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Ladies Luncheon, IDEAS please!

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I am hoping to cater a ladies luncheon in late Sept. The budget is between $10-12 per person, between 50-75 are expected. I will be expected to provide the meal and drinks (coffee, tea, juice) and dessert will be provided by someone else. Can you guys help a newbie pull this off?
post #2 of 20
Waldorf Pork Chops.

Add diced apples and walnuts to a traditional rice pilaf mix, put everything in a pan(s).
Meanwhile, brown off seasoned thin cut pork chops and place on top of uncooked rice mix.
Cover and bake for 40-45 minutes at 350°.

Serve with a lightly dressed green salad.

You may also wish to thicken apple juice for a glaze to pour on just prior to serving.

Quick, easy and relatively inexpensive.

Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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post #3 of 20
You're going to need cakes. Small and fancy.

If Ladies who lunch in America are anything like our lot, They are hyper-critical, like everthing dainty and are very impressed with attention to detail.
In other words, make it look like you a) spend all week preparing it and b) go overboard on presentation.

If you're making sandwiches, use good quality bread and cut off the crusts.

Choux pastries go down a treat, both sweet and savoury

A soft fruit platter would be a good idea. There are always folk who are being good.

Crudites ( raw veg with dips)

Cold meat platter and a selection of salads

Some kind of savoury pastry
"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
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"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
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post #4 of 20
Grilled Santa Clara chicken salad with watermelon arugula, and frizee Catalina dressing. Taro chips


Reason I go salad route is no vege or potato required and woman are diet and health aware at all times:D
CHEFED
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CHEFED
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post #5 of 20
Buffet, Plated or Boxed?

Buffet, you need less staff......It's hard to get 50-75 plated lunches out solo.
I'm assuming at $10pp you are working solo.

Unless it's at your kitchen go cold Buffet.

$10-12......

past menus in a room next to my kitchen have been:
Tomato base vegetable soup
corn bread/rolls butter
green salad
deviled eggs (lagniappe)

Cookies/bars
Ice Tea

*covers the vegetarians, is filling, and economical.....labor was me, equipment is mine, I'd spend a morning putting it together/cleanup.


So, cold buffet, offsite, low budget......ladies, late Sept.

Large bowl of mixed grain salad......mix in dried fruit/minced veg, vinaigrette....border with chicken, that way the meat people have sustainence and the veg can scoop from the middle.
Or a maxed out pasta salad....we use two shapes of pasta, many sauted/fresh veg, usually calamata olives, meat around edge of bowl.

Green Salad with a creamy based dressing....we make a buttermilk herb that mimics the ever popular ranch.

Assorted rolls/breads/breadsticks.....whatever you specialize in......gougere are a nice touch.

If it's in your budget consider a cheese torte.....tigerwoman wrote about great combos that don't cost alot but have wow! factor.....essentially cream cheese with stronger cheese, in a nut crust....some with poached fruit on top.....bake off a couple of baguettes sliced into crostini.

Coffee/Tea/juice....why juice?.....watch the size of you glassware with juice or it'll eat your lunch.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #6 of 20

Ladies luncheon

Are you saying you are only providing the meal and someone else is providing drinks and dessert? If so, you are in much better shape. I agree with the soup/salad ideas and you could do some type of vegetable pie or finger sandwiches like a traditional tea.
post #7 of 20
finger sandwiches on a buffet are labor intensive.....I'd punt and go for salad with bread......pesto rolls, cheesey puffs, herb biscuits.......

With finger sandwiches you'd be making a several hundred of them and they can be a PIA>
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #8 of 20

ladies luncheon

As always, I love your ideas shroom.

I have done the finger sandwiches for ladies luncheon - make 50 sandwiches, cut off crusts and cut sandwich into 4 or even 6 - with the soup and salad, it is plenty.
post #9 of 20
do you vary the fillings? Most of the fingersandwiches we make are fruffy.....

open faced circles with mayo/cucumber slices....edges rolled in minced parsley
dillweed garnish

Turkey with curry mayo/apricot chutney......

BLT on a puff

Rare Roast Beef with horseradish sauce/pickled red onions

Shrimp salad again either in pate choux or bread.

Upscale versions with various breads, shapes, fillings, garnish.....not a long shelf life, hours instead of days.....
3-4 out of a normal slice of bread......
buffet would mean 6-7 per person just so the last would not be crumbs.

If going that route, I'd consider putting a platter of sandwiches on each table with 4 pp.....more personal, there's typically constrained when there's a set amount amoungst a small group of ladies.

Puff pastry sheets are easy to work with, big bang for the buck. You could make savory butterflies or tarts or twists or ?
pesto, olives, herbs/nuts, dry cheeses, citrus all are good choices.

