‘Catholics should support Catholic Caterers’- Bishop Aloysius, MLC Ivan D’Souza, MLA JR Lobo
Mangaluru : When is the last time you saw a Catholic Caterer at a Hindu or Muslim function? Never- or probably one in a hundred or thousand. How many times have you experienced a tasteless Catholic Mangalorean traditional cuisine catered by a non-Catholic caterer at a Roce/wedding reception? Probably, quite a few times. Once at a wedding reception dinner the pork bafat tasted like Chicken Puli-Munchi- Guess why? The catering was done by Poojary Caterers! Another time at a Roce dinner, the tradition Catholic Mangalorean dessert, the ‘Vorn’ tasted like Pirini- Guess why? The catering was done by Oosama Caterers! If majority of Hindu and Muslim communities hire caterers from their own community so that they can have their traditional community meal at their function, then why is that majority of Catholic communities are not hiring Catholic caterers for their functions- instead give orders to non-Catholic caterers.
The above was one of the issues that a bunch of Catholic Caterers joined together to form a association called ” Catholic Caterers Association (CCA)” which was inaugurated by Most Rev Dr Aloysius Paul D’Souza- the Bishop of Mangaluru Diocese on Easter Sunday, 27 March 2016 at St Sebastian Platinum Jubilee Auditorium- Bendore. The CCA was launched by lighting the traditional lamp and also by unveiling the CCA logo by the Bishop, joined by other guests of honour on the dais namely- MLA JR Lobo; MLC Ivan D’Souza; Roy Castelino- President of Karnataka Konkani Sahitya Academy; Sr Sylvian- Director,Prashanth Nivas; Lancelot Pinto-MCC Corporator and Sunil Monteiro- Asst. Executive Engineer, MESCOM.
President of CCA, Alwyn Pinto welcomed the gathering and introduced the dignitaries on the dais, followed by briefing about the birth of CCA by treasurer, Ivan D’Souza, where he said, ” Alwyn Pinto, proprietor of Aroma Caterers came up with the idea of forming Catholic Caterers Association with an aim to help solve problems faced by caterers. On July 2015, he invited all the caterers managed by Catholics to meet a local hotel- discussions were finalized and it was approved to form CCA. After receiving tremendous response from caterers of Vittal, Moodbidri, Puttur, and many other surrounding areas, many more caterers joined the association and eventually the CCA board was formed, Alwyn Pinto of Aroma Caterers elected as the president, Divya D’Souza of M D’Souza Caterers as the secretary and Ivan D’ Souza of Aaron caterers as the treasurer”.
Bishop Rev Dr Aloysius P D’Souza addressing the gathering said, ” I am glad that Catholic Caterers have finally joined together to form this association. One should note that in earlier years Catholic caterers would support each other in their catering business, but recently that unity has died down. If one caterer does successfully in his business, others out of hate will try to bring his business down. That should be stopped now that you have formed this association. You need to help each other. If you have succeeded in your catering business, try to help someone who is struggling to come up his catering firm. For the growth and success of Catholic Caterers, the catholic Community should fully support them by patronizing their business to provide service to your grand occasions”.
The Bishop further said, ” You should have two ambitions- one for the growth of your business, and the other, to see that others also grow in their enterprise. “Live and let live” should be your motto, and try to help your neighbour. On this great joy of Easter, let the risen Lord bless CCA and also bless the owners of all Catholic Caterers to be successful in their business”.
MLC Ivan D’Souza speaking during the occasion said, ” I was just wondering why this association took birth so late. It should have been formed years back, before many other non-Catholic caterers stole the ideas and business from Catholic Caterers and became rich and famous. But anyways, as they say better late than never, now that you are part of CCA, make sure you work in unity, follow the required catering laws and regulations- and above all, see that the quality of the food is good, and provide impeccable service. Catering is a risky business- if the quality of food and service is bad you may not get paid and you won’ succeed. So remember to provide good food and good service, and surely you’ll prosper in your business. Best of luck, and if you need assistance from the government, don’t hesitate to contact us”.
