Flexibility: High

Social Engagement: High

What’s What: Do you love to cook for others and plan the perfect menu? Does the thought of flavors melding with the right spices make you happy? You could be perfect for a catering job!

Amava Take: Food is the soul of every event and not everyone has time (or desire or talent) to cook for each and every occasion that life dishes up. That’s where people like you come in. Catering can mean providing a lunch for 200 people at a corporate event, or appetizers for 100 guests at an anniversary celebration. It can be dinner for 12, a party for 50, or a dessert bar for after-theater entertaining.

From the Front Lines:

What kinds of candidates are you looking for to fill these jobs?

Responsible, calm people who love to cook and have a knack for food safety as well as what goes with what.

Any tips for first-timers to make it a productive and fulfilling experience?

If you’ve never cooked professionally you’ll learn a lot by listening and following directions. Start with a beginner’s mind and you will learn everything you need to know.

What’s a typical daily schedule like?

It varies by the type of party or event but be prepared to work a lot of weekends, holidays and times of day people like to eat.

From the Trenches:

What’s the most satisfying part of the job?

Every time you come into work you’re making someone’s day a little bit better.

How would you describe the hard parts?

Caterers do more than simply cook food and serve drinks. The worst part is cleaning up everyone else’s messes.

What’s your favorite go-to spice?

Salt! Just a dash minimizes nutrient loss in vegetables, intensifies aromas, balances other flavors, and makes meat taste juicier.

Special Requirements: You can get certified but it’s not the reason why the best caterers are hired. If you can cook and you’re enthusiastic and hard-working, you’ll likely get hired. If you’re really good, you’ll have a job for life. If you’re great, you’ll probably start your own catering company.

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Finding a Position: If you’re just starting out and your only cooking experience is in your own kitchen, you might want to work alongside professionals before going solo. You can find jobs in banquet halls, with off-premises caterers, and with home-party caterers. The National Association for Catering & Events has job listings and certification information. You can also search online using the terms “catering jobs” and your city and state. Also check for jobs on Leading Caterers of America, which is a clearing house of people looking for both caterers and catering positions. Fundera has information about starting your own catering business.