If you are working as a caterer or are interested in starting a catering business, you should choose catering courses that can help you improve your cooking skills, develop strong kitchen safety procedures, and learn how to manage your business. Depending on where you live, you may have access to several different schools organizations that offer catering courses, so you may need to evaluate the quality of education offered at each of these schools along with the cost and convenience of their course offerings. You should also look into regulations in your jurisdiction and find out whether you need to take any food or kitchen hygiene courses in order to operate your business. If you do, you may be restricted to certain courses that have been approved by a governmental or professional agency.
Many people begin working in catering as a hobby or for a little extra money. Some caterers started out as home cooks who begin their businesses by preparing food for family and friends and then begin taking on paying jobs providing food for parties and get-togethers. If this describes your catering business, you may wish to take catering courses that will provide you with some formal culinary training to expand your skills and allow you to offer new and unique menu items to your customers. You may also wish to take courses in various types of business management so that you can grow your business, hire and manage employees, and ensure that your business will remain profitable in the future.
Catering courses may be offered through culinary schools in your area, adult education programs, or cooking supply stores. It's a good idea to ask other caterers if they have taken any courses that they found particularly helpful. In some cases, the most valuable courses you take may not necessarily be sold as catering courses, but may provide you with training in new cooking techniques or cuisines. For example, many cultural centers offer classes in cooking various types of ethnic cuisines. By taking these courses, you may be able to add new dishes and flavors to your current offerings, which may attract new customers.
When evaluating a course, consider the reputation of its school and the instructor. Be sure to ask about fees and costs, as you may be expected to pay a materials fee or supply some of your own tools, such as knives, when taking a course. You should also ask about course scheduling and whether you can reschedule a course if you suddenly get booked for a catering job at a time that conflicts with any courses for which you are enrolled.