The art of catering.. and believe me it is an ‘art’ and those that practice it are artists! Now maybe that is a stretch for some of us barbeque caterers but through-out our 30 years in business this ‘artist’ slash.. self taught chef (I am using the term very loosely for myself.. the are some great chefs out there and I am but a lowly rung on this ladder), became quite the artist!
Along the way we picked up the necessary tools to operate and run this fledging little mom and pop operation. Fortunately we had two children to help us (child labor.. to be sure .. but we needed to keep a roof over our heads).. we were in this together.
Had I known how much help the kids were going to be we certainly would have made some more .. and that would have been much more fun(believe me) than trying to get this business off the ground!
After three or four years of grueling ‘feast or famine’ working our butts off in the hardest job I’VE EVER TACKLED, along came a mail-out about this obscure little catering conference in Vegas!
Seeing as how we were going to probably quit or sell (who on earth would buy a struggling BBQ business anyway?). The person putting on this seminar of classes promised that he would personally refund anyone the full amount of tuition if we were not satisfied we got our moneys worth.
I know some of you already know my story but it bears repeating at this time. We put every cent into going to this conference and I was totally prepared to get a full refund if it was not worthwhile. The trip to Vegas was our first holiday in years..!
So, here is this little obscure conference (the Canadian contingent was a group of nine Canadians total) the tradeshow had maybe 25 vendors or probably a lot less. They all fit in one room and it didn’t take long to visit each one.
Well guess what..? the impact of that one little conference changed our course in this business forever.. and it is still making us money! The yearly Catersource Conference in Vegas and MIKE ROMAN in particular left an indelible impression on myself .. my Ex (we lasted 25 years working together and even now still participate when the kids need help) and my kids!
This may be repetitive and boring for some of you but for us and a lot of caterers out there Mike Roman single handedly along with some well chosen of our peers.. taught us how to work smarter not harder (well anyone that caters works hard and deserves every dollar they make) how to make money and how to succeed.
He elevated our game and made us strive for not mediocre.. but excellence.. in all areas of this crazy business! I made many friends from this conference ..I learned from the best and copied down everything, so I could take it home and try it out!
I wonder how many owe the fact that they are still in business because of Catersources continued commitment to elevating caterers into doing the best they can?
How many new caterers know that Meryl Snow is directly responsible for the getting rid of the hateful chocolate fountain and giving us a chocolate river instead (much more civilized) . Did you know Jack Milan chided her about it being a river..” it doesn’t really flow anywhere” .. haha .. so call it a pond if you will.
How many copied her apples under the glass display or the vegetables in vases ? Jack Milan committed himself to educating us and giving us new ideas as well! Did anyone see his ‘dirty clothesline s’mores bar ‘ at last years conference ..? well? These two started trends we are still copying today!
Please know that there are many others as well that influenced me. I just happened to go to all of Meryl’s and Jacks classes when I could because I seemed to learn all sorts of great stuff from them that I could use in our catering BIG Business now!
We fed 6000 construction workers a full hot turkey lunch meal served out of a tent on a restricted construction site in minus 20 weather. Now where do you think we learned how to do that? I could tell you lots of stories and I did write about starting out in this crazy business in my blog under business.
I love the creativity I’ve been able to express in catering.. it really is an art.. not everyone can pull off the things we’ve done. I do not make any money writing this stuff .. Catersource does not pay me to sing their praises .. I only want to tell everyone about what I have learned.. and what they can expect to learn as well.
Jack Milan seen a need and started making edible spoons.. that is brilliant! If Meryl Snow could have figured a way to sell the chocolate river idea I’m sure she would be piles of money ahead. I love it when someone comes up with an idea and is able to make money on it.. share it.. it gives us all hope we can maybe come up with something.
Who better to share our stuff with if not other caterers .. our peers.. we can even help you develop your idea!! ok now where was I.. ? the whole point of this post is to make everyone aware of what contributions we all bring to the table .. ALL OF US .. we are all in this together.. AMEN!