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Serving 500

When you reach this range of mega-cooking, you are far beyond the amateur realm. Here are a few notes I collected from folks who actually do this kind of work, which may help.

To serve 500 to 600 people cafeteria line style during a three-hour event requires 40 to 60 on-site volunteer servers. This does not count the cooks or kitchen crew, or the clean up after. You need one serving line for each 50 people to serve all comers within an hour.

A professional Texas BBQ catering company uses this provision list for their standard 500 person BBQ:
375 pounds of brisket, fresh, trimmed for smoking
94 pounds boneless turkey breast
94 pounds boneless pork loin
140 pounds of ready to eat baked or ranch beans
130 pounds of potato salad
80 pounds of macaroni and cheese
75 pounds of pasta salad
enough large chocolate fudge brownies to serve 500 people
beverages according to the menu
bread bout 1 1/2 ounces per person, 50 pounds
condiments and relishes* according to the menu. /
*pickles, olives, hot dog chili, etc about 5 gallons EACH
This is smoked BBQ, so BBQ sauce is served on the side as a condiment, about 1-2 gallons per 100

Here is the "recipe" for the annual Allen's Neck Meeting's Quaker Clambake, the Allen's Neck Meeting's delicious fund-raiser. The Allen's Neck Meeting bake is so authentic that several years ago the bakemasters and their crew were invited by the Smithsonian to hold a clambake on the Washington Mall. To serve 500 paying guests and the staff, they use:

125 workers (pitmasters, cooks servers, and cleanup)
1 cord dry hardwood, 4 foot length
1 truck load rockweed
1 and 1/2 tons stone, about the size of a melon
22 bushels of clams
200 pounds sausage
75 pounds of fish fillet
150 pounds of tripe
75 dozen sweet corn
3 bushels (around 150 pounds) sweet potatoes
30 18x26' pans of homemade dressing
100 pounds onions
20 large (around 350-400 pounds) watermelons
85 homemade pies
50 pounds butter
coffee and cream
A prayer for good weather on "Clambake Day."

George Berish in a book about the clambake offers this recipe for Yankee Haymakers, a tangy refreshing cool drink served at the Meeting House's bicentennial.

George Berish's Yankee Haymakers Drink
20 glasses

1 gallon pure water
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup molasses
1 cup vinegar
1 tablespoon ground ginger spice.

Store in icebox and it will always be cool. The old way to keep it cool was to hang it in a well. It was usually stored in a stone crock or jug.

This is a partial shopping list for a Thanksgiving dinner that serves over 1000 guests with over 200 volunteers.
90 turkeys, 30 pounds each, yep that's 2,700 pounds of turkey (1 1/4 tons)
300 pounds of dressing
500 pounds of vegetables
400 to 500 pounds of mashed potatoes

Iced tea "Sweet tea" from instant tea or loose tea
Serves around 160. Triple this recipe should serve 500.

5 pounds (about 11 cups) sugar
4 ounces plus 1 cup instant tea powder
OR 1 pound black tea
1 gallon boiling water
1 7 to 10 pound block of ice
7 1/2 to 8 gallons cold water
10 gallon container
50 pounds of ice cubes for serving
30 lemons or limes for wedges

First make the base. Pour together the boiling water, sugar and tea and stir until the sugar dissolves. Cover, continue to steep for 15 minutes. Strain and use immediately or refrigerate.

When ready to serve, use a 10 gallon (40 quart) food safe container. Fill with a large block of ice, 7-10 pounds, and 7 1/2 to 8 gallons of cold water. Then pour the strong tea solution into the container slowly and stir well. Don't put the tea base in first, it will stay at the bottom.
Serve over ice cubes, with lemon or limes cut into fourth wedges on the side.

Indian Milk Sweet

8 gallons of milk
2 gallons of condensed milk
20 eggs
1.5 pounds of butter

This huge recipe is an all day affair. It makes a sort of milk fudge.
Start with a gigantic pot and a whisk or paddle that will reach all the way to the corners. Over medium heat, stirring rather relentlessly, mix all the milks. Heat untill the volume is reduced to about 1/3, it will get thicker and thicker. Add the eggs by beating well and then beating in 1 1/2 quarts hot milk, 1/2 cup at a time. Then add the whole lot back to the cooking pot, stirring continuously, and cook and stir as it continues to thicken. When it is too stiff to stir eaasily, beat in the butter and pour onto buttered cake sheets. If you don't stir fast enough - lumps. Makes 9 giant pans of milk sweets, cut into 500 pieces.

Sydney Olympics Curried Red Snapper

(Pan-Seared Fillet of Red Snapper with Curry Emulsion) Yield 500 servings, 25 18x26 or 12x20 Hotel Pans
This recipe comes from Aramark. Note that it serves 500 and that it reflects the language, instructions and ingredients of a foodservice chef, which can be very different from those of a professional recipe writer for consumers. Ingredients:

500 (5 oz.) portions Red Snapper fillets, skin on
3.6 kg seasoned flour
11.25 kg baby spinach
9 kg seedless red grapes
2.25 kg shallot
2.25 kg leek
1 liter white wine
12 liters chicken stock
25 liters court bouillon
16 liters curry emulsion
178 ml lemon juice
112.5 grams seafood seasoning
300 grams chives

Prep the following steps before assembly:

Saut´┐Ż shallots and leek with grapes until leeks are tender. Salt and pepper to taste. Deglaze with white wine and 1 liter of chicken stock. Fold in chopped chives.
Combine flour, salt and pepper (to taste) and seafood seasoning in a bowl. Dust fillet with seasoned flour; fry in skillet until golden brown on both sides.

Emulsion Sauce:
Bring the chicken stock and lemon juice to a simmer and remove from heat. Slowly whisk into curry butter and season with salt and pepper. Use immersion blender. Hold warm for serving.

Place 45 kg of baby spinach in the bottom of 2-inch 18x26" steam table pans. Add court bouillon, layer of 20 fillets on top of spinach. Separate topping for each pan and cover with foil and bake at 190 degrees C. convection oven for almost 10 minutes. Serve immediately and drizzle with curry emulsion sauce.

Sydney Olympics Braised Chicken Michigan

500 118-ml (4 ounce) servings Aramark's professional chefs feeding the Olympic athletes don't mess around; they cook in batches of 500 servings, like this recipe, and use metric weights and measures for universal accuracy. Ingredients:

3.6 Kg butter (sweet unsalted) 5.9 Kg onions (diced) 22.7 Kg mushrooms (sliced) 9.46 Liters Madeira wine (or dry red wine) 2.27 Kg flour (all-purpose) 57.75 Liters water 0.67 Kg beef base 0.45 Kg chicken base 2.27 Kg dried cherries (Michigan) 56.75 Kg cooked chicken (dried or strips)

Garnish: 2.27 Kg diced red peppers 1.5 Kg fresh basil (chopped or julienne)

Serve over Pasta (500 118-ml servings): 18.9 Kg (raw weight) pasta (egg noodles or tri-colored rotini)

In kettle or brazier melt butter. Add onions and saute halfway, add mushrooms and saute until tender.
Slowly add flour to make roux. Cook roux for about 10 minutes. Add wine and reduce by half. Add all remaining ingredients and simmer for a least 20 minutes or until temperature reaches at least 95 degrees C.
Place chicken mixture and noodles in separate steamtable pans garnished. Serve chicken over noodles.