If there’s one word that goes well with the past holiday season, it would be “party”. After all, this is the best season to throw one either as thanksgiving after a fruitful year, or just a plain gathering with relatives and old friends.
Of course, going to a party is one thing, with the main concerns focused on what to wear and what to bring for exchanging gifts. But setting up the whole shindig and cooking for more than 50 people can be a headache. By the time the guests arrive, you’d be so exhausted you’d just want to crawl in to bed and sleep through the night. Chances are you would even end up with nightmares about endless chopping of carrots and potatoes.
For a party animal not blessed with the skills of a chef-slash-events organizer, having a choice of caterers is a relief.
“First of all it is hassle-free. Everything comes to you. We will take care of everything: the setup, tables, chairs, food, service. And there’s also no need to worry about cleaning up afterwards,” said Romina Guerrero of Amihan Catering Service. While Popina generally caters for business seminars and workshops, Ms. Guerrero said they also serve small home parties.
A lot of people may have a preconceived notion that having food catered for a party costs a lot. However, caterers offer different packages, and some can even set up a new menu to accommodate the client’s budget.
“You should already have a budget in mind before you talk to a caterer because everything will depend on that,” Ms. Guerrero said.
Popina charges PhP400 per head for a dinner party held at home. The menu would include four viands of meat, fish and vegetable dishes, salad or soup, and even a pasta dish.
“It depends on what kind of food you want to serve. There are low budget packages. You can always find packages at PhP200 to PhP300 per head. The higher the budget, the higher the quality of the food served,” Ms. Guerrero said.
She added that the price per head may go up if the client chooses special dishes like roast beef, grilled steak or turkey. Vegetarian dishes, which are not usually included in their set menus, are also available upon request.
Tamayo’s Catering Services charges PhP400 to PhP650 per head for lunch or dinner functions. It also caters cocktail parties for PhP300 per guest where it serves canapes, a choice of hot dishes, chips and nuts, and pastries.
While some clients prefer their parties at home, others whose houses are not big enough for a party can hold the event at venues where their chosen caterer is accredited.
Tamayo Catering has exclusive venues in Intramuros and Roxas Boulevard, and can hold parties in various venues in Las Piñas, Alabang, Quezon City, Manila, Makati and even as far as Bulacan.
Aside from the usual food service, Swan Catering offers services for site selection assistance and venue selection. Giveaways are also available for corporate functions.
The cliché which goes “the more, the merrier” also applies when you are having your food catered since most catering services are open to negotiating charges when there are more guests for the party.
La Tasca Catering charges PhP550 per head with a 15% service charge for parties of 25 to 30 guests. A set menu usually includes two kinds of appetizers, four main courses with choices of beef, pork, chicken or pasta, and two kinds of desserts. La Tasca also has a cocktail set menu which includes at least six kinds of finger food.
“We can serve up to 1,000 guests. The more guests, the lower we charge per head,” said Aida Sanchez of La Tasca.
Bigger parties need more preparations and caterers suggest a lead time of at least three days to two weeks before the party.
Ms. Sanchez said the setup of the place takes a few hours. If a party is scheduled at 8 p.m., the staff will arrive at your place at about 2 p.m. to start the setup and give your house or garden a festive atmosphere.
She added that clients should inform the caterer if there’s a need for other utensils or serving trays.
“The client should coordinate with us if there are additional food which were not ordered from us so that we can bring more utensils or serving platters and covers that match with our own containers,” Ms. Sanchez said.
During the party itself, all you need to do is to play the role of a perfect host since all the cooking, serving, refilling of buffet trays, and cleanup will be taken care of by the waiters. Catering services usually include at least three waiters for small parties. You can also request to have a bartender to take care of the drinks.
Looking for your ideal caterer is not a problem either since a lot of them are listed in the yellow pages. Some even have web sites on the internet. With the wide array of catering services, you can cross out party food and venue from your Christmas worry list and focus on your gift list instead.