Nora Mensah from Ghana is a current Northwest Community College Initiative participant studying Hospitality and Tourism Management at Whatcom Community College. Before coming to the United States, she ran her own mini-catering business and would eventually like to open her own café. Every spring, NWCCI students do an unpaid internship in their field of study at a local business or organization. Here Nora shares her internship experience at Memorable Events and Catering in Bellingham, Washington:
Memorable Events and Catering is a catering firm owned by Melissa Elenbaas. They cater and organize all types of functions ranging from birthday parties, weddings, anniversaries to business luncheons. They work from a huge industrial kitchen where they also rent out the space to individuals who don’t have space and permits to cook and serve meals.
The nature of the work is not a routine; I always have something different and interesting to do. I normally go on Wednesdays, and most weekends as it’s the nature of catering when people often have their events over the weekends. Some Wednesdays I get there at 10:00 am and set up our testing room where we prepare and serve meals to our prospective couples so they can have a taste of the meals they wish to have served at their wedding. There I help out in the kitchen to prepare the meals, and together with Melissa, I host the couples together. We see what the couples are interested in and take notes as they eat. Sometimes we make suggestions, which is fun. I normally end my day at 5:00 pm, but this varies when we have an event. Sometimes I get there at 5:00 pm and close at 10:00 pm.
There are many hidden traits in this occupation, which can be learned through practical application. I would say I have learned things like hosting couples, which I never did back home. I have also learned about inventory merchandising and shopping for events, and recently I helped estimated food costs for guests.
For me the best thing about working for Memorable Events is Melissa she takes the time to teach me how menus are formulated, how to price meals and new ways of preparing food.
My experience has been awesome. I have learned many intrinsic skills in dealing with our interactions with our clients and making good meals, which serves as a huge form of advertisement by word of mouth. We also have the social media face of the company, which I am definitely taking with me.