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Holiday Party Event...

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
i am catering a holiday party for 24. i am curious if anyone here has any suggestions or recommendations on which items i should make? i have a month from today to plan for this event. any insight, thoughts or recommendations would be appreciated. thanks.
post #2 of 28
What sort of party is it? Cocktail party? Sit down dinner? Will it take place at 6? 7? 9? What sort of people will be attending? Those factors will help determine the menu.
"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
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"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
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post #3 of 28
budget, what the event's for, profile of guests.......
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #4 of 28
Thread Starter 
7pm-9pm, some what casual cocktail party, finger foods was all that was said... i asked about allergies or anything in particular that ppl would or would not want, she said 'anything but fish and nothing that the person has to seat down and eat.' budget is 250 on food alone.
post #5 of 28
$10.50 pp for food.....

what have you done in the past for $10.50? if this is your first time, then what do you like cooking?
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #6 of 28
An elegant, yet very simple cocktail snack. Make little phyllo cups (using a small muffin tin), make a thick bechamel enriched with a good ripe goat's cheese, garnish with a half oven roasted baby tomato and a sprig of chervil. Very inexpensive but simple and tasty.

Mini potstickers with a chili-black vinegar dipping sauce. Using round won ton wrappers fill with a mixture of fatty pork, rice wine, salt, white pepper, a bit of cornstarch, chives, garlic and ginger paste. Fold to make potsticker shape, cook by searing the bottom then adding water and a touch of vinegar and steam until all the water is evaporated. Serve on a dish with an optional dipping sauce of chili oil, scallions, sesame, soy sauce, and Chinese black vinegar. Provide toothpicks.
Can always pre-cook then and serve them reheated in the oven.

Cranberry and Egg nog trifle on a spoon: Cut pound cake into small squares, one for a spoon. Nape with a bit of nutmeg and rum-infused pastry cream, a couple of stewed cranberries and a sliver of shaved white chocolate.

The great thing about these foods is that they can all be prepared a couple hours in advance and served quickly and to order. They also involve relatively inexpensive ingredients and most importantly are tasty.
"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
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"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
Reply
post #7 of 28
Thread Starter 
second time for this person... last year i went with an asian theme and made mini egg rolls, along with shrimp balls wrapped in bacon, and chicken satay. these year if its within budget i was thinking to go with a spanish theme, tapas style. providing i can get it all done within budget.
post #8 of 28
a couple of Spainish aps we make...
3M....manchengo, membrillo, marcona almond

salt cod dip

lamb almond meatballs

you could adapt and make a cabrales blue tart with orange marmalade, bite size would be good....fillo cup.

tiny octopus keep coming to mind....hmmmm......

we've got fresh figs now.....figs wrapped in ham always works.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #9 of 28
Along the Spanish theme:

Seared Red Mullet paupiette with romesco

Broiled braised pork belly with traditional "paella seasonings" and caramelized fennel

Agreed with market: Octopus are generally inexpensive and tasty. A nice paprika grilled octopus... or a composed octopus salad on a skewer/spoon?

Of course if you prepare them in bite-sized amounts it shouldn't be hard to fill the budget.
"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
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"If it's chicken, chicken a la king. If it's fish, fish a la king. If it's turkey, fish a la king." -Bender
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post #10 of 28
Thread Starter 
i will look into these... thanks for the help.
post #11 of 28
Thread Starter 
how about sliders (mini-burgers) or mini meatball parm sliders?
post #12 of 28
That is final cost not cost of food. Don't know what your overhead is but at a standard 32% food cost that means you have $3.36 per person to spend, or $80.65 total. If you don't have a lot of overhead then you can increase that percentage, but don't forget to pay yourself.
post #13 of 28
Thread Starter 
$250 on food, total amount $400 incl pay. is my pricing off?
post #14 of 28
yes it is.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #15 of 28
Thread Starter 
please check your PM.
post #16 of 28
Iconoclast....this is the professional chef's thread, there is a catering thread that has many offsite caterers active on it. When you talk budget with a restaurant it's different than with catering......

Restaurants have on site staffs
Caterers add on staff costs to work parties

You are staff if you are working the party.....
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #17 of 28

A few low cost menu ideas

I love to do Latin inspired cocktail parties. Here are a few of my
low cost menu ideas that are not so labor intensive. Just a little bit of ingredients will go a long way. The rest is in the presentation.

Hors d’oeuvres
Plantain Chips
Spanish Olives
Guacamole in Crispy Wonton Cones
Crispy Potato “Cigars” tipped with Sour Cream and Fresh Chives
Endive Petals with Goat Cheese & Figs
Stuffed Mushroom with Sausage & Granny Smith Apples
Artichoke Mousse on Ciabatta Crostini
Corn & Scallion Fritters
served with a fresh pineapple jalapeno salsa
Mini Corn Tapas
Potato, Corn, Tomatillo, Jalapeno, Cumin in Triangle Tortillas
Papas Fitas in Square cones or parchment cones
Piquillo Red Peppers with Feta
Tostones with Mojo
Cabrales Gougère
Asparagus wrapped with Proscuitto or Serrano
Tarragon Marinated Manchego & Chorizo Skewers
Maple Glazed Pork Tenderloin Medallions on Skewers
Paella Croquettes
Mussels with Chorizo Persillade
Fried Shrimp with Tamarind Dipping Sauce
Margarita Ceviche in Lime cups Spiked with Tequila
Chili Cumin Dusted Calamari
Coconut Shrimp
Panko Crusted Chicken Skewers with Orange Sesame Glaze
Skirt Steak Medallions with Chimichurri Sauce
Ancho Rubbed Filet Mignon with Cuban Espresso Sauce
Adam Riblettes with Cherry BBQ Glaze on Skewers
Ropa Vieja Spring Rolls
Marinated Pulled Pork Spring Rolls with Cilantro Sour Cream
Andouille and Onion En Croute
Andouille sausage with sautéed onions, dijon mustard in a flaky puff pastry.
Mini Cuban Sandwiches (or adapt it into your slider idea using pork burgers with...)

