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Need Advice: Holiday Party for 100

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hi all,

 

I've been a personal chef for about a year and was just hired by one of my clients to cater a holiday work party next month in their home. They are inviting 100 people to the event but expecting only about 60 people to come. We have agreed on a buffet for her guests with 2 main dishes (1 meat, 1 vegetarian), 3 side dishes and 1 salad. 

 

1. I'm looking for suggestions for the main dishes and overall advice on how to prepare everything effectively, while keeping everything warm for the party before serving.

 

2. Originally I assumed I would cook everything in her kitchen the day of but now that seems a little daunting and I'm considering using a kitchen the day before. Any thoughts on this? Since I'm a personal chef, I'm used to cooking in clients homes. 

 

I've been reading a few threads about catering which have already helped a lot.

 

Thanks!
Melissa

post #2 of 8
Thread Starter 

1 more thing: If I include a ham or something similar for the main dish, will I have to setup a carving station? If so, what are holiday main dishes I can have without a carving station?

post #3 of 8

budget? equipment? your resources?

cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 

Sorry about that: the budget is $1600 and I have limited equipment and resources but am willing to purchase what I'll need as an investment in the future. A friend of mine suggested I get a Cambro for keeping the food warm. 

post #5 of 8

Hi Melissa,

You can rent Cambros, theyre for transport mainly, but you can use them before the event starts if you need them.

They hold heat pretty well, but they're basically li'l sauna boxes, so no pastries breads etc in those, unless soggy

is being featured. Since you have on-site kitchen access I prefer other heating/holding methods, timed with holding in chaffers.

You can start all this setup hours ahead of the scheduled event time.

 

There are plenty of things you can prep day before, but of course you need to plan your menu

around what you have the time/manpower/equipment to do. You said you might have to use a

kitchen the day before. You mean one elsewhere? If it involves transporting ready-foods on

event day, it might get tricky in terms of legality as a personal chef. Something to keep in

mind, I dont know your situation, your location, or even the time of your event.

 

1600 isnt a huge budget for 100 (which you must assume will show) if it includes paying you for all

your work, expertise, and maybe a helper....especially if you want to dazzle. What you can serve to impress

for the holidays is a rather endless list, something your client needs to think about more WITH you. But I will say,

it's certainly not set in stone that ham for instance has to be on a carving station. Carving stations are impressive,

but it takes someone to man it. And a little know-how, and knife-skill too. Again, if you have semi-skilled volunteers at

your disposal, who can safely carve without mutilating, fine. Otherwise youre cutting into that budget again.

But you can slice up a gorgeous ham and present it nicely in a chaffer buffet, or any other main.

 

Hope that helped a little, and as said above, the more details you can give is the better we can help you. smile.gif

post #6 of 8

with a $16.00  pp food budget . , you could serve some nice items Even sliced filet of beef  to order on the buffet.. I assume this does not include service or your fee and rentals.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #7 of 8

Here is what I would Suggest:

Slow Roasted Brisket with a Mild Mushroom Cab Sauce (You can get a VERY cheap cut and Braise)

Penne Pasta with Spinach, Fresh Tomatoes, Goat Cheese and Pine Nuts

Roasted Yams with Honey and Cinnamon 

Root Vegetables Tossed with Olive Oil and Herba

Sauteed Green Beans with Garlic & Walnuts 

Mixed Greens with Almonds, Dried Cranberries and Figs

 

All of this can be re heated on site, or it keeps well in a Cambro

post #8 of 8

chicken mirabella

mashed potatoes or jasmine rice or potatoes au gratin with guyere

green salad with lots of goodies on it.....ie craisins, pecans, hearts of palm, sugar snaps.....vinaigrette

Veg...make it easy....

rolls

 

chick mirabella can be made ahead with thighs and is better after a couple of days...reheat on stove or oven or even better a large electric church warmer (grey matter is not working well tonight, they are huge warmers that don't cost much and crank to 450*)

pre bake au gratin and warm day of (cambros work well for keeping)

Green veg blanched on stove, then warmed with evo or butter before service

decent rolls and butter

 

 

The hosts pay for beverages, rentals.

$16 a head is a bargain.  Keep it simple and make $$$ or else why are you doing it?  Easy menu.

 

ALWAYS plan on the highest possible amount of guests, it is a sin to run out of food.   And part of YOUR job as a caterer is explaining WHY they need to pay for the largest number possible.  

Final guest count is usually 2 weeks prior to the party with balance due at that time.

cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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