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Cooking for Parties/wedding reception food


QUESTION: I am helping a friend with her daughter' wedding.  They are planning for 240 people and want to serve buns, pasta salad, potato salad, fruit salad and snicker salad. How much of each salad should I make? I am planning on 270 buns. Thank you for taking the time to answer! I am so thankful I found this website! The wedding is Sat. 8/29/15

ANSWER: First, you have made a tremendous food waste error with four salads without knowing how many servings of each you will need, and you are not going to be able to correct it at this late date. This is why PROFESSIONAL caterers send out the "chicken or beef" cards with the invitations. Therefore you need to remove one of the starch salads (potato or pasta) and one of the fruit salads (snickers or fruit) for several reasons but mostly because if you keep all four of these salads with them being basically the same items, 2 fruit based and 2 starch based you will be making 250 servings of each which you DO NOT HAVE TIME TO DO BY Saturday.  So, you need to pick one of each and go with it.  I do not know what "buns" are, I am assuming you mean dinner rolls and you will need 1.5 buns per person which is FOUR HUNDRED buns, not 270.
You will need five ounces of each salad per person. if you make 2 of the salads.  If you make all four you will still need 5 ounces per person and will be throwing a lot of it away.  Potato salad is far more popular than pasta salad which will suck up all the dressing every night while it is stored so trust me and go with the potato salad.  Go with the fruit salad not the snickers salad because many people don't eat sugar and won't eat a salad made with candy bars and cool whip, that's a dessert.
5 ounces of salad per person means you will need to make AND STORE IN THE REFRIGERATOR 75 pounds of potato salad and another 75 pounds of fruit salad for a total of 150 pounds of salads and 400 buns. If you are going to make all four salads, that's 300 pounds of salad. You should have started this 2 weeks ago and you are in a serious time crunch. You have no chance of being able to make 300 pounds of salads unless you happen to be a professional caterer--but if you were, then I would not be needed. You are going to need 3 kitchens and 10 people to pull this off by Saturday--and where are you planning to refrigerate 300 pounds of salads?

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QUESTION: Thank you for the time and the response.  I also felt like there was more salad choices than necessary, however as this is what the bride and groom wanted. I am indeed not a professional, just someone who likes to cook and needed some advice as how to proceed with amounts.  I will probably make the 5 oz per serving in fruit salad and potato salad and less of the other 2. I will probably do more buns than planned.  Again thank you for the help.

Good luck with it, and I know you will be working like crazy till the wedding. Also, you might want to have servers to regulate the portion sizes.  If I can be of any future assistance, don't hesitate to contact me. Since you are short of time, my cell is 757-746-5358 since email might not be quick enough.

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Teri Davis Newman


I am a wedding and party planner in St. Louis, Missouri and I do weddings and parties all over the country! My brides are my number one priority as I understand how important their wedding day is to them! Any questions about catering and cooking for large groups. This would include recipes, cooking techniques, what to serve, how to prevent food poisoning, food storage and food integrity. I have thousands of recipes that are scaled for large groups and gatherings and will be happy to share them! If you are in need of professional assistance for helping you to plan your wedding, party or corporate event, please feel free to contact me! I do a limited amount of weddings and parties every year in order to make sure that I have the best service for my clientele. Feel free to visit my business website at this address: WWW.EXQUISITEEVENTSUSA.COM for detailed information on what services I offer. I have price point weddings for every budget--no matter what size and I am very specific about what you get for your hard-earned money.


Catering and parties are a large part of the restaurant business. I do a lot of catering for local parties and weddings.
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