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The Warsaw Voice » Society » March 28, 2007
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Easter Catering
March 28, 2007 By Magda Kuszewska   
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The growing demand for catering services among both corporate and private customers has seen the popularity of this kind of service rise to an all-time high in Poland. Easter is an excellent opportunity to let a professional catering company take care of all the preparations for you and deliver traditional Polish dishes or other, innovative meals, straight to your home.

More than food
Customers like a comprehensive service. Professional catering companies should offer food, transport and the entire "setting." Customers often need extra tables, glasses, table decorations like Easter eggs, bunnies and lambs and other adornments such as flowers and candles. As you place your order, specify the smallest details so as to avoid any misunderstandings or unpleasant surprises. Determine whether you want your food to arrive on plastic plates or on china tableware. Before very large events or popular holidays, it is wise to order a few days in advance, although really good companies are able to handle orders in less than a day. Remember, however, Easter is a special time when many specific dishes are prepared and so it is a good idea to order your Easter menu at least a week in advance.

Brief history of catering
Catering services arrived in Poland in the early 1980s, from Western Europe and America. In the beginning, catering companies organized events at venues chosen by customers, usually hotels. Gradually, more specialized companies emerged on the market, providing catering not only for outside events, but also for employees of companies. In the 1990s, catering became a popular service offered outside restaurants.

Right from the start, the major player on the market was LOT Catering, whose vast experience soon won it lots of customers. Over the past few years, interest in catering services has taken a new direction. Companies now order catering for their employees and guests on a mass scale. Many companies work late hours, but cannot afford their own cafeterias. No conference or presentation these days can take place without catering, not to mention team-building events, which are very fashionable and in great demand. Every city in Poland has at least half a dozen companies affiliated with hotels or renowned restaurants.

Catering companies in Poland have more private customers. An Easter lunch for a large family is a considerable challenge and not everybody has the time and energy to prepare so many dishes. Catering companies are also the ideal solution for foreigners who live in Poland, offering them a chance to have a Polish-style Easter with genuine traditional dishes. Prices for a lavish Easter breakfast, the most important meal at Easter, start from zl.50 per person. The price includes all the essentials, such as eggs prepared in many ways, salads, roasts and cakes, most notably the Easter specialties baba and mazurek.

The ABC of good catering
"Remember, not all dishes are suitable for catering services," said Maria Kowalewska, a nutritionist. "They have to be dishes that can be kept fresh while they are transported. Unless properly chilled, a salmon sandwich will be no good just a few hours after it has been prepared on a hot day."

How do you know a catering company is competent? First, find out where and how the dishes are prepared. Check if it has appropriate kitchen facilities which comply with hygiene standards. It is unacceptable for a catering company to prepare dishes on several sites, because then there is no way of determining how the food is prepared, if the cooks hold valid certificates and finally, whether the food is transported and stored in refrigerators and cold stores. Few know that as a customer, you are entitled to inspect the kitchen of a catering company to see if it has the right food processing equipment and elementary tableware. You should also ask about certificates on your food's ingredients. You can recognize a professional catering company by a catering license and approval from the Sanitary and Epidemiological Inspectorate (Sanepid). An ISO certificate is an advantage too.
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