For over a decade, Ocean Catering Company has been customizing delicious, innovative cuisine for private parties, corporate functions, wedding receptions, and other social gatherings. Ocean Catering’s diverse collection of menus featuring fresh, seasonal ingredients, are designed to cater to a wide range of palates.
The kitchen – led by Executive Chef Shane McIntosh – can do it all, from Southern to Classic French, Caribbean and even Vegan. As one of Atlanta’s premier caterers, they’ve built their Ocean Catering reputation on their meticulous attention to detail. It doesn’t matter if the event is for 20 or 2,000 people – the dedicated team behind Ocean Catering will make sure it is a memorable occasion.
Cater.com: To an extent, your reputation depends on how memorable an event and meal you deliver. How do you work with a client who (with positive intentions) limits your creative freedom?
Chef Shane: Absolutely it is a “What have you done lately” industry! The hardest thing to deal with is a client (as you said with good intentions) that comes to the table with someone else’s event in their head. This can come from a magazine, a friend, event planner or even another catering company. They want to duplicate the certain event that was well into the $100k+ mark and they tell you that they only have $10.00 per person all inclusive for food, staff, décor and bar but have all sorts of money saving ideas (i.e. friends that are going to help decorate, mother’s cousin knows someone at the seafood vendor, have their own linens, floral, etc.). It is hard to get people to understand the costs associated with large events. It takes a small army from start to finish executing an event. We always work with the client to both manage expectations and throw the biggest blow out we can!
Cater.com: Can you talk about the art of quality control and attention to detail when it comes to catering for 2,000 people?
Chef Shane: Catering for large groups is definitely an art to itself. You have to go into a large event from the beginning- confident, fearless and with a huge understanding of food, science and your own limitations. Catering is different from a’la carte restaurant service and large event catering is even trickier than the norm. The first is menu development – you have to be able to safely serve 2000 plates with correct temperature and with a correct look over and over again. No matter what size of the party, the food always has to be on point. Next décor – If you want all white lilies that are completely out of season there is going to be a huge cost associated with that. No way around it. You WILL get what you pay for. We’re experts at decorating a large area, with some simple tricks and suggestions that can stretch your budget and still look beautiful, but you have to be open to the solution. Last – staffing. This is always an issue. If you have never orchestrated a party for 2000 people, it’s hard to understand why we need so many people. Large events have many small, moving parts that have to get done for the sake of the entire event. Votives must be lit, trash has to continuously be taken out, tables cleared, buffet restocked, etc. We need these people to make a good event a great event!
Cater.com: If you were going to hire a caterer for an event, what 3 questions would you ask them?
1) What are all the charges on my invoice? (larger catering companies tend to sneak “service charges” in)
2) When we do a tasting menu, will we be tasting my menu?
3) What all is included in that price?
Cater.com: You were recently selected as an on air personality for HLN’s Tums Tailgating segments. What suggestions would you pass onto someone looking to add something out of the ordinary to their next tailgating event?
Chef Shane: Start with a dish that you are already familiar with. If that works out, expand to something more adventurous and do a test-run before the big game, so you’re not caught off guard if it doesn’t work out. Remember, not everything can translate to a catered dish. Some things just don’t work outside of a kitchen. Take chances and if you have a set-back, try something different.
Cater.com: Is it challenging to control portions on expensive items (surf n turf, snow crabs, etc.) when clients expect endless supplies?
Chef Shane: There is a formula to everything on a menu. It all goes back to communication with the client and managing their expectations. We try to let the client know that this particular price is for this many of those and that NOTHING on our menus are “all you can eat”. We don’t sell items per piece, we charge by the person that is based on our experience and knowledge of how much people eat.
Cater.com: What would your ideal client look like when it comes to catering a small event?
Chef Shane: Young, hip executive that wants to impress! Oh, with a Black Card.
Check out these cool instructional videos by Chef Shane –
Putting the ‘Hot’ in Hotlanta, Ocean Catering and Chef Shane will make your next event extraordinary!
Ocean Catering 404.377.FOOD