WHAT DO CATERERS DO?
Caterers are cooks and food preps who make large amounts of food for parties, galas and events. Instead of working in a restaurant and making food to order, caterers prepare all dishes at once, course by course, so that everyone is served at the same time by banquet servers. Caterers may work with the event hosts to create a menu, work with special requests, and often cook in non-kitchen rooms or with mobile food prep stations, depending on where the event is being held.
Caterers buy the food, prep the food, move it to the location and finish off the cooking and plating so that each dish is hot and delicious, whether they are serving 10 or 1000 guests.
HOW MUCH DO CATERERS MAKE?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that in 2010, the median income for chefs was $19.53 per hour, or $40,630 a year.
WHAT ARE THE EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS?
Experience is important. Most caterers start in the kitchens of restaurants. However, some caterers will gain experience through training at a community college or trade school, with 2- and 4-year degrees are available. Caterers looking for more advanced training can get involved in apprenticeships through culinary schools and other organizations. These typically last 2 years.
JOB SKILLS AND REQUIREMENTS
- Creativity: Caterers are often in charge of creating new and innovative dishes for celebrations or events, as well as knowing what will be possible to cook all at once. Knowledge of ingredients and how to use them in a creative way will serve you well.
- Hand-Eye Coordination: Caterers work with knives and must have excellent technique when cutting and preparing food. Hand-eye coordination is needed.
- Sense of Taste and Smell: Serving delicious food brings to customers creates business. Caterers are the last line of defense to make sure each piece of food is safe, prepared correctly and tasty.
- Time Management Skills: Kitchens get busy quickly, food can get ruined easily if you cannot manage your time. Great time management will help you avoid burned or spoiled food and angry customers.
- Business Acumen: Caterers must understand the business. You have to balance your expenses with your profits, manage the kitchen staff, minimize waste, and keep the kitchen running smoothly.