him a little, which seems to be a cause for your question above.  I think he gave you a decent compromise for a potentially labor-intensive request that might fall short of your expectations otherwise. 

Leave a comment

Sent weekly. You may unsubscribe at any time.

Find Amazing Vendors