May the Catering Gods Be With Us

I’m a few days away from catering a wedding this weekend. I’m working with the chef friend who catered my wedding as a barter arrangment, so this is my opportunity to pay her back for the wonderful work she did at our reception. She has organized this Columbus Weekend event and aside from going over amounts and recipes on the phone with her, I’m just going to show up on Sunday and put in a twelve hour day, with a bit of cooking on Saturday at home.

What started out to be kind of a hellish event has mellowed into something quite easy. The numbers were 250 but have diminished to a comfortable 125 and after much searching, my friend found a professional kitchen to work out of (she was going to have us use her home kitchen and the neighbor’s down the street–imagine the schlepping!)

The bride and groom are gluten-free exercise fiends who are obsessed with protein which explains the menu they’ve chosen.

Appetizers:

Gluten-free Flatbread Roll-ups with Three Spreads: feta/black olive, roasted red pepper/hummus, and basil pesto

Nori Rolls (from a local Asian restaurant)

Dinner:

Baked Mediterrean Chicken Thighs Spread with an Olive and Sundried Tomato Pesto

Oven Baked Beef Stew with Burgundy, Bay, and Wild Mushrooms

Coconut Curried Chickpeas with Sweet Potatoes, Cardamom, and Cinnamon

Steamed Rice (from a local Asian restaurant)

Dessert:

Flourless Chocolate Torte (from a local bakery)

Coffee and Tea

Late night snack:

Pizza (being delivered)

I’m making the curry at home the day before and the chicken at the rented kitchen the morning of the wedding. She’s making all the spreads and the stew the day before the wedding so they can develop in flavor overnight. The event is happening on the top floor of the Center for the Arts building with three flights of stairs and no elevator. Should be invigorating!

One of the best things about this job is that the clients seem to have no budget. Hence my friend has charged a good hourly wage for the both of us and won’t skimp on any ingredients or staffing help. This is world’s apart from most of the jobs I’ve done where I bid it out and then that’s what I get paid regardless of the cost of prime rib when it comes time to buy the food, or how many pine nuts burn and have to be purchased again.

The main challenge is that there is no kitchen on site, so everything has to kept hot in Cambros from the time we leave the rented kitchen 30 minutes away to the time it can get into the chafing dishes. My friend plans to use a super clean cooler to hold the hot stew–she’s going to literally just pour it in.

It’s a buffet set-up and there’s going to be a lot of time between “courses”, maybe too much, but that can be changed as needed. Dinner will be served on rented china, but dessert will be on paper plates so clean up will be easier as the night wears on. May the catering gods be with us!

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            Eastwick College , Hackensack
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