LocalWin.com - Your Local Business Finder

To Cook or Not To Cook: That Is The Question

tocooknotcokOne of the most important aspects of any type of party is planning a menu and preparing the food. Since many of the parties and events that are hosted are based on a holiday or festival occasion, usually there is a traditional type of food that will be served. For example a traditional birthday always includes a wonderfully decorated cake. A Christmas dinner party wouldn't be complete without a turkey, stuffing and all the trimmings. Even less formal parties such as 4th of July or even football or hockey parties have their own traditional foods.

While many hosts and hostesses plan to prepare their own meals, appetizers and desserts it may be more appropriate to hire a caterer to handle the food preparation. Deciding on which option, cooking at home or hiring a caterer, depends on several factors. To make the correct decision on cooking at home or hiring a caterer it is a good idea to take a bit of time and consider the following questions.

1. How comfortable am I cooking for others?

Cooking is very relaxing for some people, but highly stressful for others. In addition even seasoned cooks may find that cooking for a formal party or a large group of people is a very daunting or even anxiety provoking experience. If you have not cooked for a group before and you are planning a very formal party special event you may want to consider using a caterer. If, however, you are comfortable with cooking for guests making the meal yourself is an excellent way to ensure that everything will be prepared just the way you want it.

2. How much room do I have for preparation?

Sometimes it is not so much the issues with cooking but rather the amount of space that is available for preparing the meal. Large groups of people require large amounts of food. There must be adequate counter space to plate and present the food as well as space for refrigeration for safe food storage.

In addition there is also the issue of cooking surfaces and ovens. If you are preparing several different courses or dishes that require heated items it may be very difficult to prepare all the dishes with just the conventional four element stove, oven and microwave that most families have. Sometimes cooking in advance can be done to minimize the need for stove top space but not all dishes can be prepared in advance.

For an event or a formal dinner party that requires large amounts of space or additional stovetop or heating surfaces it may be wise to consider hiring a professional caterer.

3. What is my budget?

Whether you are cooking for the event or formal dinner party yourself or hiring a professional caterer you will need to have a good idea of the budget that you have to work with. Hiring a professional caterer may, surprisingly, be less expensive in the long run. This is because the caterer purchases food items in bulk and ultimately is able to produce the cooked and plated food at significantly less cost than a home chef.

In addition most professional caterers provide serving utensils, bowls, and even place settings, cup and glasses for the event. They will usually charge a small fee for cleaning the items after the party, but this frees up the hostess and/or the host to spend time with guests, rather than cleaning up after the dinner.

There may also be an option of combining both the use of a professional caterer and cooking at home. Some caterers offer the option of preparing only selected dishes rather than catering the whole meal. This would make it possible for the hostess or host to prepare the salads and desserts and just have the meat or side dishes catered, or perhaps prepare the meat and side dishes and just have the desserts and appetizers provided by a professional caterer. Virtually any combination could be incorporated into this option.

Selecting A Caterer

If you do decide to use a professional caterer for some or all of your party food preparation be sure to spend a time asking questions and becoming comfortable with the catering service. A professional caterer will provide samples of the food that he or she plans to serve and will always be willing to work with you on specialty items that you would like to include. If the caterer has never made the specific dish before they should be forthcoming in telling you this and should make the dish at least once in advance for your approval. In addition the professional caterer will be able to provide references for your consideration. Don't hesitate to call up some of the references and get their impression of how the caterer handled their special event or formal dinner party.

With caterers, like so many other things, cheaper is not necessarily better. Be sure that you are able to see the food production area or kitchen the caterer works in. Know if there are other staff that will be working on your food production, and ask to meet with them in advance.

Deciding on whether or not to use a caterer or do the cooking yourself is a very personal decision. Remember that you can always start using a caterer for an event or a formal dinner party and then as you become more familiar with hosting these events you can start to do more of the work yourself.
----------------------------------------------If you are a business owner get listed at Best Entertaintment Site, part of Localwin Network.
About Us | Privacy | Terms | Copyright © 2005-2015 Localwin.com. All rights reserved.