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Cook Talk

jan wild
I am serving bowtie noodles with with either spaghetti
or Alfredo sauce. How much bow ties will I need
and how much of each sauce. will also have lettuce
salad, garlic bread with the bowties.
how much watermelon and cantaloupe will need for 400 people. It will be in a bowl with grapes, and also
some blueberries?
jan wild
Hi, Jan,

This is a VERY large party. It will require at least 6 people in the kitchen and 25 people out front to set up, serve and clean up. Most will not be attending the wedding, as they will be prepping the dinner at that time. If you are considering catering this, be aware that a wedding reception is the most difficult event to cater, and one bad one can ruin your local rep.

If this is the only entree, 16-18 pounds dry pasta per 100 with some angel hair (ready for fast cooking) held in reserve in case they eat more than expected. 1 quart sauce per pound. Usually 2/3 red and 1/3 white. 3-4 pounds shave or grated Parm per 100

For the fruit, look at the fruit tray page for bite counts and realize that you need at least 6 bites per person.

This menu cries out for expansion, including some veg, maybe roasted veg done ahead and served Italian style at room temp. 22 pounds ready to cook per 100.

Please convince your bride to consider an appetizer plan, and here is why:

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.

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 easily serves 100 guests, so you would plan 2.

If this were my party, I would add at least fruit tray, such as the deluxe tray for 100 on the fruit tray page, and consider a classic relish tray to supplement the veggies. I would definitely add interesting dip, such as the 7 layer dip on this site, with 1 pound chips per 12 and 1 pint dip/salsa per pound. Then, at least 2 pieces per person of something unusual; mini quiche, spanakopita, dolmas, stuffed mushrooms. This is a wedding feast. It needs some oomph.

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