Unique St. Patrick’s Day Party Ideas

Hey guys, I’m back with some more tips! Today I’ll be showing you some St. Patrick’s Day ideas! Looking to put a new twist on your St. Patrick’s Day party?

1. Incorporate Seasonal Herbs

When it comes to adding flavor and personality to traditional St. Patrick’s Day dishes, herbs are your best friends. They bring a refreshing taste to very basic Irish ingredients like potatoes and chicken. One of our favorite flavorful spring dishes is grilled chicken marinated in thyme-rosemary oil and finished off with lemon sauce.

In my St. Patrick’s Day menu, you will notice that I like to use herbs to enhance the flavors of our sides.

2. Power Green Tricks

St. Patrick’s Day was purely a religious holiday in Ireland for most of the 20th century, which meant all its pubs were closed. Take a modern twist on this historical fact by setting up a green bar filled with superfood drinks like kale smoothies. This will be a popular station for guests looking for a nutritional boost.

The one exception to the dry bars on March 17 was for beer vendors at the national dog show. If you will be renting an outdoor, dog-friendly venue, consider setting up a mini dog park and beer haven where guests can socialize over beers while their dogs romp and play.

3. Chocolate-Irish Cream Cheesecake

One of my favorites! Combine chocolate, cream cheese, sour cream and Irish cream liqueur for this decadently rich cheesecake. If you prefer a milder liqueur flavor, use a little less Irish cream and add whipping cream or milk to make up the difference.

For an Irish cheesecake with coffee flavoring instead of chocolate, try Irish Coffee Cheesecake, a recipe from an Omaha bakery.

 

These are some of my favorite ideas to do during St. Patrick’s day. Hope you guys enjoy them and have a wonderful St. Patrick’s day! 

 

 

The Great Kitchen Flood of 2012

As a Chef, you will most certainly run into all kinds of different debacles when it comes to your kitchen. This is especially true if you are a catering chef that is working in different kitchens on a weekly and sometimes daily basis. In 2012 I was working a party for this extremely wealthy individual in South Florida. They had a catering kitchen in the downstairs of their home and it was an absolute delight to work in. There was plenty of room for me and my two helpers, and everything was top of the line. There were a few problems with the kitchen that were not brought to light until a little later in the evening.

We were cooking for around 100 individuals and a pasta dish was on the menu. About half way into the evening I was summoned upstairs by the owner for something he wanted to discuss. Right before I was summoned I turned on a faucet to fill a large pot in a deep commercial Flooded Kitchensink, and guess what, I forgot to turn the water off before I went upstairs. This sounds like it would be no big deal because it’s in a sink, right? Wrong! All I can say is I’m really glad I know someone that has a water damage restoration business because the bottom of the pot just so happened to be the perfect shape, and with all of the weight of the water the pot closed off the water’s access to the drain. So, after about 20 minutes of schmoozing with the owner and his friends in my cool chef outfit and talking about how amazing my appetizers were I got back down to the kitchen. Wouldn’t you know it there was about 3-4 inches of standing water on the floor and it was rising! Turns out, the sink wasn’t very thick metal because it had flexed just enough to allow the pot to cut off the drain.

I did what any respectable business owner would do and freaked out! There were so many things that all happened simultaneously to make this really bad situation worse than it could have been. Continue reading “The Great Kitchen Flood of 2012”

Beach House Event Catering: The China Debacle

So I met this lovely couple early on in my business and they were planning a wedding on Pensacola Beach. This was my first wedding with my new catering business so I was a nervous wreck, but they had a pretty easy idea overall. They wanted something incredible and simple at the same time. I was more than happy to oblige! The wedding itself was going to be on the beach and the reception at a beautiful home right on the beach. The plan was originally something simple, some type of chicken, fish, pork, and a vegetarian meal, but as we started doing the tasting it was becoming more and more apparent that they did want something a little more incredible than I had done before. The pressure was on, and I was ready to meet the challenge!

