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Cook Talk

cooking for a crowd
I have been asked to make side dished for a friends wedding. I am used to cooking for large crowds but never more than 100ish. I was under the impression that it was going to be small, now she tells me 250. They are having someone grill meat and I supply the sides. Party potatos (the mashed kind with sour cream and cream cheese) calico beans, a pasta salad and fresh fruit. can you give me an idea of how much of each I will need? And I saw you posted a roaster recipe for the hashbrown kind of cheesy potatoes, do you have one for this kind?
You seem to have posted twice.

A party this size takes 3-4 people in the kitchen and 10-15 out front to set up serve and clean up. 4 serving lines or 2 double sided serving lines.

Potatoes, mashed, etc, I start with 45-50 pounds per 100 people, for 250about 110 pounds

Calico beans, 8-12 pounds dry per 100, you want to end up with 3 to 4 gallons per 100, 3 is usually enough unless there are very big appetites.

6 pounds dry pasta per 100 as base for your pasta salad.

Fruit, see the fruit ray page, two times the amount for the deluxe tray for 100 plus a few extra quarts of strawberries would be about right. It takes about 5 hours to prepare this much fruit.

The menu is very heavy. Consider adding 2 gallons per 100 of some kind of marinated veg salad, such as broccoli-cauliflower, antipasto veg (recipe on this site), etc.

Also, all wedding reception dinners need an appetizer plan, especially with this many, 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 serves about 100 guests.

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