PGR, how would you cut a sandwich into 6 pieces? fingers, squares, triangles?

Reads like mom is making/serving the food and beverages, dessert is provided.

*are you providing the plate/fork etc for desserts? or slicing, serving, cleaning up after a cake? if so that's your energy/supplies that would need to be taken into consideration when pricing out.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #10 of 20
I will take 2 dozen of each please fax them immediately!
"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
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"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
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post #11 of 20
funny guy!

So Mom, what do you specialize in? Do you bake?
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #12 of 20

ladies luncheon

Shroom, I cut the 6 by doing finger shape
post #13 of 20
Mom, we'd really like to hear back from you with more details, because they can have a real effect on your event.

F'rinstance, if this is a plated dinner, are you responsible for dishes and flatware? Renting that stuff can cut into a $12 plate real quick.

That aside, I reckon I'd consider only cold or room temp dishes. You can prep them ahead of time, then plate (or lay out the buffet) the morning of the event.

But do, please, tell us more.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #14 of 20
Thread Starter 
Sorry, computer crashed so haven't checked responses in a few days...
I am a home-based caterer who (at least for now) works solo. I do as much food as I can home-made so I can attest to the ingredients and quality. I don't advertise because I don't necessarily want to do events that would require me to hire staff. I have done many small parties as well as individual items for large parties. I bake and sell my own rolls and desserts/cookies too. I love a challenge and that's what I see this luncheon as. I would not need to provide dihes but they asked if I would wash them afterwards. I can use the ovens at the site if I need to, plus refrigeration. Thank you all for your input!
post #15 of 20
If you are washing dishes, glasses, silverware that would be an additional charge. Most churches have a staff person or person "on call" who washes up after events for anywhere from $25-100....usually in between.

Who's setting up? ie tablecloths, silverware, glassware, plates, decorations?

Are you using their serving equipment or your own?

Past experience is, when you give a bargain they will come back at a later time and want the same deal....so if you provide "free" or non-line itemed cleanup they will expect it in the future. If they or you brought someone in to do it they'd be paid. What ever works for you.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #16 of 20
Better listen good to shroomgirl on this one, or you're going to lose your shirt.

The way you're describing it, you're going to plan the menu, shop, cook, plate, serve, and clean up afterwards for up to 75 people at a top rate of 12 bucks per (and, given the range, more likely ten).

We're talking a top end of only $900. Deduct from that the cost of food & drinks and overheads. Then divide the balance by the time you'll have invested. I guarantee you'll be working for considerably less than minimum wage.

I'm thinking this ladies group is looking to take advantage of you. And, as Julie notes, after getting this bargain, they'll be sure and come back for more of the same.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #17 of 20
Or worse scenerio.....50 or less at $10...or -$500, if kids are in the count.

I'd go huge green salad with lots of vegetables, throw on a something special....raspberries or people love mandrian oranges.....with a group this size I'd leave off croutons and nuts, just too many allergies and celiacs around. Meat optional....I'd be more apt to leave it off.

Then maybe one/two of those Savory Cheesecakes with crostini

Assortment of Rolls/crackers etc.

Coffee set up can be pricey, sugar, sweet and low, 1/2 and 1/2, skim, maybe decaf....if it's lunch I'd do just decaf.

Ice Tea you'd need to make the day prior to get it cold.....then have something to transport it in....

Juice.

No mention of a commercial dishwasher. Handwashing would not be fun.

You've got one plate, silverware, glasses/cups.

Salad assembly can go quickly, cheesecake (s) can be premade, ditto crostini, all you'd have to mess with last minute are breads....

Some wow! factor can be a garnish or inexpensive twist of an ingredient.....pesto twist sticks, whatever.....presentation should also be a wow....nothing says you can't bring in shtuff from home to decorate.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #18 of 20
Thread Starter 
Wow! You guys have really helped put everything in perspective for me. You make some excellent points, the most important being if I do this once at the price they've requested,I'll be stuck at that price point (at least with this group) indefinitely.
post #19 of 20
When someone says what their budget is I'll give them options that fit in their budget, then have add-ons....or give them meals with different price points but not way outside their budget or suggest they just have Tea instead of coffee/tea/juice....
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #20 of 20

ladies luncheon

Example of what shroom just mentioned - Woman told me she had budget of $1000 for 75 people, and then gave me the menu she had in mind. I told her I could not do that menu for that price, but would give her a price on the menu she wanted (it came out to about $1600) and a menu for $1000. This did NOT include plates, flatware, serving staff etc. I also gave her 2 other ideas of menus I thought she would like in a range of prices. We ended up with her picking items from the other menus as well as her own - with her saying she realized now that she hadn't known what things cost at todays prices, and it will be about $2000.
Options and conversations can do wonders!
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