Catering in Crazy Conditions

When you work as a caterer, you get some quality cocktail-party stories.

It’s an unusual business, and no catering job is the same as another. Clients can be unusual. Situations can be even more unusual.

One food and drink magazine, Tasting Table, ran a feature called “A New York Catering Company Shares Its Craziest Stories.

And, true to form, the stories are wild.

There’s the time they had to cater for 2,500 people in an under-construction high rise with no electricity, heat, or running water. In 30-degree weather.

Or the time they had to hire a Bay Crane to hoist barn-style tables onto a barge, to accommodate a floating skate-park party Nike was throwing on the Hudson River.

Truly, though, we caterers cherish the challenges.

Guests may understand that it’s raining, or freezing outside, and that the seating is too wet to use. They may understand that the gale winds may blow their plates out of their hands, or tip over their drinks. They may be cool with the fact that the power has gone out.

But they still expect all the food to be prepared perfectly.

And therefore, part of a caterer’s life is making sure that the temperatures are right. The temperature of the food as it is being served, certainly. But also, the temperature of the cooking surfaces, and of the ovens, and of the refrigeration units and the freezers. One tiny mix-up with the temperature at which something is stored — even for a short time — and the entire presentation can go out the window.

So here’s to the wild and the unexpected. Here’s to the unusual and unpredictable conditions that can turn a straightforward catering job into something we laugh about as we tell you the story — years later, over beverages.