Catering Specialist Shares Her Knowledge with Students


The final day has arrived and students wait anxiously for their final lessons in food and beverage coordination. They know today will be fun and is meant to be a light-hearted recap to their studies.

Students arrive to class and find the desks and chairs cleared, stacked neatly to the side of the room. Instead of the normal classroom activities, instructor Lisa Jenkins Orr decides to utilize her time to walk her students through what an off-premise catering staff does to ensure a successful event.

Students were given the opportunity to replicate the steps of an actual event, providing them with hands-on experience and knowledge as to how much time and effort it takes to successfully coordinate event planning.


Under Lisa Jenkins Orr’s instruction, students started with unloading all of the food and service ware as they would during a real catering event. This replicated the experience of what it would be like to unload a truck that carries their catering materials to an event in a clean and professional manner. After unloading the catering materials, the students then assembled the tables and chairs according to event best practices and moved on to the tabletop placements. Students put linens on the tables and adorned them up with flatware, glassware, and even mobile chargers for a professional crowd. Lisa had students do this because often time planners don't take into consideration how much space is available on a table, and there doesn't end up being enough room. This means they have to learn to remove things from the table and coordinating with the client in doing so. The students then arranged their centerpieces, which taught them the importance of space and height, because often centerpieces are chosen that guests can't see over and changes need to be made.

See Photos from This Event

Next on the list of lessons, students learned about pleasing the palette by learning to choose and build hors d'oeuvres for specific events. Students then moved on to prepare a charcuterie tray for different guest sizes. After the event set up was complete, students were able to take a step back and enjoy what they have put together, sampling the food and discussing the steps it took to coordinate catering for this event. When the event was over, students cleaned and deconstructed the event. They loaded the vehicles with what was left over and reset the room as it was, just as every event/venue/home should be when caterers leave.

Overall, all participants walked away with hands-on experience, as well as an opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned throughout their journey. We invite you to learn more about this course by visiting the course page, Catering: Food and Beverage Coordination.



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