BEHIND CLOSED KITCHEN DOORS: Keep Calm and Cater On!

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When I was a kid, and I use that term loosely, there was a deodorant commercial that said “Never let them see you sweat,” which is really great advice, in any given situation. 

Smelly_Armpit-WomanNote: Equally important, perhaps, especially when catering deliciously-scented foods, is never let them smell you sweat because talk about a buzz kill.

Anyway, catering is basically controlled pandemonium behind closed kitchen doors with a perfectly-crafted, delightfully-executed product emerging from behind closed kitchen doors with a smile and shrug and a “Hey, it’s what I do,” with an emphasis on making it all look easy.

Note: It’s not.

Business-School-3Lots of random stuff can happen behind closed kitchen doors such as but not limited to: a shattered tray sending glass shards through the prep area, breakers blowing in the archaic kitchen when you plug in a blender, running out of my personal stash of Diet Coke, arriving at the venue and finding a single plug-in hot plate for reheating, running out of my personal stash of Diet Coke, brides deciding to “speed up” the service timeline, brides deciding to “slow down” the service timeline, and running out of my personal stash of Diet Coke.

But, never let them see you sweat. I never met a problem I couldn’t handle. But one time, it came this close.

Setting: We’re in the northern California winery wedding venue that’s a little bit Italy meets Disneyland in a remote area using an outdoor kitchen, meaning Uh, there are no closed doors. The Bride has requested stations throughout the venue with food representing different countries which gives it the “It’s a Small World” vibe, sort of. So, in the interest of catering to my client’s wishes, I have German bratwursts and potato ball things and Italian raviolis and artisan pizzas and French crepes and quiches and pastries and you get it.

Things are going swimmingly. My staff is hard-working and courteous. The food is delicious. We are professional, in spite of the lack of closed doors.

And then.

It happens.

The worst catering mishap in my career (which is admittedly not that impressive) but still.

A guest has been enjoying himself at the open bar. A teeny bit too much. An adorable member of my staff rushes to me, her eyes wide, her cute little apron stained.

This can’t be good.

“Some guy just knocked over France!” she is saying and she is panicked, a little.

It can’t be that bad, I am thinking. But I am wrong. The display is on it’s side, guests and staff dabbing at the remains of a once-proud country. Cream be like a duckpuffs, gougeres, quiches and crepes lay on the ground oozing and weeping. I could almost hear them, gasping for breath.

Note: Oh, wait. That gasping is coming from me.

But then, magically, the “never let ’em see you sweat” smile emerges, the wave of the hand, the perpetual “it’s no problem” ease returns and I pop my eyes back into my head.

And carry on!

EIMG_3880njoy your next catered meal! It just might be me behind those closed kitchen doors– Bacon

So, Oleander: Let’s imagine you just built a time machine. (I imagine the Hub helped and it’s made out of old propane tanks and beeswax). Where are you headed? Who’s coming with you?