Taking work on the road

08/05/2014 12:52 AM

08/05/2014 12:53 AM

Paige Timberlake got her first summer job the old-fashioned way.

She used her parents contacts.

Father Darryl Timberlake has known Austin Murray for years and Murray once told his friend that if Paige ever needed a job, just to look him up.

So in June, Paige Timberlake embarked on her first career as a caterer. Murray’s company, Cookshack Catering, is based in Louisburg and works events all over the central North Carolina and, for Paige Timberlake, that’s meant trips to Raleigh and even Warrenton.

“The work is really flexible,” Timberlake said. “He’ll usually call me on Tuesday and ask me if I can work on Saturday. If I can’t, that’s OK, but if I can, then I work,” Timberlake said.

She knows that’s an unusual benefit for most summer jobs, but she says it works well with her summer schedule.

The rising Bunn High School senior says there’s a lot to like about the work.

The company’s jobs come mostly on the weekends and as often as not, they are asked to cater wedding receptions.

“It’s a lot of fun to see the dresses and see how they’ve decorated the venue,” Timberlake said. The most memorable catering job she’s been to was a wedding reception in which the groom was a member of the military. “It was a patriotic wedding. Everything was in red, white and blue,” Timberlake recalls.

She doesn’t get too many opportunities to socialize with the caterer’s customers, Timberlake said, but if they are asked questions, they’ll answer. “We try to stay in the background and stay out of the way as much as we can,” she said.

Murray doesn’t run a restaurant like many caterers. He’s strictly in the catering business. So when Timberlake reports to work, she arrives around 3 p.m. and helps load the trailer with the cooked food and all the fixings. Once the food has been served they stay at the event until its over, then help clean up their stuff. By the time she arrives back at Cookshack and helps clean up there, it’s often about 11 p.m. Still, she knows she has it better than some of her co-workers. “Some of them are there at 8 in the morning cooking the food and getting everything ready,” she said.

The company often caters more than one event at the same time. Timberlake heads off to her assignment as part of a team of about five or six people. They aren’t always the same people, so she’s been forced to get acquainted with new co-workers from time to time.

“You may not know them when you first leave for a job, but we work so closely together and there is time to talk so by the time we get home, I feel like we’ve gotten to know each other pretty well,” Timberlake said. And, she points out, getting to know strangers is a skill that will come in handy after she graduates from Bunn High School next year and heads off to college.

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