Growing Up Catering

John Cohen | June 14, 2011

So the biggest question I get when talking to people is, “Is that really you in the pictures John?” And the answer is ABSOLUTELY yes! In fact, if you look at the Our History link of the website, you will see more pictures of my family.

John Cohen

Let’s go back to 1971 where it all began…

Before catering, my father was working nights as a waiter at The Cloister restaurant in Buffalo, NY. The Cloister was not only a Buffalo Landmark, but a National Landmark winning awards including “Top of the Table,” from Hospitality Magazine. Needless to say, many prominent people dined at The Cloister. It was the night that my father received a $100 tip (remember this was 1971!) that set him on the path of catering. Management decided he had to share that tip with the kitchen. He ended up with about $20 dollars! Infuriated, he walked out – right on the spot.

With some catering experience in his past, he went home that night and asked my mom about opening a catering company. She was 100% supportive. Over the next few weeks he made business cards that said Mr. & Mrs Catering Service – Exclusive Cocktail Caterers.

They say timing is everything! To supplement the lost income from The Cloister, Dad got a job at the Holiday Inn as a banquet waiter.  At an event he worked, he was in charge of making a flaming Jamaican rum coffee drink. One of the guests was so impressed with his “showmanship” that they started talking. So what did my Dad do? Gave him one of his fancy new business cards and said “Hey, I’m a caterer too.” That gentlemen hired him a few weeks later to cater a buffet for 160 people.

So there it is. My story in catering officially began with that event. I was only 4 years old at the time, but it was over the next few years where my brother and I began “growing up catering”.

I’m sure my parents would have benefited from today’s Internet to learn about catering. There is so much information available. In fact, here is an interesting article about starting a catering business : http://www.powerhomebiz.com/vol25/catering.htm

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