Hello friends, I thought I would stop by and report how the catering event went last weekend. What event? I mentioned it in the last post. Didn't read it? well, fine. The event was a lovely in-apartment 40th birthday party for over fifty people. The menu included hot and cold appetizers and overwhelmingly large bread plates. How did it go? Well, it was fantastic.
Unfortunately I didn't get any photos, i didn't even take my camera. I had my friend, Rita, who i hired as my waitress get this shot with my phone. It shows a few of the cold appetizers set out on the table. The food was really well received--especially the hot appetizers i served throughout the five hour party. The sesame salmon lollipops and the fried spinach and gouda arancini di riso balls were a big hit. I did all of the prep work at home; made all the spreads, cheeses, bruschetta mixes, rolled a billion shrimp and pork spring rolls, mixed a Vietnamese green papaya salad in a large plastic tub (party size!) and rolled and breaded all the risotto balls. Literally it took the entire day Saturday morning and most of Friday. I was in a bit of a freak out thinking that i hadn't gotten enough done by the time i left for the event at 6h30pm. I was nervous. I admit. Extremely nervous to the point where i hadn't eaten anything since my breakfast egg. But once i got there, set up the plates, met my kitchen helper and started prepping for the hot items I finally started to relax. I arrived at seven and the first guests didn't arrive until after nine. I staged the hot food so that there would be something served at about 20 or 30 minute intervals. The apartment was a gorgeous venue--multimillion dollar open floor plan which allowed me to watch (and be watched) the party and see what was getting low on my table trays. I hired a good friend to be my waitress and offer the hot appetizers around the room, but in reality she turned into the wine-wench--my client took cake of the wine but fully expected my waitress to keep the guest's glasses full at all times. And jesus christ did she. She scurried into the kitchen to open a new bottle of white every five minutes. The crowd was drunk off their asses after the first half-hour (crowd age-range was a respectable and classy middle-age). It was a real bacchanal. Most of the guests were very pleasant, courteous and had very nice things to say about my food. The crowd, I knew, would be welcoming of non-Brazilian food, which was in fact the case. My favorite critique of the night came stumbling off a whiskey soaked tongue complimenting the food as "telling a connected story, and, and, and so spicy!!"
Honestly though, no one even considered talking to me until my client pointed out that the chef tonight was American. Then i had everyone cosying up to the breakfast bar stools to watch me cook and ask me questions. A truthful side note: all non-native English speakers love to practice speaking English at any possible moment, especially when tipsy. Though, Sao Paulo being the international city it is, many among my kitchen company were foreigners from far off distant lands such as Montreal, Portugal, Rio de Janeiro (awk awk) and the East Coast. A person cooking at a party in Brazil isn't so exciting. But an American cooking at a party in Brazil is pretty exciting. As stupid as that may sound to you, it is an advantage I tend to run with.
The biggest part of the night was that I learned that there is no way i could do a cocktail party this size alone. Meaning, without my waitress or kitchen helper it would have been impossible. My client had her maid stay throughout the party in order to keep the kitchen clean--and she did. The second i dirtied a spoon it was clean and put back on my station. She was a machine. She also helped me assemble plates, assemble tartines and bruschetta--literally she did anything i needed an extra hand with. It would have been hell without her. I really regret not getting her telephone number so that I could hire her for my future events. Rita, my waitress, was also indispensable. Large parties like this definitely require a competent team. So i'm building my team. Oh, and not to forget-- also on the team was dear H who helped with the prep (i don't think he will ever want to de-pit and chop olives again), delivery, and stayed up until 2am eating crappy order-in pizza waiting to collect us from the event at our beck and call. So, go team!
Our next event isn't for two weeks, it will be smaller, a fifteen person lunch. The menu isn't set yet but when it is, hopefully i will finally get some bloody photos!