Stay Calm and Cater On

Rule #1: Expect the Unexpected

One thing that Savoury City’s Donna Wadsworth knows for sure is that when you’re in the custom catering business, you must always expect the unexpected. In fact, for Donna and her staff, this has become a mantra of sorts. I sat down with Donna recently to get a sense of what it means to expect the unexpected in real-world terms. The following is a harrowing account of what can happen on any given wedding weekend!

A Tale of Two Weddings (as told by Donna)

One of the best examples I can think of when things did not go to plan was a weekend a few years ago. We had two huge weddings: one was in Port Moody and one was in White Rock. So basically, opposite ends of the Earth. They were both large weddings with lots of moving parts. The Port Moody wedding had about 220 guests. The bride and groom were getting married at a beautiful large estate, and the reception was being held in the back part of the estate and then another part of the estate for a family-style dinner.

 

A Chair of a Different Colour

So, we get to Port Moody and we get a text from our Sous-Chef (we’ll call him Bob) and he says, “I’m not coming to work today…or EVER!” So, we rally and are pulling it off without him, until the rental company we were using (now defunct) only delivered half of the wedding furniture and shipped the wrong colour chairs. To add insult to injury, we had no oven or prep tables, and I could see the 220 guests coming across the river by boat from the Bayshore Hotel. Not good… 

I started calling in favours from everyone I knew in the event rental industry and we managed to get the chairs and tables for the guest, but we still didn’t have prep tables for our kitchen staff! We literally went to every cottage in the area and they generously loaned us tables and sawhorses. Thankfully the wedding party was running about an hour late, so we had time to set up. Crisis averted! Until…

 

Ignorance is Bliss

We realized that the 16-litre deme-glaze for the beef was at the other wedding in White Rock. Again. Not good. So we had to send someone to drive all the way over to White Rock and…oh yeah… also get the propane for the oven that also happened to be at the wrong venue! Miraculously, they made it back to Port Moody just in time! The 220 guests had no idea what was happening behind the scenes, blissfully unaware of the multiple mishaps and my 3 mini-heart attacks. I wore my sunglasses the whole time so no one would notice the look of sheer panic on my face!

 

We’ll All Laugh About This Later

Not only did we pull it all off, but the bride and groom were none the wiser! To this day we still keep in touch and laugh about it. A few years later we even catered the groom’s sister’s wedding and just before Christmas, they booked our tasting room for a family dinner.

 The truth is that most of our events go off without a hitch, but in those rare moments when things don’t go to plan, I’m so grateful for my decades of experience in custom catering, my amazing staff, and the knowledge that there is a solution to every problem!

 

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