Crazy bizarre jobs.....

Joined Aug 11, 2000
I helped out a friend with a catering job at his restaurant (under a big tent) a couple of weeks ago....frying in the rain...a dbl counter top deep fryer was set up under an umbrella outside in the rain for a NO splatters but I was so wet sparks from the fire could not have caught anything I was wearing on fire.

Last week I was called on to cook crab legs over propane on a balcony for a Biz dinner (55).....the #$%@$# thing would not stay the chef moved it into an office and I boiled crab in someone's office over a propane burner....stink, oh my I wonder how it smells today. NOT MY DECISION.

So any bizarro catering gigs out there? I can't be the only looney tune in the bunch.
Joined Mar 4, 2000
I used to work with this guy who was a pyromaniac. He would fill a cabinet rack with sternos, to the point where the sheetpans had holes in them by the end of the night. He onced positioned the rack right by someone's garage door, and the flames were licking the client's house. Luckilly, the party wasn't that memorable.

Another fun story. A chef I worked with once forgot to pack salad dressing for a 500 party. We realized this, maybe 15 minutes before plate-out. We made our own out of anything we could find: pan drippings, juice, ...I don't even remember what else.

Just last week, I did a brunch. I was making omelettes with another chef, and the pans just barely fit on the portable stovetop. They kept sliding off. Well, my friend's pan slid right off, onto the client's lovely oriental rug--right in front of the client!! Then the dog came and started licking the liquid egg off the floor!! :eek:
Joined Aug 11, 2000
Now I remember why I have insurence....
Momo, I'm off to cook for duo attys, PC....I'm talking tonight at ACF about the fundraiser so....this made my day start off with a laugh, thanks.
Joined Jul 18, 2002
We were once catering a sit down for 200 and the dining room was the men's gym- the kitchen was the men's locker room at Stamford University. The locker room was supposed to close early but someone forgot to post signs on one of the doors.

Needless to say the waiters were very distracted by the gym patrons who were still coming out of the showers and changing whilst the food was supposed to be going out....
Joined Nov 11, 2000
Hey there!

I had a 250 person cater about 6 years ago, we were doing three meals for the day, all of which were supposed to be cooked indoors on propane burners, the fire marshall refused the permit (last minute), the client was handling this end.

The week prior on my way to meet with the client and look over the facility my catering rig was totalled, I was hauled of in an ambulance (couldn't feel my right arm), I recovered but had to use a u-haul.

It was the February that Salem, Oregon had a fairly large storm, wind blowing rain every which way, long story short we had a staff member hold sheet pans over all of us cooking, outside in the rain, couldn't use the u-haul it was full of food for the three meals, it was sort of the "beverly hillbillys" of catering.

Luckiliy everything worked wonderfully and none of the guests had a clue as to how much work went into their meals!;)

The moral of the story "That which does not kill us only proves to make us stronger" plus it's a good memory maker!

Joined Jul 18, 2002
Just finished a big gala celebration for a church up in Harlem. We set up the mobile kitchen in a very old graveyard. That was a pretty bizarre space to be cooking and plattering. Though it was a beautiful day and nice to be outdoors. City living gets tough sometimes.

btw the party went well - lots of ghosts and goblins (just kidding)
Joined Nov 25, 2002
I worked at a yoga retreat on Maui a couple of winters ago as the live on the property housekeeper. It was on 55 acres in the up country. Beautiful! Different groups would get the whole place for a set price then the group promoters would set theirs. Their usual stay was a week. This also included food from an organic garden on the property. Mostly vegetarian and vegan with fish on occasion according to their wishes and price range.

