My Caterer’s Insecurity: ‘They Make Me Seem Like I’m Just a Clambake Guy!’

GABRIELLE: Earlier today I called my caterer to ask for sample menus and the following conversation ensued:

“We don’t do sample menus,” Tony says in his Long Island accent, “check out our website.” *

“Your website, though great,” (I fib here), “has a general menu. Can you at least email me a photo of how you serve your food?” I ask politely.

“No,” he says, and an edge creeps into his voice that wasn’t there when we signed his contract. At that point he was going to “make all of our dreams come true.”

“I’m feeling attacked,” Tony continues, “and I don’t like it.”

“I’m sorry?” I ask meekly.

“You’re making it seem as though I don’t know what I’m doing and I don’t like that,” he says, the edge getting sharper.

“It’s just that the wedding is a few months away,” I explain, “and I want to choose the menu.”

“You know, I’ve heard from other people that you’re stressed out about your wedding,” Tony’s taking the gloves off, “and that’s really a pity. This should be a very happy time for you. Really.” Then adds, “What a shame.”

“Who would say that?” I ask, now less meek and more pissed. “I don’t think it’s professional to tell me that!” Granted I’m stressed but I’m not going to hear about it from my caterer. “You try planning a wedding, running your own business while you accidentally get KNOCKED UP!!!” I want to shout into the phone.

Now I think back to the only person we know in common…the florist…who insisted on giving my grandmother the bouquet. That bitch.

“Look Tony,” I start again in my sweetest voice, “people have told us that you make a killer tuna but that your staff doesn’t present itself too well…and I’m concerned.” Now I’m starting to feel a little better after that dig.

“Who said that?!” He’s fully riled up.

“At the party rental place.”

“I am never giving them business again!” he cries. “They make me seem like I’m just a clam-bake guy!”

“Well, that is the name of your business,” I respond, ruing the day I chose a clam bake guy to do my wedding. (He had sworn up and down that he also catered high-end events.)

“What makes me special is that I work with the bride to make anything she wants…” I’ve heard this “special” song before. “You can give me recipes and I’ll make them. That’s what makes me so special.” Now I realize he needs me to think up a menu because he can’t do it himself.

“Well, I appreciate that but, as a bride, I don’t want to be clipping recipes for you. I need to know that you can come up with a good menu…”

“Yours is the only wedding of its caliber I am doing this summer!” Now he’s on a defensive tirade. “Soon I’m going to raise my rates to the prices of Art of Eating! And Robbins Wolffe!” (Two of the best caterers on the East End.)

“Tony, I have to go. I’ll send you some ideas,” I cave in, “and sample menus.” I don’t have a choice. He has our $6,000 deposit and signed contract.

I hang up the phone frustrated, but I have no time to dwell. In an hour I have my first sonogram. My mood shifts and I smile to myself, lost for a moment and stunned at the miracle growing inside me.

* Tony’s name has been changed. My Caterer’s Insecurity: ‘They Make Me  Seem Like I’m Just a Clambake Guy!’