One of the most popular culinary careers today is that of caterer. Working as a caterer is a flexible career that suits many culinary professionals perfectly, and it can also be more fulfilling than working long shifts in a busy restaurant. Although knowing how to cook is an integral part of becoming a caterer, there are a number of additional skills that are required. Here are the basic steps to becoming a caterer, what the job entails and what characteristics you will need to succeed in this field.
Caterers need to be excellent chefs, but they also have to understand the business side of catering. A freelance caterer will have to know how to market their services and attract new clients, create menus that will be desirable for diners, decide how much to charge for items in order to make a fair profit and know how to balance income and expenses so that the business can grow. In order to learn both the culinary and accounting sides of catering, aspiring caterers should consider earning catering certificates. These certificates are typically available through culinary schools and vocational training programs, and they are the perfect way to better understand the world of catering and how to succeed in this competitive industry.
Many caterers have visions of starting out their careers by baking or preparing foods right in their home kitchen, but not all states and health departments allow that. Aspiring caterers will need to research what the health, safety and hygiene standards are in their area as far as food preparation in concerned. You may need to rent cooking space from a restaurant or even outfit a space that meets safety guidelines for your state. It is important not to open your catering business or take on a job until you better understand these regulations and how they will affect you.
Working as a caterer can be an incredibly enjoyable position, especially for anyone with a love for cooking. The process starts with attracting a client and planning a menu together. The next step is shopping for the ingredients, making a budget and determining how much of everything is needed. A lot of of the food preparation is done in advance of the event, but many caterers will also cook right on the spot in order to complete the final touches of the dishes. Caterers might work as freelance chefs, with large catering companies, for weddings or for corporate functions.
The most successful caterers will be those individuals who get along well with all types of people, who don’t mind working odd hours and nontraditional schedules, who understanding the financial side of running a business and who truly love food. Caterers should also be self-motivated, as finding customers can be challenging and requires focus and dedication.
Anyone interested in the various careers in catering should start by earning a catering certificate in order to better understand the industry. Discover the possibilities at www.cooking-culinary-arts-schools.org and get started on your future.