It can be tempting to just watch from the sidelines during large gatherings like weddings and cocktail parties. By hopping between the bar, the small crab cake table, and the washroom, perhaps no one will realize that you’re actually just looking around for entertaining ideas. The best party hosts keep their best-kept secrets on how to arrange a party that is so successful it seems effortless close to their vests because they want nothing more than for you to unwind and enjoy yourself. Take these advices from the experts to heart whether you’re preparing to feed an army for the holidays or just arranging a wedding:
Buck the buffet
There will be a line at the buffet. Even on a little bigger scale, family-style entertainment at home is far more efficient and intimate. You must choose a buffet if you’re hosting an open-seating cocktail party, but not if it’s a seated dinner. Among other things, a buffet makes it more difficult to control the temperature of the food. Having a variety of servers who can offer the hot food or the pricy proteins like meat or fish is much preferable. Then you can set up tables with bread and salads that guests can assist themselves to.
Go for the crowd pleasers
Always choose tried-and-true crowd-pleasers for your party catering if you want to guarantee everyone’s satisfaction. At a gathering, there are some delicacies that are enjoyed by everyone and always go over well. Sushi? Delicious but not a dish that is appealing to all ages. Mexican meals for fiestas? That is party stuff that practically everyone would approve of.
It’s a good idea not to try out all the new recipes you’ve been longing to create for this big party either. Stick to tried-and-true dishes that you can prepare while closing your eyes; this will significantly reduce tension, and you can always cook those dishes again.
Choose recipes that don’t need to be served hot
The hardest part of cooking food in advance of an occasion is keeping it hot, and you don’t want to be caught worrying about it sitting out too long or drying out in a warming drawer. It is recommended serving a dinner with just one or a few items that must be served hot and letting the rest arrive at room temperature to reduce tension. A taco bar can be started with grilled chicken, roasted veggies, or skirt steak; none of these foods need to be served blistering hot to be delicious. Avoid seafood, and remember that fish is always the most delicate food.
Err on the side of having more extras
Having too much food is definitely preferable to running out. More is said to be better because you won’t need to run out to acquire more and you’ll have delicious lunch for the next four to five days. Extra meats can be frozen, leftovers can be given to visitors, or they can be fried in a skillet with eggs for breakfast.
Slice meat thinly
Large crowd catering is costly. However, catering professionals assert that regardless of how thick or thin the slices are, each guest should always serve themselves the same number of slices. Therefore, it makes sense to thinly slice the meal’s most expensive component in order to save expenditures. By using this technique, you can then get the most slices and feed the most visitors.
Prep ahead, even more than you think you should
The secret to a major event’s success is to put in as much work behind the scenes as you can. Even if you have to finish a dish right away, prepare your mis en place the night before, make drinks in advance and chill them in wine carafes, and prepare foods that may marinate for several hours.
Buy and cook in disposable aluminum trays
The same large metal baking dishes that caterers use can be a lifesaver if you’re serving a crowd, despite the fact that they’re not the prettiest. Additionally, there are incredibly luxurious throwaway plates that may all be composted after use. Make it as simple as you can!
Hire a small staff
Always staff the events, whether they are for 10 or 1,000 people. A single bartender and a server may sound extravagant, but they will enable you to genuinely enjoy the event you are hosting, and by making sure your guests are looked after, you will be guaranteed an intimate experience.
Get creative with supermarket staples
Everyone like a small burger, and you can make our own buns. Making little sliders will always be the talk of the party. Making your own buns for burger night may seem silly, but don’t forget to buy a roll of biscuits, cut them out with a little cookie cutter, brush some egg yolk on top, and bake for the loveliest little buns you’ve ever created. Puff pastry and other grocery store staples can be snatched up to create fancier-looking but as delicious tarts.
Presentation counts, even when catering for large crowds
You might believe that because you are serving a large number of people, no one will notice how the food truly appears. But you’d be mistaken. In fact, news will travel like wildfire if it appears cheap and unappetizing. But if your meal is beautifully arranged and appears delectable, guests won’t be able to stop raving about it. Whether you’re catering to a small, private occasion or a large audience, presentation is important. To make your food more colorful, add a garnish of fresh herbs.
Remember to ask about dietary restrictions
Don’t forget to ask each of your guests if they have any dietary restrictions before the event. If they have, find out if they prefer to bring their own food or if you may provide it for them. If you are providing catering for them, make sure you are fully aware of the restriction and avoid mixing their food with the food that is off-limits.
Roll with the punches
No matter how diligently you plan and prepare, unexpected things will still happen, as anyone who has ever hosted a party can attest. Know prior into the event that a mistake could happen. Recognize that it’s unlikely that anyone will catch a mistake if it happens during the event. Always keep in mind that when it comes to catering for large gatherings, organization and preparation are the keys to keeping your sanity. Only the host can control how successful the gathering is. Enjoy yourself during your event, and your guests will as well.
Large-scale catering can be a difficult task. Your workload has significantly increased and you are required to move at a greater amount. In fact, some individuals find it so difficult that they would prefer to pay a caterer as opposed to doing it themselves. Catering for huge gatherings is labor-intensive, but it is unquestionably gratifying. The fact that people are enjoying the food you helped create is also quite rewarding. So, if you’re in charge of catering a large group, we hope the advice above may be helpful.