Catering Vocabulary

7:53 PM



Before you meet with a potential caterer, learn our language.  Below I've listed a few terms that caterers/chefs use on a daily basis.

1. service- the process of delivering the selected foods to diners in the proper fashion

2. presentation- the process of offering the selected foods to diners in a fashion that is visually pleasing.

3. garnish- food items prepared to decorate plates or foods with color and/or texture

4. chafing dish- metal dishes, usually rectangular or circular with a heat source below to keep food warm

5. risers- boxes covered with linens, paper, or other decorative items used on a buffet table as a base for platters, trays, or displays

6. centerpieces- decorations placed on tables or buffets to increase the visual appeal

7. butler service- waitstaff passing food or drinks on trays for guests to eat

8. family style- food placed on large platters/trays and taken to tables for guests to help themselves

9. proposal- a document sent to potential customers after initial meetings; it includes prices and the types of food requested

10. a la carte- each menu item has its own price

11. dusting- an attractive method for decorating dessert plates with either powdered sugar or cocoa powder

12. aperitif- a before dinner, light alcoholic beverage used to stimulate the appetite

13. buffet tents- small cards that indicate what food is in the chafer on the buffet

14. cash bar- an arrangement where guests are charged for each drink they order

15. CEO/BEO- catering event order/banquet event order; a document used by caterers to detail the requirements of each funcion; includes menu, table set up, staffing, etc

16. petit fours- small bite sized decorative cakes

17. sommelier- a trained professional who specializes in all aspects of wine

18. plated meal-  a meal that is prepared on the plate by the chef and then presented to guests

19. tasting- a meeting before the event to tasted small portions of the food to be served

20. open bar- an arrangement where guests can get drinks for no charge because the hosts have already paid for them

21. crudites- raw vegetables cut into bite size portions and served with dip

22. skirting- fabric placed around a table to conceal the area underneath

23. corkage fee- a fee placed on alcohol brought into a facility; the fee usually includes the cost of labor, ice, glassware etc.

24. charger- an empty dinner plate used as a base plate

25. intermezzo- an intermission in dinner service before the main course is served


Happy Planning & God Bless!

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