Close-Up Look at a Catering Event

Today I spent my rotation with catering both in the prep area under Hatfield’s and at the actual catering event held in the Mountainlair Ballroom in the Mountainlair on Downtown Campus.  The event, coincidently, is one that I was invited to – the Welcome Lunch for graduate students, held by the Office of Graduate Education & Life. The event was from 12:00 until 1:30pm and was open and free for all WVU graduate students, faculty, and staff.

The catering and production staff were told to prepare for about 500 people (even though the population of WVU graduate students exceeds 6,000).  There were orders for fruit trays, veggie platters, veggie dip (all of which I helped prepare), sesame chicken, Spanakopita, Swedish meatballs, tea sandwiches (egg salad, tuna salad, and cheese spread), top round & dinner rolls, a variety of desserts, and fruit punch, water, and coffee for beverages.I have experience with catering before, as in undergrad I worked a formal banquet for about 5 hours one night for some extra money. I dressed up in all black, learned a quick crash course in serving & catering etiquette, and was able to experience a behind-the-scenes look at how a catering event works from beginning to end.

The graduate luncheon went smoothly and the only food items left at 1:30 were dinner rolls, top rounds, and a tray or two of flying WV cookies.   For a catering event to occur, many different people have to work together and communicate effictively: the catering sales manager, catering manager, assistant director of catering, executive chef, chef, production team, and catering staff.

4 serving lines

Top round on the carving board

Sesame Chicken


Tea Sandwiches (tuna, egg, or cheese)

Vegetable High Rollers

Fruit & Vegetable Trays (with Ranch/Sour Cream Dip for Vegetables)

Cookies, mini cheesecakes, mini pecan pies, macaroons

Flying WV Cookies

Fruit Punch, Ice Water, & Coffee

Hot storage in the back room

Storing extras to re-stock the serving lines as needed

Over 400 students, faculty, and staff attended the luncheon

Enjoying the event

Categories: Food Service | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “Close-Up Look at a Catering Event

  1. Deb T

    Great looking food! How did one get invited to such an event?

    • All the WVU grad students are invited via email…although there is no name-checking at the door, so any student could really walk in an “pose” as a grad student, faculty, or staff 😉 But that is discouraged!

  2. Deb T

    Oops, I just reread your entry…got my answer!

  3. Lauren @ Powered by Oatmeal

    That is one seriously impressive dessert spread. It’s so funny to do food service rotations and have everyone asking you “Aren’t you supposed to just eat healthy stuff??” We’re human too! Although, I must say, it is tough to refrain from jumping into some long drawn out nutrition education lecture every five seconds. As my preceptor at the old folks home put it: “These people are 90 years old. Let them eat what they want. Make sure it’s safe and give proper portions, but keep them happy”

    • So true about the 90 year olds! In my clinical rotation, I saw 90+ year olds and we pretty much let them eat whatever they want…why put a 90 year old on a heart-healthy, low-sodium diet? Just let them eat what they want! 😛

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