My first job

Joined Sep 3, 2010
Hi all,

I'm not actually a Pro Caterer so sorry if I've intruded, but am hoping that you kind people might be willing to give me a bit of help.

I've been asked to prepare a buffet meal for 15 people.

She wants me to serve a Chorizo and Egg Casserole along with warm flour tortillas, fresh fruit, juice and coffee. Though simple, this seems to be all that she wants.

She is providing dishes, flatware and linens.

I will set up buffet tables and 3-4 round dining tables, do all cooking, delivery and clean up myself (unless, of course, I decide to go ahead and hire my sis).

Her workshop is from 7:45 AM – 12:00 PM and she'd like to eat right at the start. Thanks in advance for any help or pointers you can give. I don't have any pro equipment, therefore will have to rely on foil and the like to keep food warm.

Anyone have ideas on how far in advance to heat tortillas and how to keep them warm??

My biggest hangup is what to charge her. She sent me an email today asking what my price will be. May sound ridiculous, but I am scared to death that I'll either under or over price. HELP!  /img/vbsmilies/smilies//smile.gif

Thanks y'all!
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Joined Feb 13, 2008
Warm tortillas on a comal or griddle in batches of three or four, and wrap each batch in foil; hold the packets in a warm oven (250ish) while you heat and wrap the rest of the tortillas.   

For everything you're doing:  Use LOTS of foil.  Use an an insulated cooler -- of the same type people use to drinks cold, like an Igloo for instance -- to transport everything to your site. 

If you think you'll have use for them later on, or that your client will cover your costs and keep them for herself you can get foam, reusable/sem-disposable  "tortilla holders" (corn tortilla size) very cheaply.  You can also get large foam coolers for much cheaper than the heavy-duty plastic ones.

Figure out how long EVERYTHING will take, including shopping, cooking, transport, set up, and multiply your projected time against a reasonable salary.  Don't discount too much because of your inexperience.  Then project all of your expenses, including gasoline.  Add the two numbers together, and add another 1/3 for what you forgot and for your beginner's tendency to undervalue your own services.  That's your "estimate."  Let your client know that it's (a) only an estimate; (b) that you will provide her with receipts and a time sheet if she wants; and (c) that she's on the hook for any bad surprises (they happen).  And voila! 

Word to the wise:  Make a substantial deposit SOP. 

That kind of food in that kind of quantity -- it may make more sense to pick it up from a Mexican restaurant on the way to the class.  If so, "it is what it is."  Be honest with your client, as it not only pays dividends but you can live with yourself.

Good luck on your gig,  

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