How to Choose a Caterer | Toast Blog | Peter Rowland Catering & Events
Crowned the ‘Queen of Style’ by the Australian media, journalist, author and tastemaker Melissa Penfold is one of the country’s foremost authorities on style and entertaining.
7 December 2019

How to choose a caterer: Melissa Penfold’s Five Golden Rules

If you have attended one of Melissa Penfold’s soirees you are indeed most fortunate. Not only are her homes in Sydney’s Darling Point and the New South Wales southern highlands two of the most charmingly decorated homes we have entered, her parties are legendary for delicious food, interesting guests and above all, good old-fashioned fun!

When it comes to party catering Melissa says “Hiring a caterer for even the smallest events can be money well spent. Many people think that hiring a caterer is only for those with superstar budgets. In fact, you can call in a caterer for much smaller projects. Don’t be shy about asking them to do a small party, drinks, or even one great course. It can make a big difference”.

Here’s Melissa’s guide to calling in the experts:

1. The idea that all caterers do is the food is outdated. They should be able to work with you to create an overall vision for how you want your event to look, down to how the waiters are dressed, what the food is served on, the centerpieces, and setting the table.

2. Do your research before taking someone on – it’s not enough that your neighbour is raving about the hottest caterer in town. Look at their website and choose someone who shares your taste. It sounds obvious, but if you love fresh, simple salads, it’s probably best to steer clear of someone whose stock in trade is heavy meats and game.

3. This isn’t just another business relationship – your parties are a highly emotive event and they need to work for you. Choose a caterer that you not only get on with and respect, but whom you feel comfortable discussing the details of your everyday life with.

4. A good caterer can help you navigate through current food trends and work out which ones would work  for you, your family and friends.  One of the biggest advantages of working with professional people is that they can source all kinds of speciality products that you might not have access to.

5. Calling in a professional means you can leave all the annoying logistics to them – from finding an ingenious place to throw you party, to setting up the drinks tables at the last minute. So all you need to do is get dressed, have fun and be charming.

A well stocked bar in Melissa’s country home
Perfect party partners. Smoked salmon and champagne.
Hostess-with-the-mostest. Melissa Penfold presides over a bountiful Christmas dessert table and welcomes guests with a beautifully decorated festive wreath.

Photography by Blake Heywood

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