Have you ever wondered what it’s like catering for a film crew? If so, you’re in for a treat. Today, we’re pulling back the curtain to give you an insider’s view of our day-to-day life.
So, grab a coffee, and get cozy. We hope you have fun reading this look behind the scenes!
what a typical day on a film set looks like
One word: chaos!
There’s really no such thing as a “typical” day for us. Every day is different and has challenges, but generally, we show up with our mobile kitchen and a support box truck, unload a generator, plug in the truck, turn on the propane, and start cooking breakfast.
We usually ask for an hour on location to get ready for breakfast, but sometimes it’s less. We have to make it happen on time, though–no matter what.
We serve breakfast from our truck window and have a menu board so that the cast and crew can see their options. Since we work with the same people so often, people often request items that are not on the menu because they know we can make it happen. (That’s the way we do things at Mundo Catering!)
Breakfast burritos and sandwiches are some of our most popular breakfast items, as they are grab-and-go options that can be eaten standing up. (Plus, they work great as hand warmers when it’s chilly out!)
Breakfast service lasts for an hour or two. Then, we prepare for lunch. Sometimes, we get to stay in the same location, and other times, we have to pack everything up and move to another location for lunch service. Ideally, we would have seven hours between the start of breakfast and when we need to serve lunch, but we’ve made it work in as little as three hours.
Before the pandemic, we would set up a full buffet for lunch to get everyone through as quickly as possible. That would usually include a full salad bar, multiple proteins, sides, vegetables, fruit, bread, dessert, and condiments. However, we had to adjust things due to COVID.
We would serve all meals from the kitchen window, and people could choose from a meat entrée, seafood entrée, or vegan entrée, and add on pre-plated salads, fruit, dessert, and beverages.
Buffets are slowly making their way back. However, the production industry is ultra cautious, and many still prefer to stay away from self-service buffets.
After we get word that the “last man” has gone through, we can take our lunch break or start breaking down if we have already taken a break. We break down, pack up, tie down, and head back to our shop if we are working locally. Then, we still need to shop, clean the trucks, wash dishes, and reload for the next day. Sleep comes easily after such long days, as you might imagine!
how does prepping work?
Ahead of time, we chop vegetables for omelets; crack eggs (we only use shell eggs); and load dishes, dry goods, and equipment. We also make sure we have gas and propane, as well as ice and drinks in the coolers. And, of course, we arrange the trucks so that nothing falls in transit.
On-site, we do almost everything else. That includes cutting vegetables and meats for lunch, making salads and portioning desserts, marinating, searing, sautéing, roasting, etc.
what we plan for
As a film production caterer, you have to be ready for anything. That means dust storms, car accidents, forgetting necessary items, calls-outs, no cell service, getting stuck in the mud, breaking down on the side of the road, and waiting six hours for a tow truck. We’ve dealt with it all.
We’ve had pop-up tents, tables, and chairs blown into the river while working in the Columbia Gorge. We’ve had flat tires and had to set up to cook on the side of the highway, shuttling food while the production transportation department fixed the tire.
We’ve worked in rainstorms so strong that we got soaked just moving between our vehicles and a tent a few feet away. We’ve driven through a tornado on the way to eastern Oregon, with hail so large it chipped our windshield.
We’ve had production change serving hours on us so many times, and we always have to be ready for it. Several times, we’ve been told that lunch would be at 1 p.m. and then would have someone show up at noon and ask if we were ready to serve immediately.
We do our best, but we aren’t magicians! So, we always appreciate it when the lines of communication are strong. We’ve worked in the middle of nowhere, supplying our own water and generators, with the closest shopping two hours away (sometimes with the shopping options being so limited that we’ve had to work with the grocery stores and have them order meat and produce for us. We can clean out a store very quickly!).
favorite thing about film production catering
We love how appreciative and friendly everyone always is. We’ve had very few poor experiences. People are always excited to see Chef Javier. They know he will take care of them and make miracles happen. (We’re so lucky to have him and the rest of the incredible Mundo Catering crew!)
We’ve found the one niche in food service where bad customer interactions are a rarity–as long as we do our job anyway!
about us | portland film catering services
Mundo Catering is a Portland-based catering company that serves film sets, weddings, private events, and beyond. We are skilled in multiple styles of dishes and are always sure to cater to dietary needs and allergy requirements at the customer’s request. Giving you delicious food and a pleasant customer service experience is what we do.
Ready to schedule catering for your film crew? Get in touch with our team today: (971) 302-5041