Good, cheap caterers?
I picked up a recommendation off this board a few months ago for a young caterer, Will Mercer, and he has since cooked for us on more than one occasion. I thought he was innovative and he was willing to adjust the budget to the event. For example, I got him to cook a quite formal dinner and I paid fairly serious money for that (and it was worth every penny) but when he catered a casual buffet party, he came up with some good suggestions at a very reasonable cost per head and my guests were really impressed. I recommended him to a friend recently and my friend was also pleased.
I don't think he has a website which is a pity but he told me he is going to set one up. Last time I spoke to him, Will told me that he is planning to offer some cooking classes as well.
(He also makes a wonderful sushi platter.)
I find the prepared platters to be fantastically expensive even if the quality were good, which it isn't, its crap.
We have revolted against caterers. When we have need we make a table with some smoked salmon, cold cuts, cut vegetables (much cheaper than crudites), good bread (now generally Portuguese), fruit and good baking.
This sort of thing doesn't take much time to put together. Success depends on getting good quality ingredients. Aluminum foil on plates enhances presentation and the beauty comes from the items themselves.
We do this to give your guests something good to eat that they will enjoy, (and at a reasonable price) rather than something to photograph. If anyone objects to putting substance over form, its their problem. We also get psychological pleasure from refusing to be exploited by caterers and gouged by governemnts collecting 15% sales taxes on top of a too high bill.