This one group was really far out. They show up and get settled the first couple of days to prepare for a fast for 3 days which included no talking. We served juices thats it. Since I was the housekeeper I got around and noticed the group leaders sneaking off to Makawao Steakhouse. The third day of the fast I was frying bacon in my bungalo for a BLT with the windows open feeling bad for these people and here it was their vacation. When the fast was finally over and they arrived for their big feast which included mahi mahi they all show up NAKED! LOL! Cracked me up! They did other weird stuff, too. If you ever want to really know whats going on ask the housekeeper.
Joined Feb 8, 2001
We did our 1st strange wedding last spring. I wish I had checked out the sight before accepting the job. The people were great and fun to work with but the conditions were unbelievable. It was at their home in the middle of nowhere, 150 guests. 200 showed up. No portapotties! They all had to come thru the kitchen to use the 1 1/2 bathrooms available. I still cannot believ they had no sewer problems, at least by the time I had left. The kitchen was about 12 by 8 w/ an island. A small electric stove and an extra out in the garage. The house smelled horribly of animal urine and the cats had full access of the house. Yappy dogs were to kept in the bedroom, but of course the kids had full access of the house also and the dogs never stayed in the room.
Kids were playing hide and seek.
We tried to steer her away to a different serving area beacause of the tree roots coming up thru the ground, but they had their heart set on this area. I could go on and on...and oh this just amazes me...they had left their trampoline up...when we left there were kids and adults both jumping at once..
Well we didn't run out of food, no one was injured while we were there, and hopefully no pet hairs in the food.
There was also not an inch of refrigerator space available...Amen... That was my challenge-learning experience.
Joined Mar 28, 2003
I guess that I'm just a lucky guy, but I've been on the good side of war stories.
Case 1: Get set up to serve lunch to the incomming officers at the K of C. Notice window that looks into window of building acroos a narrow alley. Mid way thru lunch, the gymnasts in that building start to practice. I love my job.
Case 2: we drive all across town, hauling a ton of cooking equipment to do a BBQ/birthday party. When we get there, we find a built- in grill set-up, with refrigeration and running water, that would be the envy of a Food Network show. Inside, where I'm doing canapes, there are, not one, but two, built in convection ovens and about a million dollars worth of restaurant quality equipment. We didn't even need to unpack the truck.
Oh, just in case you were wondering, I checked the fridge and pantry. Inventory: dozen eggs, bottled water,8 kinds of bottled DIET dressing, Blue Box macaroni and OOdles o' noodles.


Staff member
Joined Jun 11, 2001
Isn't that just amazing? I go into houses like this often. I bet the kitchen was spotless. There are tons of people who have absolutely awesome kitchens which are barely used. Thousands of dollars worth of copper pans hanging from the rack and every one of them has a spit shine on them.

Joined Aug 11, 2000
One of my newest PC clients has a PRO viking 6 burner/griddle/grill with 2 convection ovens, warming drawer, water ON THE STOVE!!!!, 3 sinks including a pot/prep sink, 2 fridges in the kitchen and a gorgeous outdoor set up too.....oh yeah the built in wood fired pizza oven in the corner of the kitchen is pretty cool....I've not used it yet but pet it as I walk by.
Interestingly most of my clients have maxed out kitchens and say if I need anything pick it up....can't remember the last time I needed to.
Joined Jul 18, 2002
that reminds me of a party we catered in California in the 80's - we had to walk over the river and through the woods to get to the pool house - a three bedroom two bath cabana with full professional kitchen. They didn't have curtains on the windows as there were no nearby neigbors who could look in...

Oh how the other half a percent lives....

It is nice however when you are catering in these situations to have all the amenities and sometimes they even have cool stuff like Plugura butter or pre pared demi glace in the frig or freezer.

One time I had a client who didn't have parmesan cheese but had a spare watermelon in his sub zero, the watermelon we had slated for the fruit peacock fell and broke. Go figure what people keep in their frigs (which magazine was it that showed a different chef each month and what is in their frig?)

Most customers who hire us don't really cook at home except to entertain and then they hire us...
Joined Apr 13, 2003
if all else fails,,, grab the sterno. a catering i was involved in several years ago had filet mignon. the steaks were suposed to be grill marked at the main kitchen then brought to the offsite. when they showed up three hours before the party with no marks we had no choice but to load up a hot box with sterno and get the bottom rack red hot. i think we marked somewhere arround three hundred steaks in that **** thing. the party went off without a hitch,,, and to this day the story comes up every time the old pirate crew gets together for a night on the town.
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