Food brings people together. It is our common denominator, necessary for survival but universally enjoyed. Catering for friends and family in your home can be a rewarding and fun task. All of us take pride in our homes. Inviting people into the space that has been created to house a lifetime of memories is special.

Specifically, we love to cater for others because of how easy it is to influence someone’s day by offering them a delicious bite of food. Our lives have become jam-packed, filled with expectations and engagements. All this added stress and commotion makes it easy to forget how fulfilling it can be to care and cater for others.

But catering for others does not come without its own stresses, especially during the autumn months. Do not fear, however, catering during autumn is not as daunting as it may seem. To prove it, we have gathered some of our favourite tips to ensure success.

Tips for catering in your home: 

Organisation is our top tip for success. We write run sheets that condense all the information we might need on the day on to one sheet. This will include how many people are arriving, any dietaries we may need to adhere to, a timetable, items that need to be hired, and of course, a menu. From that sheet the rest of the planning becomes a breeze. There is now a jumping-off point for any further information—shopping lists, recipes, plating, etc.

Prepping is something we often forget about when planning a special occasion in our home, yet it is a skill that caterers and restaurants use to their advantage every day. What can be done the day before to make the day of less stressful? For example, can you pre-cut the buns for your sliders the day before or pre-mix the mincemeat? Can any dressings or sauces be made ahead of time? 

One of the best ways to make food that tastes great is often overlooked—utilizing meat, produce, and other products from quality providers.  We find this step imperative when we are catering. Some amazing producers can be found in Wellington. Some accessible producers that we love are Le Marche for cheese, Moana at Moore Wilson’s for fish, and Starta for sourdough to name a few.

Autumn offers its own advantage for catering, and that is all the fresh and colourful produce that it is in season. Take advantage of one of the weekend Farmer’s Markets that are offered around the region. They offer quality, value, and an excuse to get outdoors. Remember seasonality is not solely limited to produce. Keep this in mind when seeking out fish to find the freshest and more sustainable catches.

A straightforward recipe that places emphasis on the quality of the products can often impress your guests far more efficiently than a complex recipe. For example, a Caprese salad is easy to make, but when made with great ingredients from reputable suppliers can be made unforgettable.

Lastly, remember what is important. At the end of the day, you are inviting people into your home so that you can spend time together, enjoy each other’s company, and possibly create some lasting memories. Of course, the food should be delicious, why would you want anything less? But, when the day is over and you reflect, what you will remember is all the positives. How everyone loved the dip you made or the smiles of your guests as they chatted amongst themselves.

We hope these tips put you at ease when facing your next special occasion, and maybe we have even inspired you to host an impromptu get together. If not, you can always count on a friendly catering company to ensure your guests are happy.

Contributed by: Renee DuMonthier – The Food Lab

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