I don't think Colin Cowie is sweatin' me just yet!
A few weeks ago, a coworker asked me if I would cater a small cocktail party he was throwing for his mom's 60th birthday. "Me?" I thought sheepishly as I tried not to jump up and down in his office. I have to admit, I was thrilled at the prospect and not really nervous about it. I soon typed up a menu for him to select a few appetizers from and was well on my way to planning what I thought would be a fabulous affair.
The five appetizers he chose were all things I had made before. I figured I'd go shopping on Friday night, spend a few hours on Saturday morning prepping 90% of it and then finish it up in an hour or so at my friend's house. No worries, right? I based my prices on the cost of the ingredients and about 5 hours of labor. At the end of it all, I think I averaged about $2 an hour!!
Steaming the new potatoes, making the smoked salmon creme fraiche, clipping the perfect little sprigs of dill, spearing multiple chicken skewers, toasting the crostini.......what I had imagined would take a few hours ended up taking me all day Saturday and by the time I got to my friend's house, I was exhausted. The two hours before the guest of honor arrived were spent frantically (at least on the inside) broiling the flank steak and slicing it up into bite-sized pieces, stuffing the mushrooms and dredging the tops in panko, filing the tiny savory tart cups with carmelized onions.....I barely finished before everyone yelled "SURPRISE!" Totally spent, my assistant (aka husband) and I got in the car and drove home.
The "clients" were happy and all in all, it was a great experience. The food all came out well, and I would definitely do it again but probably charge enough so that I am at least clearing minimum wage! I am grateful for the chance I got to actually cater a small party but I learned my lesson- never underestimate the work that goes into it.
Here's to you, Wolfgang.