Whew! Wow! What a blast last week was!
Last week, I completely kicked butt at my first catering job ever, feeding around 70 people! I’m so grateful to my boyfriend Josh Silver, who convinced me that I could do this. He’s running the event itself and asked me to do this back in December. Well, I DID IT!
The event was hosted by the Upper Cervical Student Society at Life West Chiropractic College. Upper Cervical is a specialty within chiropractic dealing with the topmost bones in the spine: C1 (atlas) and C2 (axis). The atlas, in particular, can be considered the most important bone in your body because it houses and protects the brainstem. If it is misaligned (subluxated) compared to the bones around it, then it can put pressure/tension on the brainstem and spinal cord. A misalignment can put tremendous strain on your body, preventing organs from functioning at 100% and slowing down the healing processes in your body. It’s a great idea for everyone to get checked out at least once in their life by an Upper Cervical specific chiropractor.
Anyway, the first thing I had to do for this event was create a menu!
My goal, as always, with food is to make it an unforgettable experience. Meals are ALWAYS events to me! Why? Because food brings people together. Sharing a meal is a social bonding experience. And I believe that the food and the company should BOTH be nourishing! The overall experience should be a pleasurable one.
I challenged myself to create an unforgettable meal, that would:
- Be really colorful
- Be absolutely FULL of flavor
- Use local, in season veggies
- Have a variety of foods, including probiotics
- Reach the most amounts of people (allergy-free)
It was definitely not official as far as trace amounts, but at least as far as ingredients go, I made sure that this meal was casein and lactose free, peanut free, soy free, corn free, gluten free, egg free. You’d think there’d be nothing left to possibly eat after eliminating all those ingredients, but instead we had a hearty, filling, full meal!
NOTE: They didn’t ask me to make the meal allergy-free, but when I was brain-storming it seemed easy enough to do so that we could reach more people. Plus, SO many times I find myself in situations where I am frustrated because I can’t eat half the food. I wanted everyone to be able to eat each part of the meal without feeling frustrated. Also, because I knew they were trying to reach more people, I went out of my way a little bit to make sure it was food-friendly for people on special diets or with sensitivities like me!
Check out the menu!
Recipes (coming soon)
- Cacao Coconut Truffles
- Fruit & Nut Truffles
- Seasoned Grass-fed Beef
- Roasted Root Vegetables
- Cardamom Ghee Rice
- Honey Lemon Salad Dressing
Usually, I cook with massive amounts of butter (because butter is delicious, that’s why!)—but this time I used ghee, which is vitamin-rich clarified butter. I trust the Pure Indian Foods grassfed ghee (buy here) because they have been tested as free of casein and lactose, which are naturally processed out during the making of the ghee.
Also, my friends at Kombucha Kamp put me in touch with Revive Drinks—–a local kombucha company based out of Sonoma County, CA—–and they donated the kombucha for the event! I was super stoked to be able to offer a healthy, fun probiotic beverage along with dinner. Soooo good for you! And delicious! Mmmm!
My biggest challenge with this job was estimating how much food to cook per person. But luckily, I LOOOOVE spreadsheets, so I created one to estimate my costs per serving, cost per pound, cost per person, estimated costs, total costs, etc. Doing the spreadsheet made it very easy to see what goals I needed to set with this project and how much food to buy.
Another challenge was storage space and reheating space. It was difficult to manage the catering food for 70 people, alongside my regular-everyday food, since I eat at home 95% of the time. I ended up needing another refrigerator, and since Frank and I are still friends, he was kind enough to offer up his refrigerator space for a day. HUGE THANKS TO FRANKIE, who also got me extra vegetables at the farmers market when I was unable to make it there!
Overall, my first catering job was almost no stress at all. Josh played a huge role in keeping the stress down. Cooking wasn’t stressful AT ALL! I loved it! (Duh, I guess, right?) There were a few hours there in the middle where I got REEEEEEALLLY bored of chopping up the root veggies.
It was my own fault really because I wanted them to be a certain size and shape for presentation and ease of serving! It got SO tedious! But then I remembered—ah ha!—I have wine! And with a glass of wine at my side and an upbeat Pandora station, suddenly chopping became a relaxing, fun activity. Hehe.
Would I do it again? Definitely! I felt like 70 was kind of on the large side for what I can manage in my home kitchen, but it certainly wasn’t overwhelming! In the future, if I had to rent a commercial kitchen to cook for more, I think I would do just fine, but keeping it at home also keeps my costs down.
Have you ever catered or thought about catering? I thought it was a blast!