Hello, my name is Nick Brune, I’m an executive chef at ECO Caters. We are in Los Angeles and San Diego and we focus on local organic cuisine. Today we are going to talk about 5 questions you should ask your caterer before you book them.
1. Is your company licensed and insured?
It is really important when you meet your caterer to make sure they are licensed and insured business, to protect liabilities as far as venue and guests are concerned. Another thing to look into is their liability insurance as far as the liqueur is concerned, to make sure that the bartenders can serve liqueur to your guests in a safe way and control beverage throughout the event.
2.Where do you get your products?
We are in Los Angeles, San Diego and Washington, DC, so each of our companies source products within their areas. Each one of our menus is different. In San Diego, we love Maciel Family Farms, one of my favorite guys in Farmers’ Market. We really love Suzie’s Farm. When it comes to seafood, Catalina Offshore Products doing amazing things down here… The whole idea is, when you are talking with chefs or with guys who are giving you a tasting, to make sure they can name these farms, name a ranch where they are getting their pork, beef or seafood from. In these days, in the organic natural world often these things can’t be as local as you’d like, but at least if they can name that farm then it shows they’ve done their homework to really find out the best product for you. Making sure that you are getting the best product at your table is important.
3.Can you work with me to create a menu that is special to us and can you work with our budget?
One of our favorite things to do at ECO Caters is to customize menus, to change it up a bit to suit our customers’ needs. Whether it’s where you’re from, whether it’s how you’ve met, whether it’s a certain dessert you’ve had on one of your anniversaries means a lot to you, we love to hear that and we love customize things to fit your wedding, to make sure your wedding is really about you.
As far as budget is concerned, first and foremost, a lot of brides don’t quite know exactly what this costs when they get involved. This is probably the biggest event people would throw in their entire lives. So when it comes to budget we figure that out when you walk in with your caterer. Let them know what your budget is so we can customize things to suit your event, make sure that food is being served in a correct way, the quality of food is there, whether it needs to be a plated event or whether it needs to be a buffet with your budget. All these things your caterer can work with you on. Again, we really love to get organic food out to the masses; that’s one of our biggest goals here at ECO Caters, to make sure it becomes a main stream. We want to make sure that we show everybody that this is something that mid-level bride can afford, that this can be a part of everyday dining.
4. Are you full service or food only?
Right when you sit down with your caterer, a good question to ask them is what services do they provide besides catering. And if they only provide catering, that is not bad thing; it is great to focus only on food. However, there are lots of elements to your event and there are a lot of people that you need around to make sense and work for you. You need to know if your caterer can get rentals for you, if they are coordinator, if they can serve booze, if they can purchase booze. All of these things are very important for you to consider really early for your event. It is terrible to find out if you caterer can’t even buy you a liqueur two weeks before your event, so figure out these things early. Also, listen your caterer as well, and if they say you’ve got a plated event and they think you really need a planner or coordinator and if they don’t have that service, then that is something you should look into to make your event flow correctly.
5. Can we taste the food?
When it comes to tastings, right when you first contact your caterer, once you exchange an invoice or two and get an idea what they cost and it makes sense to you, once you have your wedding booked, the first thing you should look for, is your tasting. I think all caterers should provide this to their clients, whether it is free or charged service, either way I suggest doing a tasting. It’s not only a very important part of the planning process, but it is also fun for you and your fiancé to get out and have a private tasting, it is like having your own private chef serving you a meal and you really are getting taken care of.