What do Caterers do?Film crews work long hours and need to eat well. On sets or locations, the standard daily meals are breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus coffee or snacks if the crew are required to work late into the evening. Catering is provided by specialized companies who drive catering trucks packed with food and a range of equipment including ovens, extraction fans, fridges, gas and water, to each unit base.
On big films, these trucks can be 35 feet in length and weigh up to 8 tons. Catering companies vary in size; the biggest have as many as 20 trucks, employ hundreds of staff and have their own garage for maintaining their vehicles. The smallest comprise of one or two individuals who prepare the menus, buy, cook and serve the food, make teas and coffees, and clean and drive the truck to and from the location.
Catering companies are hired by production managers who put the work out to tender according to the catering budget agreed with the producer. Catering companies prepare quotes and supply sample menus, and if their tender is accepted, provide catering for the production. On big films, the Catering Crew typically involves unit leaders, location chefs, salad persons and dish washers. As in all jobs in the catering profession, the work is hard and hours can be long.
What is the job?
Two days before the start of principal photography, unit leaders organize the packing of the catering truck with equipment and food. On each shooting day, they set off early in the morning, to arrive on set in time to prepare cooked breakfasts for the cast and crew. If they need to drive a long distance to the location, or if it is difficult to find, they rendezvous with the location manager who escorts them to the unit base.
Location chefs cook the meals according to their previously approved menus, ensuring that any special dietary requirements are catered for. The salad person is responsible for the preparation and presentation of all cold platters, fruit, salads, and sandwiches. The dish washer helps with service, preparing vegetables and salads, dish washing and cleaning duties. They also manage the large tea urns and coffee pots which are required throughout the day. Catering Crews work every day of the shoot, finishing when the film wraps (is completed).
Job description sources include (but are not limited to) imdb.com, skillset.org and wikipedia.