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Question DetailsAsked on 4/20/2014

is there a difference between a cook and catering? I'm looking for someone to make dinner for us 1/2 times @ week

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A Cook would be a household servant, working for you in your house, employed by you (or a servant leasing company) with your materials and cooking facilities, and normally (if routinely used) handles shopping and all preparation matters - may or may not be tasked with clearing away and washing up, depending on arrangements - in some two-earner families, especially those that commute a long time, there are "dinner prep" services that provide a prepared meal in the kitchen ready at a certain time, and the residents do the serving and cleaning up. Sort of carry-out in your own kitchen. A cook is commonly employed by only one, or not more than a very few people at any one time - just like a part-time housekeeper or maid, and invokes the issue of household employee benefits, tax withholding, Workers Comp insurance, etc. Many part-time cooks are chef school students or assistant chefs willing to try out their skills and recipes working for some family until they get a full-time chef job, or sometimes college students who like cooking and use that as a secondary income. We used this type of student (she was training in hospitality services) to provide hot meals several times a week for our elderly parents for a couple of years - sometimes she made the meals, during exam cramming time she just put together one from grocery store or deli selections to make a complete meal - took three sets of meals with her each time, one to eat immediately and two to reefer and reheat for next couple of days.

A Caterer would be an independent contractor (including many hotels, delis and restaurants to at least some extent) who deals in providing food (and beverage) service to many customers in a given time frame, usually on a very rare basis unless they are frequent entertainers. Commonly used for special occassions like weddings and large parties or picnics, or for large dinner parties, and generally for larger groups - typically 8-10 on up to hundreds. Normally prepare the food, or at least bulk of it, at their place of business with only final reheating and finishing touches and serving at your place - like Bree did with her catering business on Desperate Housewives, for instance. Place settings, tables, chairs, decorations, etc and cleanup may or may not be included as you desire - normally is, as hosts using caterers want no food-related distractions from being with their guests.

Sounds like you are looking for a cook - or maybe a part-time Housekeeper to do both cleaning and occasional cooking.

One other alternative you may not have thought of - if you have a favorite restaurant, even if they do not advertise carryout or delivery, many do provide one or both for their frequent customers, up to and including multi-course meals. Can provide a real change from the pizza and chinese carryout, and not dramatically more expensive. There are also some delivery services who specialize in delivery of meals from restaurants who do not delivery themselves - the delivery service goes around picking up meals at differnet places on a reservation basis, and delivering to your home. Our community of about 15,000 people has at least two I have seen running around doing this - delivering both from restaurants and from fast food places like McD and Taco Bell and such that do not deliver themselves.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD

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