Chef Simeon Hall Jr.
Selecting a Caterer in "The Vid"!
Beyeh I know, the uncertainty of these days makes planning ahead seem pointless to a huge extent. However, with the holidays just around da corner, and with catering and caterers in high demand, now is the time to plan your holiday events. In fact, I was prompted to author this piece, based on me just having to explain to a very supportive client that I was booked already for the holidays and new year.
Let's assume for argument's sake that we will be allowed to have gatherings in a controlled fashion. Politics and who's vaccinated or not aside, this will mean that gatherings will be smaller and in my opinion more Grand. Themed, interactive food and beverage centric events will be the way to go. Holiday brunches will be eclipsed by HOT POT & RAMEN PARTIES, CHAMPAGNE & CANAPE RECEPTIONS AND ANYTHING QUIRKY AND AWE INSPIRING THAT 2 YEARS HAS CAUSED US TO IMAGINE.
We all want the picture perfect Bon Appetit magazine party that we cut out and pasted to our mood board this year.
5 NON TRADITIONAL HOLIDAY PARTIES FOR THIS YEAR.
A picnic. Picnics were, sorry are all the craze this year. Mobile, affordable and so diverse, throwing a picnic for 11 of your other friends may make this the perfect holiday event. There are several local companies that specialize in PICNIC DECOR.
Shabu-shabu. Listen you have YouTube and Google so if you don't know what this is, then check it out. You have no idea how much fun these are and frankly you may not need a trained chef to make this happen. Go to Abaco Asian Market for your supplies. Tell them I see you.
Cocktails and Canapes. Think Sex in the City. Think refined and elegant. Think avant garde, but first think about your dam guest list. Don't be throwing no hors d'oeuvres party for no meat and potata crowd. It will be disastrous and you will stress the chef out trying to turn canapes into pizza!
A cooking class. #sorrynotsorry but this is one of my favorite types of events for small crowds. But, more than waiting to eat the food you cooked, plan for your HOST CHEF to send out several amuse bouche throughout the night. Remember, Hitch the movie. Yeah that!
Bring yah own grill. Ever seen those restaurants where they bring you all sorts of meats and vegetables and you grill it yourself tableside? What if you did that for your holiday event. Get everyone to buy a cheap tabletop size grill and u provide, the staff, coal, prepared sauces, meats and vegetables. This could be major.
Remember this is all my humble opinion and you have to make these decisions based on your best research and go with who feels right to you. However, I believe that I am qualified to share my expertise after 27 years in the business. To that end, here are my 5 top tips for selecting the best caterer for your event.
It is your event. Go with the caterer that reminds you of that every step of the way. Not someone using your event just to build their resume and to boost their ego.
You get what you pay for. In catering this is literally 1000% true. I always tell my clients that catering is like bringing a restaurant to you. So if you pay 20.00 for a dish at your favourite spot, expect to pay 40.00 or more for that at home. Also some chefs will do what it takes to keep cost low so that you can meet your budget and others may not be willing to compromise brand standards. Again this is why you need to find the right caterer for you. When catering I use as much local, sustainability, responsibly grown and harvested ingredients as possible. That's EXPENSIVE!
As in any genre of work, not all chefs are created equal. An experienced 20 yrs. plus chef may not fit your profile. Maybe you would be better paired with a young hot up and coming chef with the tats, creativity and attitude to match. That is possible.
4. Please, please ensure you sign an agreement with your caterer that gives you some flexibility with COVID-19 restrictions. Covid is a part of our life now and besides the extra costs associated with it there is also an increase call for flexibility from us all.