An expatriate of New Orleans – and professional chef – who has lived in Los Angeles since her childhood, blogs about the journey from New Orleans to Los Angeles back to New Orleans, and points along the way.

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Life is too short to eat bad food!

By on Nov 3, 2008, 9:16 am in Celebrations, Food and Drink, Pet Peeves and Rants, Reflections on the Catering Life, Shameless Self Promotion- Sharing Successes, Small Pleasures Catering | 0 comments

A few months back I received an e-mail from someone who had attended many parties which I had I catered before she moved across the country. She opened with this line:

“I was thinking about you the other day, and thought I’d drop you a line, after 2 years of being away… I was at a small reception with the worst food I’ve ever had, and wished that you had been the one to cater this event…I was at a conference and everything served was pre-packaged stuff that you just pulled out of the freezer and re-heated…Yuck!”  

I have always been very proud of the quality of food I serve at events. I believe in using quality ingredients, and buy much of my produce at local farmer’s markets. I don’t serve frozen pre-made hors d’oeuvre or desserts, two areas where many caterers choose to trim costs. I make all my own salad dressings and sauces. Making these items in house can be labor intensive, and buying seasonal and vine and field ripened locally grown produce can sometimes be more expensive.

It can be frustrating to get calls from prospective clients who don’t seem to understand that quality food always costs more. I’m sorry to say, that on many more than one occasion I have had prospects contact me saying they had a budget of $15-$20 a person for their wedding or other special event. Now, I believe these people must surely understand that you may be able to go to Denny’s and get a full meal for $15 to $20 per person, but for a fine dining experience, it’s going to cost a whole lot more than that. If you were taking your guests to a restaurant and picking up the bill, plus tip, and if the restaurant were closing its doors to accommodate only your party for that evening, surely you would expect to pay more.

So perhaps it’s helpful to think of catering in this way.  The caterer is picking up a restaurant and bringing it to your home or venue for the evening, and creating a dining experience hopefully way beyond the experience of dining at Denny’s.

I recently had someone say to me, “no one is coming to my wedding just for the food.” Well, that’s probably true, but I am sure we have all had the experience of attending a wedding where the food was exceptionally good – or exceptionally bad- that people talked about for months, maybe even years to come. People do remember. Your guests may have traveled a great distance, bought you a gift, and spent their time, effort and money to join you in celebrating on your special day So don’t you owe it to them – and yourself – to serve great food?

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