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Cook Talk

help for planning a retreat menu
Help! I have been put in charge of planning the food for a 3 day all inclusive retreat this winter. I am a newbie at this and was wondering if it is better to hire someone for catering or if it is more cost effective to figure this out by myself. There will be 3 breakfasts 3 lunches and 3 dinners. Also a chocolate fountain . There is estimated to be 40-60 people and Iam clueless. Anyhelp or ideas would be greatly appreciated.
May your days be bright and your burdens light.
Hi, Wendy,
This is a very nice number to prepare for, and the usual situation is that you have a nice big commercial style kitchen, with good equipment.

To hire a caterer is costly. If you do it with the assistance of volunteers it will cost about 1/2 as much, so part of the decision is, what is our budget.

In addition, there are a variety of ways to staff. It takes about 5 persons per meal in the kitchen, add another 3 after for clean up for this size group. Some retreats, there is a volunteer team, or a rotating group of volunteers, who are not taking the retreat and come in to prep for the various meals. In some retreats, volunteers from the retreat group rotate in for each meal. So part of the question is, are you doing this for the retreatants, or are they doing it as part of the retreat? Menus are different depending on what type of staffing you select.

Also, do you have cooks who are willing to cook and freeze weeks ahead to simplify prep on site? Do you know what special diets you are dealing with, or can you find out ahead? Is it a women's group, a men's group, a teen group, or what? All these affect the menu choices as well.

Start a NEW thread and send me all this info and I will help you with the menu and with the work plan.

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