Food markets are a good platform for showcasing your food and your catering skills, making sure you have a captive audience who are looking to buy your food. If you are new to the industry, a market can help you to find new customers and spread the word about your catering business. If you live in an area that has a market, see whether you can secure a stall. You will often have to pay for the stall and provide your own equipment, though some things like tables and cookers may be there already. For chefs and caterers who specialising in a certain type of cuisine, this is a great opportunity. You can make a name for yourself cooking the kinds of food you enjoy the most, showing people what you are capable of. Offer a few varieties, but not too many – at markets, people expect the food to be good, accessible, quick and affordable.
As an events manager, it is often within your remit to ensure that all necessary equipment is at an event. However, it isn’t practical for you to own all of the materials yourself, not least because your clients will want so many different things. In this instance, it will usually be necessary for you to hire equipment out. Luckily for you, there are many companies that specialise in events hire. You will usually be able to hire a vast range of equipment, from marquees and bars to small items like cutlery and crockery. Many of these companies can be found online and will have their full product list available for you to see. If you choose to work with one specific event hire company, they may possibly be able to give you loyalty and bulk hiring discounts. Build up the relationship over time to get the best deals for your events.
Vegetarians are not difficult to cater for – especially if you are a skilled catering professional. You should have plenty of ideas about how different flavours and textures will work together, creating a beautiful end result. However, there are so many bad vegetarian Christmas dishes around, and it can make a vegetarian quite nervous on Christmas day. Make sure the dish you cook has plenty of flavours. Many vegetarians get bored with dry nut roasts, or with some flavourless butternut squash. All these ingredients and recipe ideas are good, but they need to have flavour. Make a vegetarian a great nut roast and they will be happy. It just needs to be tender and have interesting flavours within it. Think about having a couple of options. Vegetarians don’t all like exactly the same thing, in the same way as some meat eaters love turkey and some prefer duck. Ask if they like meat substitutes and check their preferences.
Food hygiene is one of the most important parts of working as a catering professional. Your food hygiene needs to be second to none and it is the primary consideration when preparing food. This is to ensure that it is safe to eat and that it will meet the standards set out by the Food Standards Agency. You will need to obtain a rating if you want to tell people your food hygiene standards. If you contact the Food Standards Agency, they will be able to help. They can give general information and help you to register your business, as well as helping you to organise your waste and recycling services. Make sure you are able to apply your food hygiene training wherever you are working. Ensure venues, where you agree to work, have safe and hygienic food preparation areas and professional kitchens for you to prepare and heat food.
Catering requires the production of food on a much larger scale than usual. It may include catering for parties, weddings, functions and other events where lots of people are present. When upping the amount of food you are going to be cooking, there are certain ways you will need to approach the transition. Make sure you are as organised as possible. You should prepare as much of the food ahead of time as you can. The preparation is going to be the part that takes the longest, as it will involve chopping vegetables, collecting together ingredients and making sure everything is ready to be cooked. If you can begin ahead of time, make sure you do. You also need to make sure you have the right equipment. You will need a bigger oven to cook in bulk and will need large saucepans to be able to cook big enough portions.