Career as a caterer

Did you enjoy taking home economics classes when you were in high school? Do your friends describe you as someone who can host a great party? If any of these traits describe you, then you should consider a career as a caterer.
Caterers are usually the mastermind behind large group functions, from weddings to birthday celebrations to corporate events. They are usually in charge of the menu planning, the execution of the cooking, down to the plating or the buffet set-up for the event. Caterers usually have a culinary or event planning background and depending on the size of their operations, they may work independently or in a team setting within a company.
While it is recommended that caterers have training in culinary arts and event planning, a formal education is not necessarily required for a caterer. There are a number of ways to enter the field of catering. One is by working in a catering company. Students can work in a catering company as a server or other types of staff for functions. Catering companies often hire contractors or extras to assist with their staffing requirements for large events. Eventually through experience, students will play a larger role with the catering company. Or students can enroll in a culinary school and work as a chef for a catering company or for a hospitality organization such as a hotel, cruise ship or even a large event planning company which is responsible for planning large group events. Or students can enroll in an event management program and work for a hospitality organization on the business side of catering which involves sales, working with the clients to plan the menu, oversee the set-up and tear down of events.
The event industry is huge in the United States and top notch caterers are in demand. People today have discerning taste and are focused on providing a memorable experience for their clients and guests, as a result, if you are a talented caterer, you will have no shortage of work. On the other hand, because of the high demand in the event industry, catering is a very competitive field. It’s no longer enough that you create a memorable menu, but you need to have the big creative vision to see the entire event from the moment the guests walk in the door to the moment they take the first bite of their food to the moment they leave the premises. Anything short of a memorable experience is not going to help the company win clients over.
As a result, caterers need to have a myriad of skills in order to be successful. They need to be creative in their approach as well as providing a solution that will meet client’s needs. They are definitely people and service oriented because their work has to capture both the people’s hearts and their minds. They need to be skilled in preparing and executing a menu of not only food, but wine and beverage pairings. They need to be a team player to coordinate all the moving pieces leading up to, during and after the event so everything runs smoothly.
For more information on a career path of a caterer, please contact your career counselor.

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