Dessert Buffet
Flan in mini disposable cups
Mini Crème Brulee in Demi Tasse Cups
Mini Bananas Foster Cheesecake Squares
Skewers of Pineapple with Orange Tequila Dipping Sauce
Mini Apple Beignets dusted with Confectioners Sugar
Spanish Praline-Chocolate Turrone
Mini Churros Bites with Chocolate Dipping Sauce

WOW SERVICES – Add a dash of flair!
Cigar Service
(Tray Passed Humidor of cigars in outdoor ‘Smoke Lounge’)

Given your food costs and time of the party I would only select 5-6 items for the event. Good luck....repeat business is the best compliment!
La torche de l’amour est allumee dans la cuisine.
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La torche de l’amour est allumee dans la cuisine.
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post #18 of 28
Thread Starter 
i was looking for a catering subforum on this board, i couldnt find it... i will look again. thank you.


thank you for the suggestions, i truly appreciate it... i think spanish / tapas theme is the way to go...
post #19 of 28
Saffron, just to be clear.....5-6 of your aps for 24 people would run $400 including at the party labor? Most of our aps are $2-6 each pp.... and we are actually on the lower end of like competition. Party Labor ave is $80-125 per staff.....not including gratuities. Plates, napkins, glassware......linens, platters, serviceware.....
Just want to make sure we're comparing all the variables.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #20 of 28
Thread Starter 
thank you for the help, i truly appreciate it.
post #21 of 28

It's not necessarily so...

MC, where I am in CT, I couldn't even think of rolling out the door for $400.
For that matter, you are correct, I would be charging $3. per person per app. so price point is $15-$18.pp plus labor to work the party (4 hours to set up thru breakdown) plus tax and gratuity. Any rental requirements would be separate line item.

But the actual food costs are doable. For example, you make almost 250 wonton chips using the large squares of wonton skins and cut into 9 squares per sheet (I think 25 comes in a package). Even at retail cost it's $1.99/pkg
Add guacamole (low labor way is COSTCO's guacamole which comes in 3 packages, add a few more jalapeno slices to kick it up a notch. You only need to use one of the three packages and freeze the other two for future event). That totals $9. for one HD that will more than cover you for two hours.

Next, you can't get any cheaper than gougeres. Add a few oz of cabrales cheese and you're looking at $3. for the puffs (flour, eggs, butter probably already in the pantry) plus cheese will put you at about $8.00 for about 4 doz gougeres, if that much.

You can get a 2lb 31-40 ct of shrimp for anywhere betw 8.99 on sale to $12.
Add panko bread crumbs, one egg, fry those puppies up and add any dipping sauce you wish. Toatal cost $15. max at retail costs.

Continuing on, using either pork loin, skirt steak or flap meat, saute and skewer with chimichurri sauce or any preferred other sauce and you've spent at most $16. for 2 doz ++ skewers.

One pineapple goes a long way when sliced and skewered and makes a refreshing finale served in a large martini glass.

Add garnishes for platters (using single flower like a gerber or cymbidium orchids in a cucumber cup which holds the water nicely plus cocktail napkins) and you can do 5-6 apps easily at well under $250 food costs. Or did I interpret the food costs incorrectly?

One thing I learned is that my competition has underbid cocktail parties using a strategy of extremely small portions. So the paella croquette is simplified to rice plus one finely chopped chorizo, egg, breaded and fired. Still lovely and cost effective....and sounds great for this type of menu.

You could have more than enough HD so if the client extended the party another hour, you can charge for the additional time and food provided. I would look forward to the possible up sell opportunity and be prepared for it.
La torche de l’amour est allumee dans la cuisine.
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La torche de l’amour est allumee dans la cuisine.
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post #22 of 28
Thread Starter 
i shouldve been a bit more specific in the original post. there is no serving or staff... this is simply preparing, and cooking food. the hostess of the party will be reheating and serving and setting up. as per her request. basically she just wants me to buy, prep, and cook the food. then drop off the day of the event.
post #23 of 28
sounds like a deal, shop, cook and drop.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #24 of 28
Thread Starter 
thats the way i feel about it. however according to my pricing it seems to be much cheaper than the alternatives, so could be another reason why i am having the repeat business... but whatever gets them coming back right?
post #25 of 28
packaging is pretty pricey, what are you using? disposables can run $5 each.
we charge $25 for delivery. When you look at all the costs to cater it adds up, so if you are flying under the radar you are not incurring all the costs....
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #26 of 28
Thread Starter 
she has special plates, and serving dishes she wants to use. i bringing the food in biopack containers and the standarat alumin trays.
post #27 of 28
very hard to work within that budget...
post #28 of 28
For $3.something and change, How elegant do they expect?. I suggest going to Betty Crocker ookbook for ideas.
CHEFED
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CHEFED
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