Why am I such a fan of Catersource? Quite simple really.. Mike Roman reached out and sent out (well I really can’t remember what it was) something that caught my eye about education on catering. Attending our first conference lead to a complete turn-a-round of our life in catering. So begins our nearly 30 th year now into a successful and profitable catering business. How many restaurants and catering companies have fallen by the way in that time I wonder?
I also want to praise the Catersource forum. Carl Franklin Jones was moderator AND he was also the first person to welcome and make us feel at home at a Catersource conference! I hope that I have helped a new lot of new caterers feel that way this year!
It is so important for all of us to welcome those that have literally, maybe put their last dime, into coming to an educational seminar that might help them with their business.. because that is exactly what we did!
An old story for those that know us.. but we scraped together quite literally, every dime we had to attend. I knew that if we didn’t find answers to how we should be running this business, we were doomed. Education is so important to growing a business.
I owned three hair salons and always attended educational seminars to learn and improve and grow. My god.. I went from razor cuts and backcombing hair into huge bouffant hairdo’s to precision haircutting and blow drying ! Remember the afros anyone? Well not only did I have one but so did all my friends including the husbands … omg that was a hoot!
I also remember a call from Dow Corning, a big corporate company that was closing a plant in my home town. They really wanted to give their employees a special meal for the last company picnic. (you have to remember here that I was a licensed Hairdresser and my ex was a certified welder). They wanted steak and lobster .. oh my, I had never cooked a lobster in my life! We were a barbeque mom and pop operation.. they were also willing to pay a nice price for this picnic!
Thank goodness I had discovered the ‘Catersource forum’. So I get on the forum and post my ignorance for all to see. I bet some of you today will remember my post. How do I cook lobster for three hundred people on a barbeque? Ya I know .. we do everything on a big scale! If we screwed up it was not going to be a little screw up.. but a BIG HUGE ONE!
Turns out we got the tails and put them in ‘brand new’ tinfoil trays (some one wrote after, they were impressed we used new trays.. lol) we put a little water in them to steam and watched them carefully so as not to overcook … whew.. we pulled it off big time! I really don’t know what we would have done without that forum.. I’m sure it saved many a call to Mike Roman (guru of catering).
We also need to support the ICA (International Culinary Association) and others as well.. which ever relates to your particular needs. See.. these are the people responsible for feeding and replenishing our ongoing thirst for knowledge.. how to cook this or how to debone that or “how can I keep my doors open on my struggling catering business?”
I have not been using the Catersource forum (I am going back there) since Carl Franklin Jones left (I was going through some personal issues of my own) when I got back Carl was gone and a new forum had appeared elsewhere. I joined in that one and watched it grow into an invaluable tool in our hunt for knowledge. We NEED all the tools we can get in this business.
I’m not exactly sure how I turned into a liability on this buzzy forum (and was denied access) maybe something to do with self-promotion. I invented an invisable bib www.invis-a-bib.com and I was also helping Jack Milan at his booth selling www.ediblesbyjack.com edible spoons!
We are such an inventive lot.. I bet every one of you has a secret recipe or an invention waiting in the wings? So anyway I wanted everyone to know what I had invented and to see what Jack was making! We are just like YOU and if we can do it YOU can do it!
We NEED these organizations and educational shows .. we need these forums .. we need to learn from our peers ! Btw there were so many new people at this show.. I encouraged all of them to seek out the ICA roundtable forum (available even if you aren’t a member of ICA) as well as the Catersource forum .. please check in and help these struggling caterers and chefs with your input and make them feel welcome.
I learned how to cook 300 lobsters on a barbeque! Do you know how to feed 100 people one mile underground in a potash mine… or set up a tent and feed 3000 hungry guys lunch in minus 20 weather… with a wind blowing.. on their lunch hour.. well do you?