Caterers as Entertainers
Rather than merely preparing and serving food, caterers are now considered part of the entertainment. The role of the caterer has evolved from behind-the-scenes hired help to integral member of the main act, entertaining guests. Clients now look to caterers to provide excitement for their friends and family. Whether it's cooking right in front of clients as part of a chef's demonstration, providing a guided food tasting, or creating exciting food and beverage stations, catering is no longer a business of silent service.
Many of today's celebrity chefs are entering the catering business, and chefs who start in the catering industry end up opening their own restaurants.
Cooking classes have become so mainstream that cooking parties for guests are a twenty-first century form of entertainment. Instead of having a caterer fully prepare a meal for twenty people, guests now help chop, mince, and sauté. You as the caterer still plan the menu, buy the ingredients, and prepare the meal, but you make part of it in front of guests. Partygoers experience some hands-on fun, learn about preparing new recipes, and bond with each other as they don aprons and help prepare the ingredients they're about to eat. You and your staff finish the meal, serve it, and do all the cleanup.
Today, your role as caterer has expanded to include providing the headline entertainment. Your appearance, technique, and presentation skills are vitally important. As the entertainment, you can add “Interactive Cooking Parties and Chef Demonstrations” to the services you offer. You'll need to tailor menus to cooking parties, creating dishes that are fun and easy for amateurs to prepare without getting too messy. You can also offer special chef demonstrations, which highlight your specific skills. From preparing flambés to decorating cupcakes, the possibilities are endless.
When designing interactive meals and demonstrations, make safety your number-one consideration. Make sure guests are wearing closed-toe shoes if they're working in the kitchen. Give guests easy tasks like whisking ingredients together and piping ingredients into molds.
Cooking classes and demonstrations can be marketed for all types of occasions, from children's parties with cookie decorating to bridal showers and cupcake decorating to couples dinner parties. Make sure you offer gift certificates and cooking party certificates for clients to buy as gifts for friends and family on your Web site and mention them when you're doing an on-site party.