Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Confessions...Catering to My Whims

Choosing vendors for our green wedding required the same due diligence as any other project with request for proposals, interviews, checking references, etc. But even here in “green” Portland, my questions about environmental policies were too often met with an awkward silence. They had no idea what I was asking. This, of course, offered a perfect opportunity to educate and then continue my search. Deciding on the caterer is one of the best examples of our vendor selection process.

Looking over the websites of Portland’s “sustainable caterers” gave me a great deal of information even before the initial contact. One showed delightful photos of appetizers on #6 black plastic dinner plates, another offered farmed salmon as a sustainable menu option and still another talked about eco-friendly service being available for an extra charge. It was easy to rule those caterers out.

Once I had my list, I sent an RFP to the top candidates asking questions about recycling/composting, food miles and food bank donations in addition to menu options and cost. I was looking for the full package.

The choice quickly became clear.

During the interviews I reviewed the menu options and asked specifically what “fresh, seasonal vegetables” would be served? “Well, I won’t know until the week of your wedding,” Chef Doug Lum of Crave Catering told me, “that is when I see what has just been harvested locally.” SOLD! Now don’t get me wrong, I never overlooked the critical factors of their ability to produce the event on time and on budget. But Chef’s response tells me I can have my cake and eat it too!

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