Today while shopping for a truck with my family, I met a chef/car salesman. He was very excited to learn that I'm interested in catering/cooking and promptly forgot about selling us a truck and instead sold us on Cordon Bleu and how great high-end catering is. A very nice, funny, Italian man. So nice that he gave me his business card ("An Affair to Remember Catering") and told me to call him anytime and he'd hire me to work whatever job his company was doing - just so I could learn what it was like. He told a lot of great stories and passed on some of his wise-advice to young chefs:
"Always add fresh basil toward the end of cooking." (I knew that, but thought it was great that that's what he decided to tell me.)
"You can always add more spices, but you can't take them out."
"If a caterer takes the extra food home with him, never hire him again!" (That means old food is likely to be used for your event.)
"If you're going to culinary school, you already know how to cook. But you'll learn how to coordinate foods, learn how to get 8 plates out at the exact same time, and most importantly confidence!"
"I've owned a catering company for 28 years. I still panic occasionally."
Human Meat Thermometer:
Rare: form a relaxed "C" with your hand. Press the flesh on the top of your hand between your thumb and finger. This is how a rare piece of meat or steak will feel.
Medium: Press thumb against first finger. Press on flesh just above the crease of your two fingers. This is medium.
Well-done: Form a fist. Press just below your knuckle. This is well-done. Your meat should never feel like this. ;)