Advice from a Central Coast Caterer

Advice from a central coast caterer

I find myself in the groove of writing these blogs for Popolo Catering. Initially, I wondered what to write and what our readers would want to know. These blogs serve to offer advice to all of Popolo Catering fantastic clients’; advice that our team is brimming with. Sometimes, I take for granted that I grew up with Leon Castillo as my father. I could ask him literally any question about party planning or food, and he always had the answer. When I got married and moved out on my own, I often found myself dialing my dad’s number, asking questions like, “Hey, Dad, I have friends coming over for Thanksgiving at around 2 pm, what time do I need to put in the turkey?” There was no Google back then; there was only Leon. It got me thinking about the wisdom Chef Leon had imparted over the years, which I still rely on. Popolo Catering uses these very tips and tricks, which have contributed to its’ status as a premier catering company on the Central Coast of California. Now, I’m excited to pass this advice from a Central Coast Caterer on to you. 

 How much food per person

How much meat do you need per person at an event? This is, without a doubt, my most frequently used piece of Leon’s advice when I’m planning my own parties. The answer is straightforward: for chicken, you need a quarter piece per person, for beef you require a half pound per person. I’m not entirely sure why these numbers stick in my mind, but I do know they work for events with men, women, and children. If you’re feeding a team of football players, you’ll want to increase that amount significantly, as these individuals tend to eat more than the average guest. 

 Cake Time

Cake time is another piece of Leon’s wisdom that stands out. If you have 50 people coming to the party, it doesn’t mean you need cake for all 50. Why? Because not everyone eats cake. You can always cut the slices a bit smaller, which saves money in the end. I often recall this advice when I’m tempted to make a two-tier cake for my kids’ birthday parties. Then only to toss away half of it two days later. So, remember, not everyone eats cake. 

 Plan for Everyone

Plan for everyone, not just your tastes. My dad is an incredible host who loves throwing parties in his own home. Combine his hosting experience with being a premier caterer on the Central Coast of California, and you have advice for days. One tip I consistently use is to “create your menu with your guests in mind, not just your personal preferences”. This applies to many aspects, like salsa. If most guests don’t enjoy spicy food, don’t make salsa that could melt their faces off. Your guests will appreciate being able to enjoy the salsa, and you’ll feel great knowing they’re enjoying what you’ve prepared. The same applies to the doneness of meat. If you prefer your meat rare, keep some on the grill a little longer so that everyone can have their favorite, such as well-done or medium. So keep this advice in mind next time you plan a menu. 


What time should I start my event? If you plan to serve a full meal at your event, it’s a good idea to start at a traditional mealtime, like 12 pm for lunch. However, if you’re opting for light appetizers and snacks, you can wait and start at 2:00 pm, saving on the cost per person. This approach works well for events like birthday parties and weddings or baby showers. Be honest on the invitation, saying, “We invite you to join us for light appetizers and drinks,” so your guests won’t be surprised later with the lack of a large meal.  

I am grateful to have a caterer as my father. It has proven invaluable not only for event planning but also for my everyday life as a mom and wife. I believe these tips will be just as helpful to you, which is why I wanted to share this advice. It is like having your very own catering expert as a dad that you can call for party planning guidance. 


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Written By:

Marissa Dominguez

Popolo Blogs and Social Media Coordinator

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