One of the great things about living in the information age is that we have so many opportunities to raise the bar on things that matter most – like food. In this day and age, we know more about food than ever before. That’s true not only in terms of preparing great cuisine, but also in terms of where that cuisine comes from, and the important link between source and quality.
This is exactly why you see so many restaurants, food trucks, and markets drawing attention to the source of their food products. People realize more than ever that not all food is produced in the same ways, under the same conditions. Some products and methods used in the growing of food have proven harmful to health. In other cases, better methods for growing food simply lead to superior taste and quality.
But when it comes to professional caterers, people tend to pay less attention to where the food is sourced. Perhaps an assumption is made that everything comes from a reputable source – or maybe the process of planning the event is hectic, and the question of source is lost in the shuffle.
It shouldn’t be, however – because no matter how attractive your caterer’s menu looks, it simply can’t be very good unless high quality ingredients from reputable sources are consistently used.
The question is, how do you find out for sure?
Obviously, the first thing you’ll want to do is ask potential caterers (ideally before you choose which one to hire) about the source of their ingredients and food products. In some cases, you’ll get a sense that the caterer doesn’t really know the answers, or isn’t terribly excited about sharing them. In other cases, you’ll have honest and clear explanations about where the food comes from, and whether the sources are reputable in ways that might be important to you.
For some catered events, it’s very important that foods are non-GMO and raised without antibiotics. There are also situations in which customers would really prefer everything on the table (or buffet, as it were) to be organic, using fresh local ingredients wherever possible. Allergies may also be a concern, and caterers should be up front about any allergy risks that may result from the way food is handled and prepared at their facility.
These may sound like excessive demands in terms of catering, but nothing could be further from the truth. If the source of the food isn’t really of much concern for your particular event, and you prefer to trust the positive reputation that a catering company has already established, you probably don’t need to ask these questions. But if your standards are more exacting, you should feel very comfortable asking these questions of any professional caterer before you sign a contract. Restaurants and markets are increasingly held to higher standards in terms of the source and quality of their products, and professional catering should be no different. Fortunately, there are reputable caterers who will give clear, satisfactory answers that set your mind at ease in terms of the source and quality of the food. And when it comes time to eat, you’ll know you made the right choice!