Now, everyone knows that a person with a full stomach is a happy person. It's a fact of life. If you don't agree with me, get out. Leave. Don't ever come back here again. If you do agree with me, or if you simply don't care enough to leave, then join me as we explore the inner workings of the film food business. Essentially, the business includes three branches: craft services, caterers, and food stylists. These wonderful people have a lot on their plate...get it? Let's see what their exact responsibilities are...
Sounds simple enough, right? Craft services, which is a separate entity from catering, encompasses all of the wonderfully assorted snacks and beverages provided to the film crew. The godsend in charge of craft service sets and maintains a station near the production that makes these snacks and beverages available to all the hardworking folk on the crew. A budget is given to the craft service person prior to attaining all the refreshments. I guess Costco just isn't good enough for some people. Personally, I'd be fine with some Cheez-Its and juice boxes.
The caterer takes care of the main meals for a production. While craft services prepares the snacks, the caterer plans, organizes, and prepares all the substantial nourishment for everyone. Having a caterer on location is a serious convenience. On one hand, the crew can be more efficient. The food is right there for them to grab on a thirty-minute lunch break. On the other hand, you save extremely valuable production time and money without the need to transport the crew to and from meals. Caterers have been known to serve small crews from ten people to enormous crews of hundreds of people. "But what can I eat? I'm vegan?" "What about me? I can't eat gluten!" No worries! These are fairly common requests for production caterers. They'll cater to your personal needs! (I'm on fire today with these puns).
But what if you want your food to look nice? Let's be honest, we ALL want our food to look as good as it [hopefully] tastes. This is where the food stylist comes in. Their job is to prepare and arrange food in a particularly appealing way. They typically have an extensive background in cooking, recipe development, and the ability to make food look its best. Oh yeah, I almost forgot to tell you that the food stylist doesn't actually help out the crew. Not really, anyway. Their job is aimed at food used in photographs, commercials, or movies. So they're making sure the food looks good on camera, not on your plate. Sorry I didn't mention that sooner.
It's often a crew member's first question when walking on set (or at least it's mine) to ask what's being served for lunch. It turns out that it's not actually the producers' job to take care of it, although that's how we've been doing it on our student films. Food service workers are, in my personal opinion, some of the most spectacular people on a production. And if you don't agree with that, well, you can just keep that to yourself.