Catering Guidelines

Based on California Retail Food Code (CRFC), Chapter 3, 4, 5,6, and 7 and the CA Conference of Directors of Environmental Health Guidelines


Cook-for-Hire: A cook-for-hire is not a caterer, but is a person who is hired to prepare and/or serve food at a private on-site event. All food prepared by the cook-for-hire is handled at the location of the event. No food is stored or prepared off site. A cook-for-hire is not regulated by this Division and is not required to obtain a health permit. Please provide a statement of intent and a copy of business license for health permit exemption.
Cook-for-Hire Statement Form


A caterer is regulated and permitted by this Department. A caterer is a person, business, or food facility that prepares, transports, and serves food at public and/or private events with indirect sales. The caterer may provide staff services for the event. The food is stored and prepared in an approved, permitted, permanent food facility, regulated under the California Retail Food Code (CRFC) through an annual health permit. There are two types of caterers: :

  • Type 1: A fixed restaurant facility that also caters. This facility holds a health permit that allows catering (i.e., the permit should designate the facility as a "Plus Catering"). Prior to any catering, the restaurant is required to submit a separate plan review of the catering operation for review and approval by this Department.

  • Type 2: A caterer who utilizes a permitted kitchen, provides a written agreement for use of that kitchen, and obtains a catering permit. The caterer is required to submit a complete plan review of the catering operation for review and approval by this Division prior to obtaining a health permit and beginning operation. The caterer is required, among other things, to submit a "Verification of Commissary" form .

A caterer is required to prepare all food at the approved food establishment, with the exception of bar-be-que. If a caterer is conducting direct sales, then it may only be done at a Community Event (e.g., a booth at the County Fair), the operation is then a Temporary Food Facility, requiring a different health permit and permit fee. 

Permit Fees: There is an annual health permit fee and a plan review fee.

To make the caterer plan review process as easy as possible, complete the following check list to assure that you have all the necessary information required for plan review. An El Dorado County business license with approval for the Planning, Fire, and Building Departments is required prior to Environmental Health approval.