In London, and Camden in particular, you will see an array of mobile caterers, and their dishes are often referred to as ‘street foods’. You will come across Thai noodles, fish and chips, burgers, kebabs and curries among other dishes, and it’s an ideal line of business to break into for a caterer.
If you can set up shop in a busy area, you hardly have to self-promote. People will smell your foods and come to you, but you can’t price your food to high, after all it is coming from the inside of a van, in a plastic container.
Many roadside caterers have made successful family businesses, and money is there to be made at special events, such as Christmas markets, craft fairs, and exhibitions. Take your niche to the streets if you fancy a different challenge, but remember you have to be able to produce a lot of quality food fast!
Catering can be rewarding at the best of times and very stressful at the worst of times, and you have to get that message across when you’re teaching new students.
What they need to know…
It’s not always glamorous, and you have to learn how to calm your nerves, stay organised and remain upbeat.
It’s important to learn early on the foods that you have a passion for, you can then create your own niche, making your product stand out from others. As a caterer, you need to be firm on your prices, but flexible and friendly, and there can be delays before food is served, so communication with the client is always key.
The most important aspects of catering are timing, taste and customer service, and if you can completely nail all three of these, then you’ll do very well, but to get to this stage, you need to put in a lot of time and effort.
Many couples celebrate their wedding day by organising a hog roast dinner, and this is a popular meal, especially during the spring and summer months.
A quality hog roast will often be served with rolls, seasoned vegetables and apple sauce, while the hog itself will guarantee platters and platters of succulent pork that only tastes better as the night goes on. A hog roast is a little bit different, and it’s still seen as a medieval kind of dinner, and it’s ideal if you’re planning a country theme rather than sophisticated wedding or event dinner.
It’s similar to a barbecue, but there’s something a little more special, eye-catching and quirky. Not every caterer can provide a hog roast, and it’s very much a specialist area, but there are many professionals to choose between, yet the most important aspect to consider is the quality of the meat.
Some people are absolute health freaks, meaning they want to know how much protein, fat, salt and sugar is included in a particular desert, while they’ll be counting the calories too. To make sure you’re prepared, we’re going to give you some ideas.
Peanut butter cookies
These look a bit like lumps of gooey chocolate. There’s oviously the sweetness of chocolate, a surprising protein rich peanut butter centre, and an overall fudge-like texture that perfectly blends the sweet with the savoury.
Crushed raspberry creams
This is simple to prepare; it’s basically crushed raspberries with crème fraîche and yogurt. You can decide on the layers, other flavours, and presentation, and if you stick with these three main ingredients, you’ll get a superb, summery, healthy pudding.
Rice pudding may be easy to make, but when you add nutmeg and lemon zest, you get a real nice freshness, whilst it should always be chilled for 2 hours before being served.
Party food should always be easy to pick up, not too messy, tasty and easy to make in bulk, and there are some quality Indian foods that are perfect for parties.
These are a fan favourite and you can make different fillings like chicken, lamb and vegetable, yet they shouldn’t be unbearably hot, just a little spicy.
Potato-Chutney Crisps (Sev-puri)
These delightful appetizers of sweet-and-sour and spicy chutney and potatoes on crackers or chips are a winning formula. You get the perfect flavour of savoury and sweet, while they’re perfect for sharing.
Cauliflower Panko Pakoras
To make these, you simply need to coat cauliflower in a light batter and breadcrumbs, then bake them until they’re nice and brown, while you can serve them with a cilantro and mint dip.
These are again easy to pick up, and they’re essentially spiced and deep fired onion, while Tikka Masala paste can be added to create a little heat.
An experienced events caterer will be able to make stunning dishes, but depending on the number of people attending , you may have to keep dishes simple. Simple food doesn’t have to be bland though, it just needs to be easier to make and good examples of relatively straightforward main course dishes includes:
- Pulled pork Buns
- Pasta Bakes
- Slow Roast Chicken Breasts
These kinds of dinners can be made in large quantities and they don’t require a lot of ‘touching up’. Obviously you have to make sure the food you’re serving is tasty and presentable, but you also need to make sure it’s hot and served quickly.
There’s a lot of pressure involved in events catering, and we spoke a little bit about this in the last post, but you can take off a little bit of that pressure by keeping things simple.
When you’re catering for a wedding you have to make sure every meal is perfected, and this can sometimes mean making hundreds of meals. Most weddings include a starter, a main and a desert, and there will be several dishes to choose between for each course. To make sure these get cooked on time, you have to prepare correctly and you need enough staff for the job.
Most wedding caterers can call on the services of experienced waiters and chefs, and it’s usually a case of ‘the more hands the better’. To make sure the pressure doesn’t get to you or a member of your team, make sure you have enough cooking equipment, ingredients and time, yet you should always be able to provide extra meals should there be any little accidents.
A wedding is a couple’s most important day, and it’s remembered by hundreds of guests, so it’s a perfect opportunity to make a good impression; you may then get a few referral clients. It’s definitely a big job, and it needs hard work, dedication and attention to detail, so make sure you prepare every detail to perfection.
In the world of business, meetings and events can drag on for long periods of time. If you’ve got guests with you that you want to impress, providing great hospitality is very important, and may allow your discussions to occur in a more friendly setting.
One of the biggest benefits for catering services is how they can be fit to purpose very easily. In a business setting, you may want to provide some high quality food which is easy to consume and still delicious. This sets it apart from relying on a nearby store or small cafeteria at your place of business, and ensures a positive impression on those benefiting from that extra touch.
Another option you have with catering is with providing a menu to those involved. This allows them to choose which food they’d like for the event, which means they are more likely to end up with what they want.