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Paella amor's story of how we became a reputable Sydney caterer

Updated: Apr 12, 2021

It all began with an idea. Well actually I was sick of working for other people. Early 2013 was a fantastic time for Alli and I. Alli was well into her role as office manager at Sydney Harbour Yacht Charter and I had just resigned from a reputable Sydney Caterer. We had only been going out for about 6 months and were on a trip to Melbourne when we joked about starting our own food truck in Sydney.

Paella was an obvious choice as I had learned to cook paella from Miguel Maestre at an event in Sydney. So we started our research. About 2 months later we decided that $100,000 was probably too much to set up our own truck. There had to be many modifications such as lowering the floor and it was not as simple as cutting a hole in the side of a truck and chucking a paella pan inside.

Alli came up with the great idea that we should start a catering company before we started the truck. That way we could build a client base and get our name known to the public. This has actually worked really well as we now have a great reputation amongst not only paella caterers in Sydney but also all general Sydney caterers, event planners and function venues.

So we went to work starting a Sydney catering company. Now this is a lot harder than it may seem. Luckily I had a fair bit of capital which I was able to invest into the business. I still remember our first paella pans and burners had to be shipped in via sea freight from the USA. This cost us around $4300 and then we got hit with customs fees and duty tax which we didn't even think about.

I went to pick up our first pans from the freight company in Alexandria in my Mazda 3. Of course the pans were 1.15m in diameter so wouldn't fit in the car and the freight workers ended up tieing it too the roof. I remember wondering what we had got ourselves into then. The car looked like it was a mushroom. Needless to say we have learnt a lot since then. Purchased a car which fit the pans in it (and before that a trailer that the pans would fit in too which the Mazda would tow) as well as made various changes to our prep, menus and offering.

To begin with we used to prep in a rent by the hour kitchen in Sydney. This was expensive but the only way to do it as it is illegal to prep in a home kitchen which has not been converted into a commercial kitchen. Since then we have moved out kitchen twice and are currently based on the Northern Beaches of Sydney in Balgowlah. Here our catering offering has grown from just paella to incorporate a tapas menu and also dessert. We are constantly adapting the menu to what our clients like and want to ensure we keep people coming back.

The idea of Paella amor is to continue to update our offering to give our clients what they want, not what we think they want. If anyone has any feedback for us we would love to hear it!

Paella amor today is a fun, young company which is still finding its feet. It does however have a refined product offering with excellent food and superb service.

Paella is perfect for affordable celebrations, cooking classes, weddings, birthdays and engagement parties. It is a delicious sharing dish which lets people interact with the chefs and the cooking process. It is a truly unique Sydney catering offering from a truly unique Sydney caterer. Get in contact and see how we can help you for your next event.

Tim and Alli.

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