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Menu Planning.........

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
I was wondering if there was a basic format or outline that everyone follows when planning a menu? What are some of the key components of menu planning? What should be considered when planning a menu?

Regards Cakerookie..........
post #2 of 24
is this a menu for a single event or a restaurant?
"Laissez Le Bon Temps Roule"
"Laissez Le Bon Temps Roule"
post #3 of 24
Thread Starter 
Single event. About 150 people. Dessert side of the equation.
post #4 of 24
The client. :)
post #5 of 24
Thread Starter 
Co-Workers. Our annual bash we have every summer around Memorial Day or July 4th.
post #6 of 24
I remember one group who loved watermelon. Bratwurst and beer, watermelon for dessert. :)
post #7 of 24

menu planning

hi Cakerookie,

You have to be more specific about that subject, as it depends form whom you do plan the menu. However there are basic guidlines like:

Type of operation
customer profile
Customer age
Ingredient availability
Duration of menu cycle

and etc.

well based on this basic information you plan your menu again with following points to consider:

As little repetitions as possible in taste
Balanced use of main ingredients
Balancing color of each dish within a course
respect of nutrient


or do you refer about menu planning based on an a la carte menu, and asking yourself, how many times a year you have to change it or not to change it, but to create a seasonal promotion plan to keep your establishment attractive to the market?

Well the word menu and its planning has just so many forms, the best is to let us know what type of operation do you run.

post #8 of 24
The other important issue to consider is cost; how much money, per person, can you spend.

For this group, are you wanting individually plated desserts, large whole desserts, or a mixture? How many different types do you want? If you want a number of different desserts then what Chef Kaiser said about not repeating flavors is important.

You also need to take into consideration where this event is being held. It is a summer event. If it is a picnic style event, outdoors, chocolate truffles might not be such a good idea as they would melt. Same with ice cream treats, unless you have coolers and some dry ice.

All these things must be thought about when creating your menu, but most of this is really just common sense. Things start to get more complicated when you are doing multi course dinners and you have to worry about progression of flavors, balancing flavors to avoid tasting fatigue, etc.
post #9 of 24
Thread Starter 
I see.I think I am starting to see how this works.The main course will likely be:

Barbecue Pork
Baked Beans
Barbecue Chicken

There maybe potatoe salad and a possible other side item.

The event will be indoors as far as the food goes.As far as a budget goes I have not figured that out because I have not decided on the dessert course yet. The center piece dessert will proably be a cake of some type most likely chocolate so I figured 1 or 2 more desserts centered around the cake. I understand about not replicating flavors so the pallets of those eating does not get board. Chef K and Pete if its ok with you guys I want to print out your replies for future reference. Now all I have to do is figure out what will go well with the chocolate cake...
post #10 of 24
I'm thinking along the line of a working dessert. An ACTION STATION!!!!
A mini dump truck filled with the largest creme brulee ever. Lights go down and this figure appears through the fogg machine fog. It's Cakerookie:bounce:
He is in Braggard, starched cotton toque, welding goggles, with a couple of 5ft tanks in tow. A mini back hoe with a bucket of sugar, barely visable, as the lights get even lower. A silver shovel is used to spread sugar on the brulee, as the lights go completely off. And
BAM!!!! The torch is simultaneously lit with some indoor pyrotechnics.
The torching takes place as the lights come up.
Followed by interview and some autographs.
post #11 of 24
Thread Starter 
Pan your a riot! I like the intro though nice.Ever thought about becoming a pyrotechnician?

Regards Cakerookie....
post #12 of 24

your main course is already against the rule of menu planning, as you have 2 times the same cooking method with BBQ. Well but it obviously would depend on your client if they like it. For 150 people you could go with a cold section 3 items with a salad bar a soup and assorted bread basquet. Furhter 2 - 3 main courses with 2 starch and 1 vegetable. For the dessert some french pastries, chocolate mousse, cake and assorted fruits.

The reason why i defenetly would put a salad bar and soup with assorted breads, as it is cheaper than meat and therefore customer will eat that first and eventually will consume less of the main course.

but again, i would not know the buffet price and your targeted food cost percentage.

post #13 of 24

fun desserts

definitely have some fresh fruit and since this sounds like a picnic or bbq,

ice cold slices of watermelon are very popular and economical too

here's a suggestion for a fun dessert to accompany your chocolate cake and fruit.

Take big platters - at the last minute, slice up lots of bananas (a case of bananas is ultra cheap), drizzle with chocolate sauce (like hersheys) and use (don't laugh at me here folks but it works well for this application) spray cans of real whipped cream. Call it a banana split without ice cream. Serve using large spoons in plastic disposable bowls - you can let guests help themselves.

