I can definately tell you this, commercial kitchens are the source of more ill prepared, ill handled food than any weekend caterer. I know in Texas there are many of us who will cater an event for a friend or family member at cost. We will pour our heart and soul into it too.
Most commercial caterers will also prepare menus that are profitable and dependable to their financial success. But being that this is the land of opportunity, you have to take it.
I doubt very much whether a lot of parties would even have food if folks had to depend on paying for a commercial kitchen to provide the food. Weekend unlicensed caterers make it possible to provide food to your friends at such events.
I do understand that there is a certain amount liability that comes with doing such a thing. I am also glad it has been addressed here. That said, if you have a passion for what you are doing, look into what the health dept requires of you and decide whether you think it is worth it. Also, I would say that the majority of the catering businesses in my neck of the woods may be cleared in their restaurants, but I would imagine that their catered events are not cleared the same way if at all. You all know what I mean. I worked in the food service industry for three years and know that a temp health cert is handed out for the taking.
So get a good umbrella policy or make sure you keep your business isolated from your personal life.