A career as a caterer can be a hectic, but rewarding profession. Preparing food is one of the most generous gifts you can offer someone and a delicious meal is always appreciated. Studying culinary arts will not only help you become a great chef, but also train you to create cuisine in an organized, professional manner for hundreds at a time. Here are some things to consider before entering the culinary arts profession as a caterer.
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Characteristics of a Successful Caterer
Organizational skills When it comes to catering, organization is everything. Learn to make checklists for yourself before embarking on any task. Don't leave any item undone and think through projects when preparing. Host dinner parties or cook for your family, imagining yourself as a professional caterer. Consider every element of the dining experience, from table decorations to how the plate will appear upon serving. Break down recipes, determining how many servings a recipe will provide, then factor for the amount of guests you will be serving. Have your kitchen organized, prepare the items you can in advance and allow ample time to cook the meal.
People skills As a caterer, you could be working in the hospitality industry. As the name implies, you must be hospitable in order to be successful. Caterers work directly with clients ranging from wedding planners and brides to corporate executives planning lunch parties and every type of event in between. A caterer meets with clients, listens to their desires and makes suggestions to help plan the food element of their special occasion. Many caterers offer tastings to clients to help them decide which food items they would like served. A tasting is a great opportunity to connect with your client. The ability to read people will certainly come in handy as you aim to please your catering customers.
Efficiency Getting things done right and quickly are a must for any successful caterer. Food is a time sensitive product. If it's too cold, not the right consistency or under-cooked, complaints will come your way. That is why time management is of utmost importance. Learn to budget your time wisely and work well under pressure.
What To Expect from Culinary School
Tricks of the trade Learning to become a caterer involves becoming well versed in tricks of the trade. You can be trained in how to properly use a knife to chop, dice and mince, not only accurately, but quickly. Skills such as how to whip cream, the correct way to saute and the right way to slice all types of meat are just a few of the kitchen skills you could master.
Preparing a menu Catering training can include learning which starches go best with which meats and what vegetable brings out the flavor of certain dishes. You could delve into all forms of culinary arts, from which wines and cheeses to pair together to selecting the right sauce to set off an entree. A little science comes into play as you learn how different ingredients work together and how various cooking methods can completely transform a dish.
Serving the masses Great chefs can prepare a fabulous dish for a table of two to a banquet hall filled with 500 people. The amazing part is the last plate will taste as fresh and delicious as the first dish served. Learning how to multiply for the masses will be part of your training in culinary school.
Potential Jobs For A Caterer
Once you have completed your education in culinary arts, there could be several potential jobs for you as a caterer. You can venture out and start your own catering business or accept a position working for someone else. Hotels and banquet halls are often seeking caterers on their staffs. Resorts and cruise ships are also in need of catering services. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in May 2010 the median annual wage of chefs and head cooks was $40,630. Armed with your culinary arts degree, the sky is the limit. Whether you seek work at a restaurant or create your own company, you could find plenty of options in the catering field.
From serving an intimate dinner party or catering a banquet hall filled with hundreds of guests, a culinary arts degree will help prepare you for this career field.