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Book review: New edition of 'Off-Premise Catering Management' has tips for beginner, veteran

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 20 2013 5:03 p.m. MDT

"OFF-PREMISE CATERING MANAGEMENT, 3rd edition," by Chris Thomas and Bill Hansen, John Wiley and Sons, $70, 550 pages (nf)

There are many, many factors to take into account when catering an event on location — type of venue, access, electrical capacity, employees, safety, sanitation, transportation, just to name a few. And that’s even before discussion of the menu and cost.

“Off-Premise Catering Management” is the textbook on setting up and running a catering business — from questions to ask about the location and menus to employee management to networking.

Maxine Turner, president of Cuisine Unlimited Catering and Special Events, and her company helped to compile this third edition.

“The industry has changed so quickly,” said Turner, who has catered for many events, including multiple Olympic Games in Salt Lake City and in Europe, and the Sundance Film Festival. The second edition was four years old and needed updated information, including computer and programming aspects like social networking, website development and catering software, Turner added.

During the course of a year, co-author Chris Thomas spent time observing Turner and her 20-plus-year-old business for the third edition, Turner wrote in the introduction. The updates also include: food trends, green facets, beverage service, new commercial kitchen technology and different service styles.

Designed to accompany classroom instruction, it has summaries and study questions. It is simple enough to help the novice get started in the business and includes tips on where to start and how to build a business. The 14 chapters cover everything from getting started to pricing, to safety and insurance, to menu planning and logistics.

It has break-out boxes, lists and charts that help give more depth.

It includes real-life experiences and tips that can be used immediately in a business and putting on the show.

Turner’s touch is evident in the breadth and depth of the knowledge. There are basics for the beginner along with definitions of the catering business language and more advanced tips and ideas for the business veteran.

Email: rappleye@deseretnews.com Twitter: CTRappleye

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