Catering Music Videos

>> Thursday, June 17, 2010

A few months ago I was lucky enough to be hired as a caterer/craft services person for two music video shoots. I also got to do the food styling for one of the videos. It was an awesome experience; I catered a web series shoot last year as well and though it was stressful, it was well worth it.
So far, all of my catering ventures have been done by myself with some heavy lifting and assistance from my sous-chef and a few friends. There is so much that goes into catering events like these that it can be really daunting. All the shoots I've done have been for between 20 and 40 people which may not seem like a lot but with my tiny kitchen, limited equipment and full-time job, it really adds up.
The hardest part of catering for me is not the cooking but the planning. I spent hours figuring out the perfect dishes for the locations: food that will stay warm but not wilt in the sun if the shoot is outside, options for vegetarians and people like me with food allergies and intolerances. I had to calculate how much food each person would be expected to eat and I had to do all this on an extremely tight budget which meant driving to many, many different stores to get the cheapest available ingredients.
 I learned an immense amount from these experiences and I still have a lot to learn. Cooking the food and serving it was fun but the planning and shopping were agonizing. I laughed, cried and lost my mind several times a day while working on this. I don't think people realize that the food that materializes in front of them at chow time, didn't just get whipped up in the kitchen and dropped off. It involved weeks of planning, shopping, prepping and then hours of cooking, packaging, cooling, re-heating, transporting and serving. Hearing that people enjoy your food is so satisfying but hearing people complain makes you want to put them in a choke hold and explain the calculations you used to determine the exact amount of beef, chicken, onions and peppers to buy in order to make fajitas for 30 people. In the end, there were successes (gluten-free triple berry cobbler with ice cream) and failures (cheesecake brownies that didn't cook through and looked like wet tar) but the experience itself was priceless and made me a much better chef and caterer.
 The day after every shoot I swear to myself that I will NEVER put myself through the torture of it again but the second someone asks me to do it, I jump at the chance. The bottom line is that I love to cook for people. Watching people dig into a giant batch of baked ziti after they've been working in the sun since 6AM warms my heart and knowing that I am able to feed people well on mere dollars per person makes me feel accomplished. And now I'd like to present the videos I cooked for.
 This video for the song World News is by LA/OC band, Local Natives. All the food you see was made by me. If you even knew the blood, sweat and tears that went into making this food...well you'd understand why the food tasted so bad!
I wanted to make food that would pop on camera and look both elegant and trippy.  I accomplished this but the one thing the food wasn't was tasty. Crisco frosting piped into parmesan cheese crisps looks a hell of a lot better than it tastes but no one seemed to mind too much. Enjoy!

The second video for the song Neverest is by Chicago band Hey Champ. Fair warning: this video is totally crazy and also features nudity and some slightly frightening visuals so if that doesn't sound up your alley, I won't be offended if you skip it. Being on set and seeing how different the final product turned out was awe inspiring to me. Computers can do crazy things.

Want to know what I served? For the Local Natives I made: garlic bread, Greek salad with homemade lemon oregano vinaigrette, baked ziti with mozzarella cheese, sweet Italian sausage, sauteed onions and tri-color peppers and the failed cheesecake brownies. (plus breakfast and snacks)
For Hey Champ I made a fajita bar with chicken, beef, veggies, corn or flour tortillas, Spanish rice, pinto beans, guacamole, sour cream, cheese, salsa and chips and  a southwest salad with corn and avocado with a choice of homemade creamy cilantro dressing or lime vinaigrette and triple berry cobbler with vanilla ice cream for dessert. Also, snacks, coffee and more coffee as this was a night shoot that went from 7PM until 8AM!


Bri June 19, 2010 at 7:29:00 PM PDT  

I found you while looking for other people's SIBO experiences (great post by the way - a huge thank you for sharing that). But after reading some newer entries, I can't stop laughing about how small the blogasphere is - not only did my bf produce that Local Natives song - but I was @ Skylight books for Molly's reading as well last month. Too funny.
Hope you are feeling better and so glad I found your great blog - definitely getting added to my reader!

Callie @ The Picky Gourmet June 20, 2010 at 11:00:00 PM PDT  

Hey Bri! I am always saying that L.A. is SUCH a small town! Sounds like we have an awful lot in common. I am feeling intermittently better but much better than I felt a few months ago. Ah, the joys of SIBO! Hope to see you around the internet and if you see me in real life again, come say hi!

Pro-Portional June 24, 2010 at 6:53:00 PM PDT  

This is phenomenal I genuinely feel happy for you on this and look forward to hearing more about your educational and fascinating catering forrays

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