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Cook Talk

Wedding for 100-125
Kat
10/04/12
Hi! I have a wedding reception/party quickly approaching. The wedding is next week in Jamaica and the reception/party is November 3rd. I have been trying to get a final price for the bride but I am stuck! She had an original budget of $900 - $1000 (this is for a friend) and her menu is below.

(1)Tomato & Mozzarella Crostini with Basil Pesto
(2)Smoked Salmon with Herbed Cream Cheese & Capers on Crostini
(3)Jerk chicken Skewers Served with Caribbean Salsa (fresh mango salsa)
(4)Hot Crab dip served with Phyllo Shells
(5)Edamme Hummus served with Fresh Veggies
(6)Baby Red Potatoes stuffed with Cream Cheese, Chives, Dijon Mustard & Fresh Italian Parsley
(7)Asparagus with Asiago & Fontina Cheese wrapped in Phyllo
(8) 2 Brie rounds wrapped in Puff Pastry one with Raspberry Jam and the other with Pepper Jelly Served with Crackers

Dessert: Vanilla Bean Cupcakes Filled with Chocolate Chip canolli Cream topped with Fresh Whipped Cream

I will be preparing all of the items above including the cupcakes

My biggest question is how much am I going to need?

If I am doing to chicken Satay style (thinly sliced on skewers marinaded in Jerk Seasoning) can I get away with approx 45lbs of chicken breasts?

I am using baby red potatoes - will 40lbs work?

And for the Asparagus....35 lbs?

Mozzarella? - 8lbs?
Tomatoes? - 12lbs?
Hummus? 1/4 lb per 100 people?
Smoked Salmon?? I have no idea how many lbs I will need...I have never used smoked salmon before but do know it's going to run me about $16 per lb.

PS I will be making my own crostini and will purchase fresh baguettes the day before the event.

I know I need 200-300 pieces as I need to account for 2-3 pieces per person. The event is from 7pm until midnight.

I have been to costco and priced the various ingredients I need...I am just stuck on the lbs of ingredients.

Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

ellen
10/04/12
Kat, this is not a realistic budget for this menu. You have to plan on 120.

(1)Tomato & Mozzarella Crostini with Basil Pesto 12 pounds mozz, 8 pounds tom (I like Italian)
(2)Smoked Salmon with Herbed Cream Cheese & Capers on Crostini 2 oz salmon per person, 1 oz cream cheese
(3)Jerk chicken Skewers Served with Caribbean Salsa (fresh mango salsa) 1 pound raw boneless per 3
(4)Hot Crab dip served with Phyllo Shells 1/4 cup per person Artichoke spinach would be just as nice and less costly
(5)Edamme Hummus served with Fresh Veggies 1/2 cup per person, and have some bread as well as veggies
(6)Baby Red Potatoes stuffed with Cream Cheese, Chives, Dijon Mustard & Fresh Italian Parsley, 1 pound per 3
(7)Asparagus with Asiago & Fontina Cheese wrapped in Phyllo 1 pound per 5
(8) 2 Brie rounds wrapped in Puff Pastry one with Raspberry Jam and the other with Pepper Jelly Served with Crackers
Not nearly enough. You need at least 4, 5-6 would be better. Or add an additional cheese- maybe fontina, or a creamy goat cheese.,
Add 12=15 pounds really good bread amd 4 pounds butter

Dessert: Vanilla Bean Cupcakes Filled with Chocolate Chip canolli Cream topped with Fresh Whipped Cream total p[lus 10%

Kat
10/05/12
Thanks so much for your reply, Ellen. I have catered one event so far and it was for 50 people and on a very small budget. My profit was only $200 and I would like to see more for this one. I just had absolutely no idea what to charge her. Recently, she has said that not to worry about the money, just do it and her future husband would pay whatever it costs. She has chosen an expensive menu considering the cost of food at this point and time.

When you say per (3) or per (5) are you speaking in terms of people or pieces?

This is a new venture. As a home cook I want to start my own business but menu pricing is the absolute hardest to do!

I truly appreciate your guidance!
Kat

ellen
10/05/12
Kat, first be aware that in most states it is strictly illegal to prepare food for sale in your home kitchen. Most beginners get around this by either prepping the food at the host site, which is legal, or renting a licensed kitchen, which can often be done at a church or school kitchen.

Second, the usual fee for catered food is 3 to 4 times the actual cost of ingredients- 3 times if drop off, 4 times if served, PLUS any pass through costs such as rental of serving equipment, plated and dishes, etc.

Third, you need a WRITTEN CONTRACT/AGREEMENT covering the exact amounts and costs; 1/2 paid when signed; 1/2 on day of.

Fourth, and this is critical, you need liability insurance; if someone claims they got sick from your food, or a gust or staff is injured during the event, you can be sued, and you can lose your house.

The per 3 is per every 3 persons.

You need to go read the professional catering forum at:

chef2chef.com
cheftalk.com

The failure/bankruptcy rate for inexperienced cooks is over 50% the first year...

Kat
10/06/12
Thanks so much for the additional information. I rent a church kitchen the day before and day of the event. The event site also has it's own kitchen for last minute cooking, etc. Liability insurance is already covered! The county in which I live doesn't require a business license but does require insurance and the only home business I am able to have is a home baking business.

I never really thought about what my fees should be as I always seem to be doing this as a favor.

I appreciate your help and insight once again and I will definitely check out the other two websites.

Have a nice weekend and thanks!

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