I Lived a Night mare!...and survived!

Discussion in 'Professional Catering' started by the saucy cajun, May 6, 2002.

  1. the saucy cajun

    the saucy cajun

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    As caterers, we all share the same nightmares. My least favorite is the help not showing up. Last Sat. I had an outdoor wedding for 180. Buffet with four hot apps, 4 cold, turkey carving station, ham carving station, jambalaya cooked on site & served out of the cast iron pot, strawberries & chocolate fondue, brides cake, grooms cake, punch (26 gallons!)& coffee. All silver service. Eighteen guest tables, linen tablecloths, china, etc. A number of last years wedding season help had gotten real jobs plus this was the weekend for Jazz Fest in New Orleans. I was planning on finding 3 extra, besides myself, my husband, and my assistant. Then my husband had a ladder colapse that he was on and broke his left hand. (In a cast past his elbow! Thank God he's right handed!) I called the local Culinary Institute, talked to the director, who said to fax him the info and he'd post it for me. Almost instantly, I get a call. I explain what I need, 4 helpers, no rocket scientist. This kid is coming out with resumes, refferences, etc.I explain that this is not nessasary, just find me 3 more. (In the mean time I had asked a friend who goes to the Insti. about this boy, and he said he was good. So rather than have a mixed crew that didn't know each other, I decided to get all of them from the Insti.) Kid calls me every day, once just to tell me that he and all the other have their "safe food handlers" certification. Real gungho, so I'm not worried. The day of the wedding... nothing...no one... nada! I still don't believe it, but we pulled it off! Two mins. early! At the last min, we called my assistant's father & sister to carve. I always make a timeline, with even the smallest details listed. Thank God!! I didn't even have time to give myself a pep talk. My assistant told me later she tried to make me laugh a couple of times, but I didn't even hear her. And my husband said the expression on my face looked like I had been in a car wreck! We all decided later that we did it through sheer force of will. The "punch" line, the next Monday I call the school. I know the rep they have, and I felt that they would want to know. I speak to the executive chef of their restaurant and tell him what happened. He asks "Who are these individuals?" I tell him, and he says, very pompously, "They are no longer with us. They have been dismissed." And then our friend tells us it's all over the school - not only the unthinkable thing that was done, but the fact that we pulled it off. We have become legends! (LOL) Oh well, at least we can laugh abou it now. And we also received the exe. chef's personal guarantee for the next time. And we had a nice lunch in their restaurant. So if you ever find yourself in this situation, just tell yourself that you know someone who has been to the mouth of H-LL, and came back to tell about it!
    The Saucy Cajun
     
  2. chiffonade

    chiffonade

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    You more than survived you excelled! We did a buffet Christmas party for Wal-Mart in Durango, CO - about 280 were expected. (310 lbs of turkey!) My husband and I did all the cooking and he hired one of his old carpet installers to help schlep stuff around on the day of the gig. The thing went off without a hitch and the next day I became part of the sofa and basically didn't move.

    Congratulations - what a great story - definitely one to pass on.
     
  3. the saucy cajun

    the saucy cajun

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    Thanks! I'd really LOVE to be one with the couch, but I've got a very frou frou champagne reception for 100 after a piano recital and a wedding for 150 with 2 pasta stations, 2 meat carving stations, a grill pizza station and a 21 foot "app" buffet, plus little stuff all within the next month. Oh well, summer will be here soon & then I'll be complaining there's no biz! (We tend to hibernate at home during the summer here, it's SOOOO hot.)
    The Saucy Cajun
     
  4. coolj

    coolj

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    Wow !! great work there Saucy Cajun.
     
  5. fodigger

    fodigger

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    Many yrs ago I worked for a caterer in San Antonio we were very busy fall through spring but dead as a door nail in summer. Boy I loved S.A. but I sure hated those summers. Too sticky for my liking.
     
  6. cape chef

    cape chef

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    Dear saucy cajun,

    I tip my hat to you,

    Thank you for sharing your story.