Friends and clients have asked me over the years what I thought were the most important elements involved in fine catering. So, at long last I am putting pen to paper to put down my thoughts on this, to describe the heart of the matter. I have always been concerned that those around me feel comfortable and that their basic needs are being taken care of. I think that this impulse, within me, is the nascent motivator for my decision to become a caterer and why I have spent a lifetime in hospitality, in one form or another. ‘Hospitality’ is an interesting word, as it derives from the Latin ‘hospes’ which can mean host, guest, or stranger. Words like hospital, hotel, hostel, hospice all stem from this etymology. In ancient cultures providing hospitality to welcome strangers was one of the bedrock rules upon which everything else was built. The Greeks were very concerned that a host met the needs of his or her guests. Catering, for me, has that duty or service inherent within it. It is not all about making money, it has a deeper dimension to it. Putting good food on the table for those who share your table is an important principle that I adhere to in my life.
Our Clients Deserve the Very Best Hospitality We Can Offer
As my staff and I work with food, which is at the core of what we do in our vocation, there is a responsibility to provide nutritious and sumptuous fare for our guests and clients. Good food, to me, is a living thing; and it is imbued with the grace of our actions and intentions. Fine catering at the heart of the matter is all about social responsibility and, dare I say it, love. Human beings coming together to celebrate important moments in their lives, be they weddings, birthdays, funerals, anniversaries, and gatherings of all descriptions, deserve the very best hospitality we can offer. I instil in my staff an awareness about our responsibility to our clients and their guests. I learnt, very early on, that it doesn’t take any more energy to do things properly and to the best of one’s ability. This is very true of catering and hospitality in general. There is a great joy in doing things well and seeing them come to fruition in the faces of your customers and guests. Real smiles and gracious acknowledgements from well fed customers go a long way to making this work worth doing.
Fine Catering is all About Good Timing
Catering can be hard work, there is no denying that fact, but bringing all the strands together at the right time can produce something really wonderful. There is a musical analogy in what we do being somewhat similar to an orchestra. We both build toward climaxes and finales. Timing is probably the most vital element in the catering conundrum. Everything must happen on time at the most perfect time. Cooking is a lot about timing. Hospitality involves serving the right things at the right moments. A gorgeous meal can be ruined by poor timing. Appreciation of so many things in life can be wrecked by bad timing. As a caterer, I am governed by the clock. Sometimes I feel anxious just looking at the clock. There is always an appointment to be met and a schedule, which must be adhered to. Caterers are like railway station masters of old, keeping to a strict timetable, so that things go out on time. Weddings, of course, have speeches, toasts, first dances, and a myriad of important matters, which must happen on time at the right time. There is planning and execution, which are all governed by timing. I understand the importance of good timing and our ongoing successes are attributed to that very fact.
A Team You Can Put Your Trust In
Utilising the best and freshest ingredients are a caterer’s duty and joy, in my opinion. Knowing how to use the produce and having the culinary skills to accentuate it, are a must. Creating gorgeous food for all sorts of celebrations is a wonderful thing to do. Giving one’s best at all stages of the preparation and performance is essential to fine catering. Having a team that you can put your trust in, because you have trained and worked with them to reach that level of cooperation, is absolutely vital. There are so many components involved in good hospitality. One cannot do it alone, only a well-oiled team can reach the level required in fine catering.
Sustainable catering is important and becoming more important with every passing year. I choose good ingredients, utilising as much local produce as possible, and organic where it is within cooee of being price comparable. Employing environmentally friendly products for the kitchen and office has been part of our ethos since the beginning.
Thanks for taking the time to read my missive about fine catering.