A Catering Assistant's Duties

Written by alan faeorin-cruich
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A Catering Assistant's Duties
Preparing side salads is an advanced duty of a catering assistant. (dish 3 image by Igor Kovalenko from Fotolia.com)

Catering assistants help prepare appetizers, main dishes, side dishes and desserts; serve meals to guests; wash dinnerware; and clean equipment. A catering assistant's job can be demanding, but it is also rewarding to work with a group of professionals committed to making events such as weddings and birthdays special. These workers experience a great deal of personal satisfaction when people enjoy the occasion and the meal they helped to put together.

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Preparing the Kitchen

An important task of a catering assistant is to prepare the kitchen for the chef. They review the menu for an event and ensure the correct food is taken out of the freezer to defrost. Meat must be defrosted overnight while fruit needs only two hours. Catering assistants also set up equipment, such as electronic mixers, food processors and slicers, and lay out necessary tools and utensils. They pre-heat ovens to the correct temperature and pre-boil water so it is ready for the chef.

Preparing Food Items

A catering assistant is responsible for preparing food to be cooked by the chef. Rinsing, peeling and trimming fruits and vegetables are routine preliminary tasks. Preparing decorative vegetables such as a rose tomato also might be a task assigned to a catering assistant. Some catering assistants prepare and serve side salads and basic desserts.

Serving Meals

A catering assistant helps to serve meals, getting completed dishes ready to be taken to guests. They will distribute the portions a chef has cooked or simply add the final garnish to the plates. When preparing desserts, catering assistants often add fun touches, such as sprinkles, spiral syrup patterns and paper umbrellas.

Washing Dishes

Dishwashing is not the most glamorous duty, but necessary in any kitchen. It is the catering assistant's job to wash and put away all dishes coming into the kitchen. They load and unload electronic dishwashers and wash special utensils and equipment manually. Unclogging the mixer is a particularly difficult job.


Maintaining the kitchen and keeping it clean is the duty of the catering assistant. This includes wiping and sterilising work surfaces, mopping floors and cleaning kitchen equipment. Cleanliness is important as federal health and safety regulations must be met. Local health agencies could perform an unannounced inspection at any time, so a kitchen must be in proper compliance.

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