A beginner’s guide to catering a big event will help you host your next big party.
Sometimes in life, we will have a large gathering or event that catering is required for, maybe a big birthday party, retirement party or something similar.
The tempting thing to do is to hire in a caterer to take care of everything for you. This can be a great way to do it, but it can come at a considerable expense.
So why not consider doing the food yourself? You will save a small fortune and also get all the praise when you pull it off. But what are the challenges and considerations of cooking for a large group?
Creating The Menu
The first thing you need to do is create the menu. This is the time to come up with a theme.
It’s important for the guests to not feel like it is all just thrown together without thought. A theme gives a conversational point for you to discuss with the guests. I’ve always loved to do a simple but delicious theme such as Italian food which is always good and not too difficult to make.
These days there are a reasonable number of allergies, intolerances and medical conditions you must be aware of when catering in addition to the traditional religious requirements of some guests.
You may have to think of vegetarian and vegan-friendly dishes as well and this requires some careful thought. Never make assumptions.
For example, it is quite common for dairy products to be an ingredient in a dish without being obvious, there could easily be butter or milk in a pastry or coating for any food. If unsure it’s best to exercise caution as mistakes could be very serious for those with allergies.
Where will you purchase ingredients when cooking in larger quantities?
You could just source them from the supermarket with the rest of your normal shopping, but you’ll end up with a lot of packages and it will be costly to do it in this way.
If you buy in bulk through a wholesaler you will save a ton of money. Plus, you will get the amounts you need ready to go. For example, I always found a wholesale chicken breast supplier to be a great way to get the right amounts.
Getting Quantities Right
This can be quite tricky if you’ve never done it before. You will be scaling up recipes and it’s easy to get things wrong.
It’s best to check what quantities of herbs and spices you need by pre-planning the scaled-up version of the recipe. You should write out the recipe again in a larger version and there are even easy online calculators to help you do this.
Logistics Of Serving
Don’t forget to take into account the logistics of serving up when doing food for a larger group. You could operate a buffet system to ease this or if it’s definitely a sit-down meal then maybe you should consider how to hire servers for the event.