This was early on in the business, so it was one of my first catering jobs and I was a little nervous because I wanted to make sure their big day was very special. All of the sudden I realized through a conversation that they were expecting me to supply china and tablecloths for a 100 person dinner, not disposable plates like I normally do! Needless to say, I did not have the china and table cloths needed for a party of that size. Prior to this I specialized in coffee and desert bars, so I got all of my plates from here. Continue reading “Beach House Event Catering: The China Debacle”

Catering and Event Planning

screen-shot-2016-11-28-at-16-03-11Event planners can be one of your most valuable assets as a caterer. If you know one, or a few be sure to treat them right because they can not only help you get your business off the ground, but they can help you thrive in your local community well before and even after you have made a name for yourself.

 

screen-shot-2016-11-28-at-16-13-51Caterers can be called on by event planners for any number of events, from business get-togethers to weddings, and anniversaries. It is always important to have someone take the lead for a specific event when an event planner is involved. This can be you, or if you are large enough to have an employee or two it could also be one of your managers. Be sure that it’s someone that is competent and can help with suggestions and along the decision-making process.

Here are a couple of tips that are good for you to know when you are speaking to the event planners:

One of the greatest parts about opening a catering business over a restaurant is the lack of overhead. This leads to a much higher success rate than the restaurant business, and this rate can go up for you exponentially if you continue to provide great food and service to your biggest repeat clients: Event planners.

Step 1: Starting a Catering Business

If you are a lover of the kitchen and are thinking about making a little extra money on the side, starting a catering business may be a great venture for you. You don’t always have to start with a huge company catering to hundreds of people at a time, although that would be a great way to get going! I started cooking for 20-50 person parties on the side, mostly a weekend gig, but that blossomed into a full time, fully staffed successful business. It was a great experience and I definitely recommend giving it a shot if you have a love for the art of food. Owning your own business is the best, even if it’s a pool cleaning company!

Catering Business Ideas: Dessert and Coffee
Catering Business Ideas: Dessert and Coffee Bar

Even if cooking for 20-50 people sounds intimidating you could always start out offering a coffee and dessert bar. Many people take advantage of this for evening dinner parties. This can be especially successful in larger cities, or with any corporate event. Click here to see some great catering menu ideas.

The biggest hurdle you will find in the beginning is simply attracting clients. Word of mouth is always the cheapest and easiest way to start off so I highly recommend getting some great business cards made as soon as possible. Try to find a niche that the larger competition has overlooked, like the coffee and desert parties, or engagement/bachelore(ette) parties. Be sure to tell your extensive network of friends and family, and ask them to actively promote your services. You can even offer a commision to give them a little incentive, just make sure that you have the commsion price included in your profit margins. Then, reach out to local business owners and see if they will let you leave a stack of your cards at their checkout counters or somewhere their clients may be able to see your business. You can even partner with restaurants that don’t offer the service. First see if they will promote your services for free, and if not, give them a commission of the profit. It’s hard to say no to passive income like that. Once you have exhausted all of these options and you’re ready to start growing you can have a website made and even just pay for leads. There are a couple of incredible companies that can help with this, www.pbseopros.com is my favorite.

The first step you will need to take towards your new venture is to figure out what you will be offerening, and what equipment you will need to offer these things. I’m a very big proponent of a lean startup, so I would wait to purchase any big items, or anything in bulk until you have your first customer and you know what they want/need. As long as you know where to purchase or rent the items and a timeframe for the delivery you will be fine. It can’t hurt to have a backup either, even if it’s a little more expensive. Think of it as paying a little more for a product to have little less risk involved. Continue reading “Step 1: Starting a Catering Business”

Welcome!

Hey there foodies! My name is Chef Gus and I have a catering business that I’m excited to share with the world. I am really happy that you are here, and hope you enjoy the ride. If you have any questions for me please take a look at the Contact page and give me a shout!