You’re not a chef, and you know that — it’s why you’ve hired a caterer to handle the food at your next event. However, because you’re not a chef, there are some catering terms that you might not understand, which could inhibit your ability to properly coordinate food and beverage. Take a minute to get to know the lingo!

A la Minute: Rather than ordering food that’s pre-assembled or pre-cooked, this food is prepared to order. It will come out fresh rather than stored in hot boxes! Some hotels offer this option for smaller VIP groups.

Dueling Menus: This is just a fancy way of saying that you’re serving multiple entrees. It’s a mixed-entree option! Rather than serving one 8 oz. steak, your guests could have 4 oz. of steak and 4 oz. of fish (AKA, surf and turf.) If your theme requires a more “exotic” menu, a dueling menu is a great option to introduce your guests to an item they’re unfamiliar with, or maybe would like to swap.

Dry Hire: If you rent a venue that offers nothing outside of the space itself, that would be called a “dry hire.” Make sure that your caterer can provide waiters for the evening; the venue will not have any labor available.

Ganging Menus: When two or more groups in-house receive the same menu, this is referred to as “ganging menus.” This can be great news because it means that chefs get quantity discounts when purchasing larger amounts of specific items, and there’s less labor required to have everyone preparing the same menu. Since the kitchen will be saving money, there’s a good chance that you’ll be able to save money as well! Feel free to ask the venue’s caterer if they’ll already be serving a menu that you can serve as well.

Intermezzo: Meaning “between movements,” this is a palate cleanser that’s served just before the main course. Some popular palate cleansers include bread, sorbet, apple slices, or a sparkling wine like Prosecco.

Market Price: More often than not, you’ll see this listed next to seasonal items, such as strawberries or raspberries, or on imported items, like caviar. Indicated by supply and demand, this price will likely fluctuate, as opposed to AQ or “as quoted” prices.

Snake Service: Also referred to as “Ballet Service,” this serving style is as beautifully coordinated as a ballet. Waiters line up with plated food then walk together — like a snake — to the table, circling it, and laying the food down in front of guests simultaneously. Everything is in sync.

Silencer: This is a sneaky, brilliant way to prevent annoying clatter from dishes, cups, and flatware; a simple padding under the tablecloth will muffle extraneous noise.

Whisper Call: Rather than yelling “Ladies and gentleman! Take your seats,” at your guests, the Maître De will indicate that dinner is beginning by walking amongst guests and asking them to relocate to their seat.

If you’re looking for catering services for your next event, make sure you give us a call at 407-955-4949! And if you’re interested in more Orlando event planning tips on choosing a venue or a caterer — or if you just enjoy event planning personality quizzes — then keep an eye on our blog.