When its time to replenish just start slice more bananas over the gooey mess, more chocolate sauce and whipped cream.

This recipe was given to me by my friend Greg Breland who is an awesome caterer in Canada - he does lots of big events and usually has 14 or more desserts on the table - he says he likes to leave them with a WOW. Trust me this will go over well with kids of all ages - from 4 - 90 plus!
Chef Tigerwoman

Stop Tofu Abuse...Eat Foie Gras...
Chef Tigerwoman

Stop Tofu Abuse...Eat Foie Gras...
post #14 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thanks that sounds great!

Regards Cakerookie.........
post #15 of 24
Chef Kaiser, with all due respect, Cakerookie is from the Carolinas. His menu is a southern BBQ and that's the way it goes. Technically if you put out 3-4 different kinds of BBQ, some Cole Slaw, Potato Salad, Chips, beer, soda, Watermelon and Peach and Lemon Meringue pie it would be the talk of the year. Like you yourself said "it would depend if your client liked it".
My latest musical venture!
Also "I'm at the age when food has taken the place of sex in my life. In fact I've just had a mirror put over my kitchen table." Rodney Dangerfield RIP
My latest musical venture!
Also "I'm at the age when food has taken the place of sex in my life. In fact I've just had a mirror put over my kitchen table." Rodney Dangerfield RIP
post #16 of 24

did not know that, for me the menu is just too much meat, and not sufficient fibers, well simply not balanced. But if they like that they shall eat it.

post #17 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thats OK Chef K I do not think anyone looks at where you are from when they post. Its cool. They have decided to cater in the dinner and there probably will not be any chicken only pork. But I am still stuck with the dessert menu. And still struggling with it....

Regards Cakerookie.....
post #18 of 24
Jello cake, pecan pie, cobbler, watermelon. :)
post #19 of 24
Brilliant! And look who posted it, the original Northern Redneck:roll:
My latest musical venture!
Also "I'm at the age when food has taken the place of sex in my life. In fact I've just had a mirror put over my kitchen table." Rodney Dangerfield RIP
My latest musical venture!
Also "I'm at the age when food has taken the place of sex in my life. In fact I've just had a mirror put over my kitchen table." Rodney Dangerfield RIP
post #20 of 24
Thread Starter 
Jello cake sounds good Kuan.Got the recipe? Never made one of those....

Regards Cakerookie...
post #21 of 24
I agree chrose,

The likes and dislikes of southern guests are unlike many others.
Its better to do a few things perfect, no matter how simple, than
put out a huge spread. I would definately go with watermellon. I
might do sliced vine ripe tomatoes if in season and perhaps fresh
pickles. I would do a carolina style bbq and a texas style. No ribs
because of cost. Perhaps pulled picnic hams and chicken thighs and
legs. If you want to get fancy roast a whole suckling pig for presentation.
Stay with as many cold or room temp items as possible. My favorite
bbqs basically consist of bbq pork, brunswick stew, bread, watermellon,
fresh corn on the cob and maybe slaw. Large pans of berry pies are
always easy as well. Well my mouth is starting to water and even though
its bearly 7am I am imagining a big glass of bourbon and a nap in the
hammock after gourging on bbq and pie. Good luck!!
post #22 of 24
From your Northern redneck. :)

Jello cake, also called Jello Poke Cake:

Packaged white cake mix
Strawberry Jello
Whipped cream

1) Bake cake and allow to cool
2) Make Jello mixture and allow to cool but still remain liquid
3) Poke lots of holes in top of cake (hence the name)
4) Pour Jello on top of cake

Garnish with strawberries and sweetened whipped cream, or just slather the top with cool whip and strawberries. :)
post #23 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thanks Kuan. Thats one for the menu I think it looks delicious.

Regards Cakerookie...
post #24 of 24
It is so interesting, isn't it, what we prepare for differing groups. When I prepare for us and the aunts and uncles etc. it is mostly salads, veg., not vegetarian, but something like a couple of chateaubriands, sliced thin.

If the cousins are here as well, there is much more meat to go with the same amount of salads.

And if it is a gathering for the younger ones, a whole 1year old lamb is put on the rotating thing. Some of it even makes it to the table. ;Þ Steaks and so go on the bbq. And beer is bought by the keg. They don't eat the salad until they have done the meat thing. Then they get stuck in.

We are NZers of course, and I guess it must differ around the world. Of course it does. I have found the need and acceptance of meat wanes as we get older, what do others think?
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