In general most states require in-home catering service providers to have a catering permit. These types of permits generally take about five hours to get. Applicants for this permit must first complete a written exam proving that they know how to cook food safely including temperature and how to store food items properly. The testing process takes place in a closed kitchen environment, with all potential hazards brought to light by an inspector. Each applicant will then be assessed according to their knowledge and skills, depending on how much training they have received.
The training should focus on all aspects of the kitchen staff, including safety, sanitation and other operational guidelines. In addition to that, every caterer must follow a specific set of rules that are mandated by the state’s Department of Health. Most state licensing requirements also include a health and safety demonstration, where caterers demonstrate how they handle themselves, their food and the environment in the kitchen.
The type of training offered to prospective caterers typically focuses on both food preparation and cooking. The training is usually split between classes in kitchen safety and cooking skills, which is often taught through a series of demonstrations and lab experiments. Caterers are also taught on the different types of food they can prepare, including hot dogs and hamburgers. It is recommended to learn how to prepare meals according to specific dietary guidelines, in order to ensure that the food is healthy and free from contaminants.
After receiving their food handling certification, students must also complete general food safety and health coursework in order to ensure that their clients have the best possible experience during their event. This requires students to read the Food Code of Oregon and to study all relevant topics regarding food handling and food hygiene, including sanitation and sanitizers. Students will also have to study about food safety and hygiene laws, how food is prepared and transported, and any issues regarding sanitation, health or hygiene that may come up in the event that the food has to be served to a large number of people. Additionally, students will have to demonstrate their ability to use a safe cutting board and utensils. and to clean up after food preparation.
Food safety training is also required for those who plan to start their own catering business but do not have the time or money to attend cooking and food safety courses at the school that they want to go to. Many schools and community colleges offer classes in food safety, sanitation and food handling for free. However, if they cannot afford to enroll in these classes themselves, many local community colleges offer classes on food safety and hygiene through online and in a community club setting.
There are also many culinary arts and catering schools in the Portland area that teach both food safety and hospitality management at a local culinary arts center. Culinary Arts International is one such school. This community school is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Accreditation for Culinary Arts (NCCA).