See a letter from Ellen about the donation campaign. Your help matters!

Cook Talk

Rehearsal Dinner Buffet

On August 4 I am hosting a buffet rehearsal dinner buffet at 3:30pm for 36 adults and 5 children (between the ages of 8 to 11). I will be serving catered entrees. Entree 1: Yellow Noodles, Entree 2: Sweet and Sour Chicken, Rice, Appetizer: Curry Dumplings, Dessert: Cupcakes, Beverages: Bottled Water and Punch

The caterer said the food will be placed in long, deep aluminum pans. How many pans do I need of each entree? Should I not buy the food based on the pan size but rather buy the food based on the number of people attending? How much rice do I need? I thought I would have 2 appetizers for each guest and have 2 bottles of water for each guest. Do I need 3 gallons of punch? Will 1 cupcake per person be enough? Or can you recommend another dessert? Thanks for your help.

What is in the yellow noodles that qualifies it as an entree rather than a side dish? This really affects the amount of chicken.

If the caterer means full size 12x26x2 pans, they are usually considered to hold 2 entree servings.

Write back.

Thanks Ellen,

This dish is stir fried wide rice noodles in a yellow curry sauce with onions, celery, tomatoes and chicken. The caterer said I should order enough yellow noodles and sweet and sour chicken for 35 people per entree. Is that correct? I think the measurements for the aluminum pan is 16x26x3.

Hi, Belinda,
I agree with your caterer about the amounts for the entrees. You want a full pan of rice- that is 2 to 3 pounds dry, if you are making it yourself (see the baked rice recipe on the recipe box page- it is easy, and cheap).

I agree at least 3 gallons punch, but have some kind of sugar free (iced tea?) for the folks who can't drink sugar beverages.

Have 4 dozen cupcakes.

I would add a fruit tray- see the fruit tray page- as many people will hesitate over the dumplings and the kids love fruit.

Hi Ellen,

I'm not going to serve the curry dumplings now--some people might be turned-off because they are fried. There won't be a cocktail hour so I don't think I need the dumplings. Not sure I want to add a fruit tray just for the kids--5 as opposed to 36 adults. To date no one has indicated that they are diabetic so I'll probably still serve the cupcakes. Is this menu adequate? Thanks for your advice!

With this menu, everyone will eat some fruit, especially as there are no other vegetables. If you don't want to serve fruit, consider adding a green vegetable or salad.
First, love, love, LOVE your site! It has helped me tremendously in starting my catering business so thank you! You are the "Yoda" of catering! "Genius you are!" :) My question: I am doing a rehearsal dinner at a facility but outside. What is the best way to keep the rolls and cornbread warm without electricity? I thought of using a chafing dish but was worried about bread getting too hard or soggy. I have a perforated pan insert to keep food from sitting on the bottom of the pan so I thought I could use that with only one fuel and a towel at the base to absorb excess moisture. It's a two hr serving period. I have found cordless warming trays, but they only keep hot for "up to" 60 mins. I know all the events I have been to just have the bread out at room temp. I never take any because it's too cold and no one likes cold bread! I am also worried about the safe holding temp of the cornbread as it has buttermilk. Your divine enlightenment is cherished and appreciated! Thanks Ellen!
How long are you talking about?

Safety-wise, the cornbread holds like any onther bread, basically, until it molds...

A chafer with no moisture is a possibility- hard on the chafer, but not on the rolls.

Also, preheated cambros or ice chests- see the baked potato bar page, on how to hold the potatoes.

If this saves you time, trouble, or money, consider a donation to support the site.

E-Mail: (optional)