I'm going to a banquet for the soccer team and I'm the only vegetarian on the team. How do I let the caterer know that I'll need something different to eat?
The earlier you contact the catering company, the more likely it is that they'll be able to work with you. You can call or email them. Start by explaining what you do and don't eat, in case they have a different idea of what "vegetarian" means than you do. Next, ask what they're planning to serve to the rest of the team. How could the caterer adapt the meal to fit your diet? On pasta, maybe they could replace the meat sauce with marinara, or if they're serving hamburgers, perhaps you could get a veggie burger instead. As back-up, have a few simple vegetarian meals in mind: a hummus wrap, bean burrito, or vegetable and tofu stir-fry, for example. When you get to the banquet, introduce yourself to the caterer and remind him or her about what you've arranged. Lastly, remember to be polite and gracious throughout your communication. Not only is the catering company (hopefully) going out of their way to accommodate your food choices, but also, if they have a positive experience with you, they'll be happy to work with other vegetarians in the future.
Written by Sarah Alper, a VRG volunteer and lifelong vegan