Caterers supply food and related services to clients at off premises private or public functions. All food must be prepared at a permitted food facility that has been previously approved by Environmental Health to serve as a "commissary" for the catering operation.
Caterers are subject to the California Retail Food Code and must acquire a valid health permit. To obtain a valid health permit submit an application packet (PDF) with the appropriate fee (PDF) to Environmental Health. For individual pages from the application packet, please see our permits, forms and fees page.
Caterer - Same Owner from Permitted Food Facility
Restaurants and markets that provide catering services are required to obtain a catering permit in addition to their current annual health permit. An example is when a facility prepares the food, transports the food to the event to be catered, and provides staff services and/or multi-use utensils.
A facility that only delivers food and disposable utensils with no additional services provided does not require a catering permit.
Cooks-for-Hire are individuals hired to prepare food at a client’s home or private function. Requirements include:
- Cooks-for-Hire must either use the client’s food or shop directly prior to arriving at the client’s home or private function.
- Cooks-for-Hire must handle and prepare all food at the location of the private function.
- No food is allowed to be stored, prepared, or handled at the private home of the Cook-for-Hire.
- Cooks-for-Hires are not required to obtain a health permit but must fill out a Cook-for-Hire Statement (PDF) in order for their Business License Application to be approved.
Cooks-for-Hire are not regulated by Environmental Health. Due to the risks involved with a Cook-for-Hire using his or her own personal equipment, it is highly recommended by this office that all equipment be provided by the client and not the Cook-for-Hire him/herself.