Getting into the World of Catering

Thinking about trying for a catering job?

Catering is an important job in the culinary world. Without it, many weddings, banquets, parties, and other celebrations wouldn’t go on.

There’s no question it’s a lot of work, but how do you know if catering is the right field of culinary expertise for you?

What is catering?

Catering companies plan meals and events for small groups all the way up to large groups of people. They act as consultants, menu planners, and of course chefs for your big day. There are many, many types of caterers, including small companies as well as corporate companies that specialize in large corporate events such as awards banquets and other company functions.

Catered meals can be as simple or elegant as the client likes, and the prices vary considerably depending on the types of food and service. Meals can be served buffet style where food is set up in hot and cold trays or served like a meal. The catering company will usually prepare food at their facility and transport it, unless there is a commercial kitchen onsite.

Who would make a good catering chef?

If you are looking into going to into catering, you must be the kind of person who likes to plan parties and events. Since many of these events revolve around food, menu planning is extremely important. You must be able to cook for and service many guests, so being able to adjust recipes and food costs is a must.

There are many different types of catering companies and chefs. You can specialize in a type of cuisine (such as vegetarian or ethnic), or a type of event (such as corporate functions). Of course you can also offer a wide variety of services to gain as many clients as possible. The possibilities are endless.

A good catering chef must be organized and have good communication skills. There are many different jobs at a catering company from prep cooks, to dishwashers to servers and bartenders; a good catering chef can communicate with all of these people and still earn their respect.

A caterer must be organized and be able to plan events without overbooking, while keeping the schedule as full as can be to keep money coming in.

How can I become a catering chef?

There are many first steps you can take on your way to a catering career, starting with an education. Many caterers have degrees in culinary arts or hospitality, but this is not a requirement by any means.

If you don’t have a degree in food service, but still think you might like to try your hand at catering, apply for jobs a local catering companies.  Many companies need dishwashers, prep cooks and other lower level positions and if you can get your foot in the door you can learn a lot about how catering companies work.

Of course you can always start a small catering business in your home; many larger companies got their start this way. You’ll have to check the rules and regulations about starting a home based food service business, but many people do it with much success. They simply start out by booking smaller parties and work their way up, buying equipment and eventually renting or purchasing commercial space. It’s a long road, but if you dream of becoming a catering chef but don’t have the funds to start a huge company right off the bat, this is definitely an acceptable and often successful route to take.

No matter what your education level, if you have ambition and the desire to succeed, becoming a catering chef can go from being a dream to becoming a definite reality.

More Information About the Catering Business and Catering Jobs:

Catering Pay / Job Salary Info


National Association of Catering Executives:


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