Down for the count.. life lessons in catering

My Catersource bag from 2001 conference

Someone is holding me close and whispering softly,”its ok.. don’t worry, its not the end of the world.” Running out of something at a catering event is not ok, I want to bark back! It is definitely not ok, nor should it ever happen, at least not on my watch. My dream from last night is still flashing in my brain and I’m not even in the catering business anymore.

That’s twice this week I’ve had catering night mares. If this was not enough I have also burned myself twice as well. Baking and making candied bacon and then roasting veggies on a tray in the oven. The burns give me flashbacks to my catering days. Those times I always managed to slice something on my hand when I knew I had to carve beef.

These dreams are so real, I wake up in a sweat and it takes me a bit to calm down. I text my son and ask him if he gets these dreams since selling the business this past year? He texts back that he tries not to have dreams about catering anymore, it was scary enough when he did it. Nobody can understand this terror except another caterer I think.

Valentines day supper is tomorrow, here at the clubhouse, and I put up my hand to bake buns again. We are having ribs and I have a feeling that my nightmare originated from this. Back in the day we did ribs for 800 at a company event on site for their employees. Our first rib event .. and yep, the last shift of 200 we run out of ribs…

This was not good, even though we also had chicken for them. I raced back to the kitchen to get pork kabobs we had on hand for another event and we pulled it off, with a short wait time. We had our barbeques on site so it was not a disaster but it was a disaster in my mind! This never shoulda happened and I know exactly how it did happen.

We made it right and didn’t charge the company for that last shift of 200, even though they all got fed. The CEO of the company was not happy and I couldn’t blame him because I was even more upset than he was. I let him ream me out and go up one side of me and down the other.. it shouldn’t have happened. Period!

Ok now to make a long story short.. I suggested to kitchen before event to count the ribs and I got the rolly eyes (I was not the owner anymore, my kids were..loll). Our trusted vendor (he was also a chef) gave us the amounts to use and he shorted us on our order (he was mathematically challenged.) We didn’t count them and well you know the rest.

These dreams need to stop, but I wonder if they ever will. Is there a message in this for me I wonder. Do others have these dreams as well or am I just too invested in everything I do? I sure hope not, because it isn’t the end of the world, its just food and its just a dream.

In our life journeys we learn lessons along the way.. maybe this was one of those. My kids learned they have to count everything .. they seen me take a ‘hit’ for their mistake. They also learned the value of mistakes as well. I insisted that they not charge that company for those 200 employees. I got some push back of sorts, but in the end they listened to me.

The CEO of that company, when informed of our no charge (a 4000.00 hit for us) sent us the most amazing reference letter that it brought tears to my kids eyes. When you are honest with people, always putting out your best and going above and beyond expectations.. it counts.

We were honest, it was a mistake we took the blame for, we also made sure our trusted vendor understood the seriousness of that blunder. In life we make mistakes along the way, its called learning the hard way. I must say here that it is a hard way to learn shit, but sometimes necessary.

I’m not sure what the lesson is here, I started out with dreams but ended up learning stuff the hard way. I need to quit putting up my hand for food things.. but I doubt that will happen. That company gave us a lot of work and still does for the new owners. Keeping clients happy was always our number one priority..

Remember always count everything .. and always give something extra to those clients that trust you with all their catering needs..

And think twice about putting your hand up for stuff when you are retired .. just sayin