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How to Become a Backstage Caterer

Backstage catering is a small niche in the world of chef jobs, but only a few of us are up for the exciting and demanding task of providing food and drink for famous and up-and-coming musicians, comedians and actors. This can be before, during and after their performances. If you have stars in your eyes just thinking about it, consider preparing for a one-of-a-kind career as a backstage caterer with training from a campus-based or online culinary school.

Catering

Backstage catering job description

As a backstage caterer, you may be cooking for as little as three people, or as many as 300. You may work from a home base kitchen, providing food locally for all the performers that have contracts with a singular production company. You may also work for a set venue, making food for whomever performs there. You could also travel on the road, catering for particular artists as they tour the country or the world for days, weeks or months at a time.

Regardless of the circumstances and facilities, as a backstage caterer you must be able to prepare exactly the kind of food that each client requests. That could be comfort food, special diet or allergy-free food, ethnic dishes and even gourmet delicacies. You also need to have a broad repertoire, as well as the ability to work hard and be flexible, discreet, and professional.

Backstage catering education requirements

Many backstage caterers learn the fundamentals of their trade through culinary degree programs. If you choose this path, your culinary instructors can help you expand your recipe base, but also teach you the ins and outs of catering with traditional and online culinary classes in subjects like:

  • Event planning
  • Finances
  • Marketing
  • Menu planning
  • Nutrition

With a culinary diploma, certificate or degree, your resume will speak for itself when you start looking for work as a backstage caterer.

Backstage caterer salary and job outlook

While the Bureau of Labor Statistics does not have specific information for backstage caterers, here is what to expect in terms of salary for some common food and beverage positions. These are average nationwide salaries from the BLS in May of 2014:

  • Food Servers, Non-Restaurant: $22,510
  • Food Service Managers: $53,500
  • Chefs and Head Cooks: $45,880
  • Meeting, Convention and Event Planners: $50,910

Backstage caterer salaries depend on experience, location, and the scope of each job. For example, according to BLS data there are more jobs available on average for non-restaurant food service workers in California, New York, Ohio, Florida and Texas, compared to the rest of the U.S. The BLS also encourages workers to earn some type of culinary degree or certification to help increase your chances of success in this industry.

Sources:

  • Occupational Employment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, United States, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nat.htm
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            5 Program(s) Found
            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
            • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
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            • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
            • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
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            • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Lets undergrad students try classes before paying any tuition.
            • Has an average class sizes of 18 for undergraduate and 13 for graduate-level courses.
            • Offers numerous scholarship opportunities that can help students save up to $750 per term on their tuition.
            • Tends to educate degree-seeking online and campus-based students who are adult learners with families and students who work while pursuing higher education.
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            Baker College is the largest independent college in Michigan with the most focused approach to education and training available. Our mission is to prepare you for meaningful employment.

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            Sullivan University is a private institution of higher learning dedicated to providing educational enrichment opportunities for the intellectual, social and professional development of its students. The institution offers career-focused curricula with increasing rigor from the certificate through diploma, associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree levels. Throughout those curricula, the university seeks to promote the development of critical thinking, effective verbal and written communication, computer literacy, and teamwork as well as an appreciation for life-long learning, cultural diversity and the expression of professionalism in all activities. At the graduate level, the university also seeks to promote a culture of research.

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            • Received the 2015 and 2013 “Cooking School of the Year” Award of Excellence from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
            • Externship opportunities are available at numerous famous New York City restaurants.
            • Campus is located near downtown Manhattan, within walking distance of many popular attractions such as the Radio City Music Hall.
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            • Has been training students in the culinary arts since 1946.
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            L'Ecole Culinaire , Saint Louis
            • Offers educational opportunities for the aspiring, career-minded chef.
            • Students are trained by professional chefs and spend the majority of their final term working in the campus restaurant to learn all phases of the culinary industry.
            • St. Louis campus offers new Food Truck Entrepreneurship courses.
            • Has a student-run food truck that tours around St. Louis.
            • All campuses have a public restaurant where food is prepared and served by students.
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