When do you Stop Doing Events for the Season?

As our Clambake Season winds down we get people calling us and saying, “Geez, I wish I had done a BBQ this year” or “Too bad it’s too late for a Cookout”.  Well I am here to tell you, That’s Nonsense.  It isn’t too late at all!

Truth of the Matter is that we just did 8 parties in the first 5 days of October.  October!!!  Below is a picture from October 2nd

Rain

For this event it was COLD, RAINY, and WINDY when we arrived.  Actually it was the outskirts of a Hurricane.  But we persevered, set up our cooking station outside, and got everything done.  The food was served inside where the guests were insulated from the weather.

The Results: Fresh Cooked food beats delivery any day!

What have we been up to this Summer?

Summer time is BUSY for catering.  Every week we are at new and different places doing WeddingsCorporate Events, and Rehearsal Dinners.  Here is a short trip down memory lane from the past 2 months:

Lake

We have done Weddings on a Lake

Pool

Served Ice Cream by the Pool

ConstructionCooked Lobster for 400 Construction Workers, at a Construction site, and then perilously brought it all up an external elevator

Shark2 Shark1

Cooked Steak and Lobster for Fishermen in a Shark Catching Tournament

Beach WeddingCatered a Wedding right on the Beach!

DawnLeft for Parties before the Crack of Dawn

Steak Tips

Cooked in the POURING rainBarnTransformed Barns into Down Home Weddings

…and this is just a SMALL sample of the varied places that we have worked.  So far this summer we have worked in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Maine, and, Connecticut.  I’m sure we will hit Vermont before the end of the season.

Can you cater MY party?

It is all well and good that Clambake Charlies can cater lots of different parties.  But the only one that really matters is YOURS.  Clients don’t care that we can handle 2,000 person Lobsterbakes if they have a 20 person Barbecue.  And they don’t care that we can do Black Tie Weddings if they have a Corporate Clambake.  Really, what matters is that we know how to handle YOUR party.

 

Corporate Parties – Corporate events are very different than private events.  For one thing, they are generally much larger.  100 guests is a small corporate party, but would make for a large Birthday party.  Also corporate events are normally packed into a tight time period.  Lots of times the employees have a set lunch period so they have to grab everything they want the first time through the line and eat it before they have to go in.  For these parties we need to make sure that we have everything set to go at the exact meal time.  And that we can get people through the buffet as quickly as possible so they have time to eat and come back for seconds.

Colleges and Universities – Higher Education will throw yearly events for their Students and Grads.  A small College party may be 600 guests and large ones go into the THOUSANDS.  Schools generally have set budgets, large guest counts, and want to maximize the appearance.  For these parties we need to be prepared to serve very large numbers of guest quickly and efficiently, but also be creative with maximizing appearance for the dollar.

Birthdays, Graduations, and Anniversaries – These are the quintessential backyard parties.  They are normally around 30-150 guests and have very open ending serving times.  Instead of a short lunch break, guests are encouraged to come whenever and stay however long they like.  Due to the nature of these parties, we have to cook the food accordingly and be very flexible as guests arrive.  Also we keep in mind that some folks might be arriving after the preset serving time, so we have to be prepared to pack up the extra food in a safe manner.

Rehearsal Dinners – Rehearsal Dinners are a cross between a backyard party and a wedding.  It is a joyous time so the guests all want to chat and have a good time.  The key here is being prepared to serve the guest efficiently, but without rushing them.  You also have to be very careful with where you set up the buffet.  Typically after the meal there are speeches.  We have done parties with a couple hours worth of speeches.  Once the alcohol starts flowing, the stories come out.  So our staff has to be ready to break down the event in a QUIET manner that will not interrupt what is going on.  The last thing we want is the caterer to be the center of attention.

Weddings – Weddings are perhaps the hardest parties of them all.  This is a Once in a Lifetime event and expectations are rightfully quite high.  What’s more, they almost never go on schedule.  Most of the time the ceremony runs long, or pictures take longer than expected, or speeches run long, or… you get the idea.  As the caterer we are always adjusting our own schedule to make sure that we are ready for anything, and that the food is as fresh as possible.  Instead of prepping everything for a mass line of 2,000 guests, we have to have our own internal clocks going to see when people will actually be ready to eat.  Definitely a lot more effort, but totally worth it in the end.

 

So hopefully this gives you some insight into our job.  With over 40 years of experience we have seen and done it all.  And we pride ourselves on being ready for anything.  But mainly to have the staff for YOUR party tailored to what YOU need.

Why do we use charcoal?

Over the years we have had many people ask us, “Hey Clambake Charlies, why do you use charcoal for Lobsterbakes?”  The answer, because it’s better!!  No seriously, it is better all around.

Ease of Use:  Have you ever fired up your gas grill on a windy day?  It is almost impossible to keep the flame going when it is exposed to the elements.  Not so with charcoal.  On a windy day the charcoal will actually burn HOTTER, because the added wind is fueling fire’s need for oxygen.  Rain is no different.  Rain will easily put out a gas flame but is no match for 80lbs of Charcoal.  Since we work everywhere from Islands to Airport Runways to Campgrounds to Estates to Backyards, we simply need the most reliable source of cooking

Taste:  I venture to say that no person has ever said they prefer the taste of propane to charcoal.  It simply doesn’t happen.  There is nothing like throwing a Steak on Charcoal.  Or a Hamburger.  Or Steak Tips.  Or Chicken.  OK, you get the idea.  The woody smokiness of the Charcoal imparts flavor that propane cannot.

Lobster:  But don’t we cook a lot of Lobster?  Isn’t Lobster boiled and taste the same no matter where it is cooked?  Actually, no.  We STEAM our Lobster in braising pans.  This keeps more of the Lobster flavor.  Also since the braising pans are on the Charcoal, the smoke from the fire imparts more flavor to the Lobster that you normally wouldn’t have.  In essence it is like cooking them in a pit, but without digging up your whole yard.

So there you have it.  If you want the food to taste GREAT for your Wedding, Birthday Party, Corporate Event, or Backyard Party, trust us with the charcoal

How Many Vendors Should I Use???

Frequently we work with clients who have multi-faceted parties, mostly weddings and elaborate corporate events.  And the question arises for the clients, “How many different vendors should I use?”  The answer is both simple and difficult.  In our experience you want to use a few Quality vendors as possible.

The more vendors you work with, the more headaches you will have as a client.  Unless you have a full time Coordinator, working with a large number of vendors will require more work than it is worth.  You may end up saving some money (or not), but the overall product and work won’t justify the savings.  The answer is to find vendors who you trust, and who can handle multiple aspects of the event.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying for your caterer to be your DJ, and for your Videographer to cover the bar.  What I am saying is to find a company you trust that can handle your Videography and your Photography, your Flowers and Table Decorations, and a Caterer who you trust to handle all the Food, Bar, and Rentals.  That way you won’t have different vendors jockeying for your time and space at your event.  Each vendor will be professional, know what they have to do, and take care of their job skillfully.  This means less phone calls tracking people down, less worrying if it will all come together, and more time enjoying the event.