Los Angeles Chef & Caterer Gives Expert Advice in Planning Event

Top Quote Chef and caterer Claud Beltran of Claud and Co. in Pasadena provides his expertise on catering an event. End Quote
  • Los Angeles-Long Beach, CA (1888PressRelease) July 14, 2010 - Whether you're getting married now, or hoping to one day, there's one very important topic most of us probably don't think about when planning our wedding: the caterer. During these economic times many brides find it imprudent to hire a wedding coordinator preferring to forego that extra cost and do the planning themselves.

    In light of this we enlisted chef and caterer Claud Beltran of Claud and Co. in Pasadena. Chef Beltran has worked alongside Master chef Thomas Keller and has served as executive chef of famed Dickenson West where he received raves for his cuisine from the Los Angeles Times along with a "top 50" food ranking from Zagat's.

    He caters many events in and around Los Angeles. From weddings to wine tasting dinners, Chef Beltran has agreed to lend his expertise and explain the seven most important questions to ask your caterer.

    1. What should a bride ask a caterer when interviewing them for their reception?
    Chef Beltran: She should ask whether the caterer does weddings and how many they have worked on. If working with a coordinator, it is important to ask the caterer if it will be a problem because timelines can change at a moment's notice. And always ask for references.

    2. How can the wedding couple keep costs down and yet offer guests a bountiful meal with wine?
    Chef Beltran: It is helpful to be open to ethnic meals as this is usually less expensive than the standard steak or chicken. Wines from Italy, Spain and France offer great value and if you work with a good wine shop you can over order and return extras.

    3. What is the logistical detail that most every bride forgets to ask the caterer?
    Chef Beltran: The biggest cost is service and service related fees. For example, a venue with ten waiters at $25 an hour is $250 an hour for the dinner service and also for them to wait around to break down the party. Make sure you ask your caterer about staggering the servers.

    4. What is the number one mistake a bride can make when interviewing a prospective caterer?
    Chef Beltran: The biggest mistake is not getting references. Many caterers are out there but not all of them can do weddings, as there are a lot of things that can change in the timing of the food to special food requests for the guests. Also, setting up a tasty look at the presentation and how they handle your reception. It is very different to cook for two guests than for three hundred without a kitchen sometimes or in a side yard. Everything is possible, you just have to make sure to ask if they have done it before.

    5. How much gratuity should a bride and groom pay the caterer and their staff?
    Chef Beltran: Gratuity is up to the bride and groom and not expected. If staff goes above and beyond (and they should) then a 10%-15% is normal. Remember that they are making on average $25 an hour or more so it can add up. Some caterers will sometimes add a coordination fee which is their tip and is based on the gross. Make sure to ask beforehand and get it in writing so you don't end up paying 10%-20% on top of the estimated bill.

    6. How is it best to accommodate a vegetarian guest?
    Chef Beltran: Most, if not all caterers will be prepared for this. A good idea might be to ask in the invitation which of your guests will need a vegan meal which will be harder to accommodate. Don't settle for a steamed or sautéed vegetable plate. Tell the caterer to get creative!

    7. What are the highest cost items and what are the alternatives in order to bring costs down?
    Chef Beltran: Service-watch your timing of the whole event from set-up to tear down. The bar can be very costly. Always have a paid person to monitor the bar. Getting a volunteer may seem like a good idea, but more often than not he or she will not like to work the long hours and will drink along with the guests. Maybe a hosted bar for only the first hour and bottle of wine at the tables will also bring down costs. You can get creative with the champagne toast also. One ounce pours in small glasses of Prosecco or Cava, a sparkling wine from Spain is a good idea. Or think outside the box and serve Sake!

    Brides and event coordinators can reach Chef Claud Beltran at www.Claudandco.com or call 626-675-5784 to schedule an appointment to learn how Claud and Company can meet your catering needs.

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