MLA JR Lobo addressing the gathering said, ” I think you were all waiting for Easter 2016 to form this association. Now that you have a association, you should start to promote good old-days Mangalurean recipes at the functions, and save our Catholic culture. These days we see modern dishes, some western cuisines- but remember a Catholic function should always have that vintage food recipe and culture. Many a times when I attend Catholic functions, I notice that the Caterer is a non-Catholic. Why is that so? As Catholics we should support our community caterers, rather than support non-Catholics. When non-Catholics only support their community businessmen, why not Catholics? “
Lobo further said, ” One bad thing is that when one Catholic entrepreneur comes up in his business/life, other Catholic entrepreneurs will try to put him down by spreading nasty rumors, thereby ruining his business. This has to be stopped. Also make sure the quality of food is good, and the service is professional and pleasing to your client. Work in unity, and if you need help from the district administration we will oblige you. Let’s all work hand in hand, and see that Catholic entrepreneurs grow and reach greater heights in their businesses. Good luck!”.
Roy Castelino also speaking during the occasion said, ” If Bunts can fully support their own community, Muslims can also do the same, Konkana’s also help their fellow Konkana’s, then why can’t Catholics also support their fellow Catholics in their businesses etc etc. It’s sad to note that these days many Catholic institutions, and Catholic communities give catering order to non-Catholics. This has to be stopped- we need to support our community entrepreneurs. For new business starters you can get help from Rachana – Catholic Chamber of Commerce and Industry, who will always encourage and support budding Catholic entrepreneurs. As a quote says that a friend in need is a friend indeed, let’s all join to help our Catholic friends in their catering business and make them successful”.
Sr Sylvian, Lancelot Pinto, Sunil Monteiro, Gilbert D’Souza- Rachana president also spoke during the occasion and urged Catholics to patronize Catholic caterers.
Two caterers, who were the pioneers of the catering industry were felicitated- namely Mrs Gracy D’Souza, wife of Late John D’Souza- founder of M D’Souza and sons; and Thomas Pinto from Bajpe, popularly known as Thomas Cook. The vote of thanks was proposed by Divya D’Souza, secretary of CCA, while the function was professionally compered by Hera Pinto. The formal function was followed by entertainment comprising of dance, spot games, and off course, the Mother of all Catholic function dance-the Baila, with supporting tunes by the Milagres Brass Band in attendance.
Speaking to Mangalorean.com, Loy D’Souza- the proprietor of M D’Souza caterers said, ” My dad has contributed financially during his time towards many Catholic institution in the city and beyond. I too also have contributed a lot- but when it comes to give orders for their functions, these Catholic institutions prefer non-Catholic caterers. This hurts me a lot, and probably many other Catholic caterers might have the same feeling. People spread rumours that our rates are little higher than non-Catholic caterers- but they should know that we just don’t provide good food, we also provide good service, make sure our servers are well-attired and give proper service, provide better facilities during your dining experience etc etc. Also I have heard rumours that we can’t handle big crowds like non-Catholics caterers do-for your kind information, if we were able to handle over a lakh of pilgrims during Pope’s visit years back, I think M D’souza caterers can handle a crowd of few thousand. I am confident that with the formation of CCA, we can do better than non-Catholic caterers and attract more Catholic communities in giving us business to serve them better with pride and in the spirit of Catholic culture and tradition”.
It is learnt that the association will provide a platform to discuss issues related to catering. The members will also give their expert solutions to problems faced by caterers. The caterers will then find solutions to their problems through feedback from their fellow caterers. The association will also help in obtaining the required food license, FSSAI certificate, service and income tax etc. The organization also will help caterers on food and hygiene practices along with appropriate waste management through workshops.
The primary concern of the association is to raise the standard of food quality and obtain business partnership from the Catholic community. The Association has many plans to strengthen this group of entrepreneurs by improving fellowship and relations within and working together to not only upgrade themselves in terms of standards and professionalism, but more importantly, work together for the betterment of the community. With every business , there are always some challenges along with the rewards. And the catering industry also faces similar challenges with regard to labour problems, maintaining quality standards, government taxes, competition etc. With these issues in mind , the much awaited “Catholic Caterers Association” was formed to serve their clients much better, and regain the confidence with the Catholic Caterers.