Tell me about your load out

Joined Dec 30, 2018
So, as I mentioned in my intro, I am about to start up a service doing small private parties in the area im in. Fine dining is my true love and it doesnt exist in the immediate area im in. Im on the northern gulf coast, so its lots of fried seafood, bbq, and a couple other oddities. White linen, classical french is unheard of here when it comes to the locals. There is a market for it, as inevitably people here on vacation want at some point during their stay a really nice dinner that doesnt involve fried shrimp or grouper from Thailand. I am in the planning phase right now, making a few purchases, working on my menu and what not. My question to you guys and gals, what does your equipment that you bring onsite look like? Now, Ive done my fair share of catering through the years, but this is a little different. Everything will be performed onsite. Im good on dinnerware, flatware, smalls, pots, pans, linens, and what not... Is there any piece of equipment that you just cant live without onsite while at an event? I need to purchase a gas grill. It needs to be portable enough for me to handle alone, yet enough to handle up to say a dozen ppl. Im not having any luck with that one in my travels, so any advice on that one would be great. Thanks in advance. J


Staff member
Joined Jun 11, 2001
Everything. Bring all your pans, cutting boards, knives. An extra burner or induction burner, sometimes a small electric oven. 1 cambro for holding, garbage can and cotton towels. Foil to cover up people's kitchen and backsplash so it doesn't leave grease all over. Try and wash everything at home. :)

The cambro is the most expensive so you can also use a cooler for keeping stuff warm if you need to, or, if you can just time it right, you might not need it.
Joined Oct 10, 2005
Sterno. Always have a couple of cans of sterno in the vehicle. That, and a few of those cheap butane burners will help you tremendously...
Joined May 5, 2010
I do this all the time. I have a Personal Chef service that provides fine dining in people's homes or offices.
The onsite part of your query is a very important part of the equation.
As I visit the clients home or venue,I figure out what they have that I can use and what I need to bring.

I find myself bringing my knife roll, of course, but also pots and pans, when needed, a small food processor, pounding mallet, sometimes even towels and scrubby pads. I am always amazed at what people have in the kitchens and I can tell their experience by just rummaging through their cabinets and drawers.
Joined Dec 30, 2018
Thanks for the replys. I have a cambro on the list, an induction burner or something similar for sure.
Joined Feb 8, 2009
If your only dealing with 12 people in a vacation rental then you should have almost everything you need for cooking. I'm not sure they will have a full plate service for 12 people along with 12 wine and water glasses and silverware. That being said you will need all your knives. You may also need cloth napkins and table cloths and centerpieces/flower arrangements that could be added to the price of the dinner. I would have a few sauté pans and a few pots/ strainers whips, cutting board and serving spoons. A nice touch would be a Demo dessert sauté station. If you went larger you may need things like a outside grill. Like i said for 12 people you s/b able to accomplish this in a regular home kitchen. I always carried portable butane burners just in case.
The menu will dictate what's needed. In some cases you may need a gravy boat. I always had a Champagne bucket available for the white wine or Champagne. There are a lot of smaller items needed for a real fine dining service that could be bought as needed.
I've done 5 course meals in winery's with the smallest kitchen I've ever seen. It was a challenge but I wouldn't want to do it again. I would try to visit the site to see what was needed or talk with the clients to make sure everything was in place to accomplish your meal and prep needs.......ChefBillyB
Joined Dec 30, 2018
Thanks for the input Billyb. Yes I am mostly there with cooking items, sans a few things. Shopping dinnerware and flatware atm, along with linens and such. I plan to bring all of my own equipment, I just am more comfortable with my own things, and know how they act, hot spots, etc. Im planning on a grill for outside use mainly for fish. Nice piece of fish with grill marks is sexy as hell as far as im concerned. Im working with three local real estate agents so I have the ability to see what color schemes Ill need for tables and such ahead of time.
Joined Sep 21, 2001
Right now is the time to look for all the holiday-themed catering ware for next season. We bought our specialty themed things in the clearance section when the mark-downs were happening. We'd buy linens, centerpiece items, plates etc at the better dept. stores. Also, for looking around for interesting cooking/food type items that may be in clearance after Christmas, like that must-have set of Moscow mule cups, and so on. If you have room to store things? You can have all the fun things you want to set a great table.
Joined Jan 8, 2021
I'm fairly new to this business, but because of covid and lockdown, home parties became very popular and I got pretty big experience in 2020.
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