January 22 was my official debut as a paid caterer. It was a “softball” catering gig – through the school. Yes, it’s the same one I flaked out on before, but this time, with the restaurant experience under my belt, I was a little more confident.
The assignment – catering for 50 people with an “assigned” protein (they gave me chicken airline), $250 or less in supplies – and make salad, soup, main dish, starch and vegetable.
The weather here has been terrible – grey and rainy and cold. My thoughts, of course, ran towards comfort food – something to warm the guests from the inside. On Tuesday, I was assigned the chicken, which allowed me two days to decide the menu and order the supplies.
My menu would be Eastern European influenced – chicken paprikash, pasta with dill, napa cabbage and lemon cream and roasted Brussels sprouts with bacon and balsamic – nothing too risky, manageable and comforting.
Chef O. called me at 10 pm on Thursday night – theye decided to serve French wines so my menu needed to be French. Holy Fuck! Not only that, but since he had to order supplies Thursday morning, he just bought me some random things. Yes, I got my Brussels sprouts, but I also got apples, mushrooms, potatoes and Swiss cheese….now go, create!
I managed to stay fairly calm. Give me some white wine and I’ll make a Coq au Riesling. If they’re making me go French – I’m going Alsatian. I kept the Brussels spouts, made potatoes au gratin, added a salad with blue cheese and cream of mushroom soup.
The results? Not great, but I think passable. I’m notorious for beating myself up if things aren’t perfect. This wasn’t perfect, but it’s a start. It’s a benchmark to grow on. The school hasn’t called me to tell me not to come back. No one asked for their money back. My next attempt is March 19. I’m thinking Spanish.