Tell me your thoughts on this … (caterer)

posted 3 years ago in Food
Post # 3
Hostess
8680 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

$100 in labor seems SUPER cheap, I would be skeptical about that.

Post # 5
Member
1779 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

@208bride:  Is she insured or licensed or anything? I’m not certain how that works but libaility-wise it may be worth checking to. I know to even have an outside baker do our wedding cake they had to be both licensed and insured etc.

Post # 6
Hostess
8680 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

@springbride23:  Agree with this.

Does your venue require licensed caters?

I know many of them I looked at required them to have a lisence.

 

Post # 8
Member
2174 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

It sounds too good to be true.  If you only spend $1000, you’re paying just under $7/pp for food and everything else.  For your wallet’s sake, I hope it’s legit, but it sounds WAY underpriced in all realms.

 

Post # 9
Member
6032 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

Sounds like way too many opportunities for something to go wrong, starting with the fact that she might not have a license to sell prepared food. In and of itself, that is really not the end of the world; your guests won’t be checking her license. But your venue might, or  she might get caught out due to another event and be unable to actually cater your event, like if the city fines her for operating without a license, and it might be too late to line someone else up.

I’d also be really concerned that an unlicensed caterer might not know or respect all the food sanitation practices, so if you do decide to go with her, quiz her very strictly on how she plans to prepare, hold and serve the food in keeping with sanitation laws. For example, food is only allowed to remain between 45*F- 140*F for 2 hours in many jurisdictions; that is the “temperature danger zone” and the range at which bacteria is most likely to grow and contaminate food. If she plans on making the food in advance and heating it up to serve, how does she plan to actually reheat it so that it spends as little time as possible at that dangerous temperature?

Really the whole thing would make me way too nervous that something is not going to turn out right, either the quality of the food or the sanitation of the food, or the overall execution. To me, this is not the way I’d choose to save money.

You may want to reach out to your local culinary arts school as they often have catering departments where student chefs work under the supervision of a professional chef-instructor.  You can often get top-quality food and professional service for very nice prices through the culinary schools.

Post # 10
Member
11379 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2012

@jenilynevette:  +1

 

@208bride:  has she considered the amount of time it will take to prep, set up, serve and clean up?  $100 for labour is really cheap.  i would be a bit concerned.  you get what you pay for.

Post # 11
Member
3735 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

@208bride:  It sounds pretty good. I guess it’ll depend on how much you trust them, others’ reviews of them and what the food tastes like. A great price won’t matter if they don’t show up .

Post # 12
Member
3570 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

This sounds too good to be true.  Where is she cooking all this food?  In her house? That’s a deal breaker for me.  Houses are not inspected by the state like restaurants and catering facilities are.  Her being a chef means she presumably knows how to cook.  That’s it.

Why on earth would anyone do ALL THAT WORK for $100? That’s insane and I don’t trust it.

Catering is expensive for a reason.  Not everyone who knows who to cook knows how to cater for an event. 

 

Post # 13
Member
1779 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

@208bride:  Yeah. For our venue it stated in the contract abou needing to use licensed catering and present the license in x amount of days before the event. Last week they sent me an amended contract adding the same clause for baked goods. I guess they’ve had some issues.

I would also check into the restuarant she works at and make sure it’s legit and she is an employee. Getting people sick wouldn’t be good – that is what I meant about liability. Is she having you sign a contract?

Post # 14
Member
5697 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

As a PP said I’d make sure there aren’t any rules at your venue, or in your state, about food handling and permits.

You COULD ask her if she’s done this before and if she has references. It’s definitely nice, and maybe she really is just looking for the experience, I mean that’s what you typically get off CL. But I would probably try to have a back up plan with a caterer you can cancel with just in case something goes awry.

I hate to say it but a lot of times, if something seem’s too good to be true it probably is. It’s all about your comfort level and listening to your gut. And I’d make sure you guys have a signed contract even though she’s not an official caterer with a business.

Post # 16
Member
6032 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

PS the license to sell prepared food is not anything that usually follows the chef; usually it is the restaurant or the catering company that gets the license. So the fact that she is a chef says nothing about her licensing. Also, cooking to-order in a restaurant as a chef is a very different ballgame than catering, especially where santiation is involved. Very few restaurant chefs have to concern themselves with holding food in the “temperature danger zone” because the food comes off the stove, onto the plate, and to the customer’s table in a matter of minutes. Preparing food that you know is going to be reheated or packaged and shipped off-site is a very different discipline.

(I also have an AA in culinary arts and i’ve worked both in a la carte service and full scale off-site catering and they are very different worlds)

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