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Caterers supply food and related services to clients at off premises private or public functions.  All food must be prepared at a permitted food facility that has been previously approved by Environmental Health to serve as a "commissary" for the catering operation. 

Caterers are subject to the California Retail Food Code and must acquire a valid health permit.  To obtain a valid health permit submit an application packet with the appropriate fee to Environmental Health.  For individual pages from the application packet, please see our Permits, Forms & Fees page.

Caterer- Same Owner from Permitted Food Facility

Restaurants and markets that provide catering services are required to obtain a catering permit in addition to their current annual health permit. An example is when a facility prepares the food, transports the food to the event to be catered, and provides staff services and/or multi-use utensils.

A facility that only delivers food and disposable utensils with no additional services provided does not require a catering permit.


Cooks-for-Hire are individuals hired to prepare food at a client’s home or private function. Requirements include:

  • Cooks-for-Hire must either use the client’s food or shop directly prior to arriving at the client’s home or private function. 
  • Cooks-for-Hire must handle and prepare all food at the location of the private function. 
    • No food is allowed to be stored, prepared, or handled at the private home of the Cook-for-Hire.
  • Cooks-for-Hires are not required to obtain a health permit but must fill out a Cook-for-Hire Statement in order for their Business License Application to be approved.

Cooks-for-Hire are not regulated by Environmental Health. Due to the risks involved with a Cook-for-Hire using his or her own personal equipment, it is highly recommended by this office that all equipment be provided by the client and not the Cook-for-Hire him/herself.

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