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Cook Talk

Wedding Reception for 200
Planning my daughter's wedding reception for approx. 200 people. It's a rustic theme. The couple is requesting a menu of grilled hamburgers, hot dogs, potato chips, baked beans, potato salad, lemonade and sweet tea. Could you give me some idea of how much of each item I would need to provide?
It looks like you have a picnicky feel in mind. This is actually a pretty labor intensive and costly menu, because a party this size requires 3 people on the grill, as well as 3 in the kitchen and 10-12 out front to set up, serve, and clean up; and the cooks and grillers can't be at the wedding because they will be readying the food. It also has a fairly high meat cost, and condiment costs.

Depending on the time of year, there good alternatives that are much less work. For example, swapping out the hot dogs for sausage and peppers allows the dish to be made ahead and ready. Pulled pork or chicken, meatball subs or cold cut subs use less meat than hamburgers and no on-site grilling.

In addition, and particularly if you do go with the grilled menu, you need an appetizer plan. In this case it would be your chips and dips, some kind of classic relish tray and a fruit tray, with lemonade or punch. A self-catered buffet is a real challenge to the organizers, and 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. Each appetizer serving area serves about 100 guests.

Please talk over the menu plan with the couple and write back, and then I will help with amounts.

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