Willie and Alma are the backbone of our humble business. We sat down and asked them a few questions so that our customers (and potential customers) could get to know them a bit more. We are told this is a one time only affair so here we go:
How long have you both worked for Catering Catering?
Willie: I started just after Merv and Glenny bought the company in November 2008.
Alma: I have worked for Merv and Glenny for about 9 years (I think!) The years seem to have passed by so quickly. I worked for the company long before Merv and Glenny bought the business, so when they bought the business they kind of inherited me LoL. All up I have worked here for 15 years this October.
We hear you are a jack and jill of all trades but what are the main things you each do at Catering Catering?
Willie: I do the salad prep (we make all our own salads). I portion control the meat and butcher it. I also work as the team leader on jobs, and cook meals and get everything looking nice for serving. I also prepare menus for special functions that are out of the norm. I also help reset the kitchen after each event.
Alma: My role in the company is quite blurred- I dabble in all areas of the business from email and phone enquiries, logistics for the events themselves, salad prep, packing equipment for jobs. I also act as team leader on jobs while at the same time getting my hands dirty with cleaning up etc. I also do some small equipment maintenance (Merv has been teaching me some light equipment repairs of spits and BBQ’s). So pretty much anything that requires attention. Being a small business it is really about rolling up the sleeves and doing what needs to be done.
Willie we hear you are the resident cook – how did you get into cooking and what would you say your specialty is?
Willie: I have always liked cooking and started when I was 16 years. I’ve been cooking ever since. That’s a whopping 46 years dealing with food and catering. After 46 years I don’t have a speciality – I can do most and anything.
What is the best part about working in the catering industry?
Willie: The best part about working in the catering industry is that it’s not a 9-5 job. You are cooking different foods everyday which makes it challenging. The best thing about catering is the pressure of producing great food that people enjoy.
Alma: I love being part of creating a memorable day. I enjoy preparing the food and seeing it all beautifully presented. I love that we are able to take the pressure off the host and facilitate the day so that they can actually enjoy themselves.
And what about the best part about working for Catering Catering?
Willie: Let me count the ways!! Lol. Working for Catering Catering is not like a real job- it’s more like a family where we work together to produce great functions for customers. When we cater to a customers event they can see we are a happy crew.
Alma: I love our team – we have a great group of people working here (am not just saying that cos I work here) we really do complement each other like a well-oiled machine. We not only work hard but we have a bit of fun. I like how simple our prices and ordering structure are (none of this hidden costs stuff) what you see is what you get. If you order a meal you know from day one what you are getting and it’s pretty straight forward from there. We are very customer focus so if you are unsure of something we are always happy to answer it with transparency.
You spend all day (and sometimes night) making (and serving) food for others, what do you guys like to eat when you are off duty?
Willie: I like to eat spicy Asian/Thai food. Bake Beans on Toast is just as good though, lol.
Alma: Hmm- I have three kids so usually what they like to eat. I love curry dishes (hot ! but the kids tend to get theirs before I add more chilli), Homemade pizzas (with invisible veges-don’t tell the kids) and usually I invent some made up dish from whatever I have in the fridge.
Tell us something about Merv and glenise that people reading this may not know?
Willie: Merv and Glenny take their role as caterers very seriously. They like to produce their menus to the highest quality. But at the same time when they are on jobs they can have a laugh with the clients.
Alma: I might not work here after this lol. Seriously in all honesty- Merv and Glenny are the two most easy going bosses I have worked for and with. They work hard like the rest of us and despite being owners they are not shy in getting their hands dirty (like the dishes, cleaning toilets and the rubbish) they would not get anyone to do what they themselves would not do. In fact without sounding like a kiss arse- they are genuinely nice everyday people.
Funniest thing you ever saw or heard when out on a job (that you can repeat lol)?
Willie: We were back at base and we had a young boy working with us who wasn’t very co-ordinated. We had a supervisor who said to him “the van is empty put the back door hatch down” which he did but the supervisor was standing right under the door which hit him square on the noggin (haha).
Alma: I don’t know if it’s the funniest but certainly a realization (I can laugh about it now) a toddler who as we all know are very curious was unattended for a short time by his parents. Willie and I were busy setting up everything and doing some final touches to the buffet tables just before dine time when everything is kind of chaotic. In the corner of my eye I see this little boy holding our very large and very sharp carving knife -charging (like you see in action movie) towards us with a bit of a wobble as he probably hasn’t been walking for long. At the same time his dad looks up to see what was happening (trying to process what was happening) as I calmly grabbed the very large and very sharp knife off him. That was scary, so now I make sure that the knives are wrapped up away from little hands.