Post # 1
I just accepted this catering gig that my neighbor hired me for. It’s for a wedding with a predominantly Colombian family and I’m not sure what to prepare. I’m totally unfamiliar with their native cuisine and I don’t know of any restricted food ingredients that they might have. To add fuel to the fire, my neighbor told me that the Colombian women in her family are really critical, especially when it comes to food and cooking. Now I feel really nervous. To anyone who has ever been in a similar situation, I need your help!
Post # 2
I don’t mean to be Captain Obvious here, but can you ask? Suggest a sit down where you discuss menu and options? Did they not tell you what they wanted on the menu when they hired you? I mean, surely they don’t expect you to just show up with piles of food without discussing it, right?
Post # 3
mrchef : Wouldn’t you be discussing this with your client? Unless you specifically lied to get the job by saying you can cook the cuisine then why would they assume you could cook that cuisine?
Post # 4
Why’d you take the job if you’re not even familiar with their cuisine?!
Post # 5
I’d say sit down with the client and see what they want! Hopefully you told them you aren’t overly familiar with Colombian food and they still opted to hire you, so they must have faith in your abilities. Why don’t you try some simple Colombian dishes like arroz con pollo or croquetas de pescado and invite them for a tasting. Take copious notes on their feedback, and you’ll know what they like.
Post # 6
kw617 : they just told me to come up with an “American” menu then they talked to me again and said they wanted a bit of traditional dishes on the mix. I still have to present my food plan to them
j_jaye : no I didn’t lie. I told them I had close to zero kowledge of their traditional dishes. They said it was fine. I’m still making the menu and we still have to discuss again.
mrsaime : they said they wanted an “American” menu at first. It was a recent change that they wanted some traditional food on the menu. Still finalizing the menu though for discussion
xiexie : That’s still bound to happen. I already told them I wasn’t familiar with their traditional dishes. They said it was fine since they were looking for an “American” menu but I don’t know what happened. They called and said it would be nice to have some Colombian food too. I could try making and have them taste it when we have our final discussion
Post # 7
mrchef : That’s tricky. I’d say just learn to do you few simple things well, rather than trying to wow them. Arroz con pollo is a definite crowd pleaser, and you could do empanadas, fried plantains and croquetas with the apps.
Post # 8
I would just ask them – what dishes are you looking for and do you have any family recipes? If some of their family members are hyper-critical, then I bet you they would absolutely love to be asked for their expertise and a recipe for you to use.
Post # 9
Go eat at a columbian restaurant if possible, study the menu, try a few dishes. Go to library or book store and browse/study Colombian cookbooks, take one or two home. For crowd sourcing Chowhound would be a better outlet. Saveur is usually a good source for ethnic food/recipes. There’s probably several blogs dedicated to columbian home cooking if you just google.
Post # 10
Marrying into a Colombian family here. The women are going to be hyper critical, especially if they are older. I’m just convinced it’s a thing in Latin families (my aunts always have comments – even when things are fine).
But for food suggestions it depends on the occasion. Staples are bendeja paisa (rice, beans, chicharron, avocado, grounded meat and egg), sancocho, or mondongo. Coconut rice, patacones, pandebonos are good side/appetizer options.
For dessert I highly recommend making something with arequipe – essentially Colombia’s Dulce de leche. It’s amazing and really easy to make.
Post # 11
I would present them with the American menu, and then talk to them about what traditional Colombian dishes they would like to see on the menu. You can ask them how their family traditionally prepares those dishes so that you can properly honor their food culture. Just have a conversation about their food, if they have any recipes, etc.