The lunch you’re catering at the wedding of a friend next week—who’s it for?
It might be for the bride, because it’s her special day, so you should make food she likes.
It might be for the guests, because they’re the guests, and so you should make something universally appreciated, the way you’d cook for a Super Bowl party.
It might be a chance to have an audience for your food, so you can cook to impress.
It might be to earn status for the parents of the bride, so nachos are out of the question.
It might be to demonstrate conspicuous consumption. Spending far more than you have to in order to amaze and impress the guests.
Or it might be to get by without your budget showing, so that prestige is conferred at a lower actual cost.
It might be to please the facilities manager, who is a real jerk, and who has power over you.
Or perhaps your waitstaff will walk off the job if they have to hand roll and serve 1,000 stalks of asparagus in puff pastry.
Begin with a simple question: What’s it for?