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Cook Talk

Reception Appetizer / Dinner Talk
I am getting married in a few weeks and we are doing a buffet style dinner. There will about 75 people total in attendance. We will be serving the following: fruit tray, antipasto platter, grilled chicken, picadillo (ground beef in tomato sauce, pork tenderloin, congri (white rice and black bean mix), vegetable medley, mashed potato bar with fixins, sweet plantains, mac n cheese and of course cake. Alot I know, both families like to eat. :) caterer asked if I was planning on doing the fruit and antipasto as an appetizer. I was planning on doing all the food together at the same time. Which way should I do it, all together or appetizers then dinner?
Good question!

For a wedding reception, appetizers then dinner is the way to go. There is a period of time, almost an hour, after the ceremony with photos, etc, when the guests have nothing to do. I wrote:

Things don't always come together as smoothly as hoped. By planning and setting up an appetizer area or "nibble table" which is ready when the guests begin to arrive, the cooks and servers have time to complete the arrangement of the dinner buffet. This is especially critical if there are children among the guests, or there is a wait before dinner, as at a wedding reception.

This does not have to be complicated. Three items, plus a punch, or two if one is alcoholic, are sufficient. Typically, include a fruit tray, a cheese tray and an attractive dip or spread; or you can go with a dinner theme such as TexMex with chips, salsas, Texas caviar and guacamole; Italian with bruschetta or antipasto; maybe shrimps or other cold seafood, if budget permits.

One appetizer service area is needed for each 100 guests.

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