A Day in the Life of an Outside Caterer

Mrs. Agaba Dina runs a catering company called FoodPlus Ltd which has been offering this service for over a decade and has a wide clientele. I have had the pleasure of tasting her food on two occasions and was amazed by the professionalism her team exhibited. I hence came up with what I assumed was a brilliant idea at the time and decided to follow her for one day. When I put in my request she laughed it off as a joke until she realized that I was dead serious. She asked if I was up for the task to which I responded in affirmative. She tried to discourage me by saying that it involved a lot of hard work sleepless nights and tension. of course, I love my sleep but since I had taken my annual leave, I had a lot of free time on my hands and I assured her that I was up for the challenge. Friday evening found me at her home in Mutundwe. the place was a beehive of activity, everyone seemed to know what they were doing, their movements were fluid, comfortable with each other, one that can only be gotten from years of working together. They chat and laugh about as they go about their tasks, peeling, roasting, chopping, I found Dinah by the fireplace gently smoking banana leaves who informs me that they were for Luwombo, a special dish prepared for the Mukko (son in law), chicken, meat or g.nuts is spiced and wrapped in this roasted leaf and steamed. Her company has been booked to provide catering services for an introduction ceremony. I am quickly assigned to cut cabbage, a task I fail miserably and I am quickly reassigned to wash potatoes from a huge drum. I do this for thirty minutes and resign, I decide to follow Dinah around and watch the action as we speak. I learned that most of her weekends are booked, she has had to turn down some clients but always gives priority to return clients. The team she works with has been together for 7 years hence the organized chaos. Her catering company can ably manage two functions simultaneously and she has no desire to expand since hers is a business that requires close monitoring and attention. By midnight I was exhausted but they seemed oblivious to time, apart from occasional breaks, they kept their rhythm, I excused myself with a promise to return the next morning. I was informed that they would work overnight, and if they are lucky will get an hour of sleep.

When I returned on Saturday morning, I found them having breakfast and was assured that they were done with the cooking, the food had been left to simmer till it was ready to be served. Well seeing as there was no action left, I chose to meet them at the venue, the event was beginning at 1 pm but the caterers would be on sight at midday. I was there at midday on the dot and found them offloading their stuff off a track, they were dressed in white and black informs with caps covering their hair. The serving table was set up in no time, they worked with precision and this time it was all business, no chatting and laughing like the previous night.

Dinah monitored all these activities, she watched over her staff like a hawk and ensured that the table was set to perfection and everyone was in place. Food was served, empty bowls, plates quickly removed and packed. By 3 pm every guest had eaten and they began to clear the place and load their stuff back onto the truck. Dina let out a sigh of relief, another successful function under her sleeve. She assured me that although she had been doing this for ten years, she still felt tense and each function presented new challenges. She could only relax after the food had been served and eaten.