Can I ask a professional caterer to let me do some of the dishes?

Discussion in 'Professional Catering' started by ShellBell, Mar 5, 2018.

  1. ShellBell

    ShellBell

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    I'm new to this forum, so first off I apologize if I've posted in the wrong place.

    I'm planning a wedding for next spring and trying to figure out if we can afford a "real venue" and/or pull-off an at home wedding for about 110. I'm a foodie and a pretty accomplished cook with experience doing parties in the 60+ range. So some of the sourcing (grass feed, farmers market) matters to me and I know I need help, but the budget precludes the going rate for a full-service event in LA, or at least the fancy ones.

    Can I ask a caterer to do some of the dishes and the service and set up; and I supplement it with some of my own? Will this insult a professional? Put their insurance at risk?

    One of the things I'm considering is ordering heritage pork tenderloins and preparing them sous vide two days before. I'd ask the Chef/catering to finish them off on my flattop (double griddle on a Wolf range). And have them provide sides and and maybe some addl. appetizers or desserts.

    I'd like to have a seafood station for before dinner. A local fish store provides shrimp, sushi, ceviche, etc. platters. I can figure out quantities and storage and transport issues. But need help with attractive buffet set-up, etc.

    So the bottom line question is can I ask someone to work with me in this way?
     
  2. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    I would never finish up an item that someone else had started because I couldn't guarantee that proper servsafe and HACCP procedures had been followed.
     
    hrmn likes this.
  3. chefbillyb

    chefbillyb

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    Like Chefflayne, I would also never have my food intertwine with someone else's food. It's kind of all or nothing at all. If you want some of it catered then do what you can yourself and have a caterer make food that can be a picked up. You can then maybe find a short order restaurant grill cook to do some of your onsite cooking/grilling or finishing. You can basically act as your own caterer. One hundred and ten people isn't a hole lot of people to cater. You should be able to figure out the logistics and coordinate everything you need......ChefBillyB
     
  4. sgmchef

    sgmchef

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    Well ShellBell,

    As a young caterer I fell victim to a situation you are describing. I vowed to never, ever do that again. Absolute nightmare...

    A true professional Caterer will not entrust food safety to a customer, way too important an issue to their reputation.
    Since the caterer is not involved with source, purchase, transportation or storage of the food, because of safety issues don't expect them to even touch what you buy.
    Having food items split between you, only confuses potential customers, so another reason to not do your project.

    If you think through what a Professional Caterer might have concerns about, you may get some more out of the box ideas.

    Maybe an event planner could help with the pieces of your puzzle. Staff, equipment, set up, etc. or hire a caterer to do everything except the food.

    The one small thing in your favor is that wedding cakes aren't part of every caterers offerings. So they do allow other food! But baked sweets are not the same as seafood!

    Since you have some time, think about doing all the food and just coordinate the equipment and staffing to complete your vision.

    Good luck!
     
  5. ShellBell

    ShellBell

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    Thanks Chefs for insight and advice! I'll continue to noodle on if I can do it, but it's an important day so I may just need to hand it to the professionals.
     
  6. meezenplaz

    meezenplaz

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    Unclear: This isnt your OWN wedding, is it?
     
  7. ShellBell

    ShellBell

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    No, my son's, but we will be hosting for the most part.