Mass Production Cooking/catering


cooking for a church banquet of 75 people.  banquet starts at 6 with a serve time at 7pm.  serving fried chicken pork tenderloin crusted baked chicken breast with yams collard green cornbread dinners and salad tea coffee and water.  I need help with how much of each should i prepare

Hi Tina!
You may have too many items.  Keep in mind that the more options you offer, the more you have to prepare to assure everyone has a choice.

For example, if you JUST make chicken, you might make 75-85 4ounce chicken breasts.  But, if you have chicken and pork tenderloin, you can't make 40 chicken and 45 pork.  If the first 40 people choose chicken, the 41st person doesn't have a choice.  This is compounded when you have three dishes.  You'll wind up cooking for 175 people to assure they have choices.

So, I'd eliminate one of the types of chicken.  This should make it much easier on you.  A fried item is much harder to keep its quality when being held hot for service.  Fried items become soggy after just a few minutes.  If you're planning a buffet, I'd go with the baked chicken and forget the frying.

The average adult will consume 10-12 ounces TOTAL of food.  That usually breaks down to 4-6 ounces of protein, 3-4 ounces of vegetable and 3-4 ounces of starch.  For 75 people, you'd need a total of 375 ounces of protein (75 people x 5 ounces) or 23.5 pounds of finished cooked product.  Keep in mind you will lose 15-20% of weight in trimming and cooking loss.

If your adults are firemen, increase the portion to 6-8 ounces per person.  If they're children, decrease to 2-3 ounces per person.

But, in using an average adult, I'd recommend you purchase 20 pounds of pork tenderloin and create 3 ounce portions for the chafing dish.  You should purchase 20 pounds of 3-4ounce chicken breasts.  As I mentioned above, give smaller portions when you have multiple items.

Purchase 15-20 pounds of yams, depending if they will be peeled or not.  If they're baked in skin, 15 pounds.  If peeled and steamed, 20 pounds.  Purchase 10 pounds of collards, unless people LOVE collards there, then increase to 15 pounds.

The average person will eat 2 ounces of salad mix and 1/4 cup of dressing.  You can bake cornbread in casserole pans and cut into 100 individual portions.

As a long time caterer, I can also give you a tip that if you are serving a buffet, the smaller the plates the better.  People don't mean to waste food, but when they have a full sized dinner plate, they'll pile it up and throw away what they don't eat.  If it's a buffet, they can always come back for more.

Lastly, you have an AWESOME responsibility to assure the safety of the food you serve.  It would be terrible to make everyone at your church sick.  You have to cook to 165F final finished temperature, hold hot at 140F or above through service.  You must assure the personal hygiene of everyone that comes in contact with the food and guard against cross-contamination.  If you are not aware of these things, you should research or hire a professional caterer.

Good luck with your event,
Chef Todd Mohr, CCE

Mass Production Cooking

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Chef Todd Mohr. CCE


I'd be glad to answer your questions about how basic cooking methods apply equally to cooking for two in your home, or 1000 for an event. Please don't ask me how much to order from the caterer or deli. That's up to them to consult you on. If you are doing the actual cooking, I can help. My expertise is in cooking for more than 100 people. Your questions concerning cooking methods, amount to purchase, portioning, strategies for food service, and food safety for large production are welcomed. There are plenty of recipe websites on the internet. Please don't ask me for recipes. I don't believe in written instructions for cooking anyway. The more information you give while asking your question, the better response I can give. "How do I feed 100 people at my daughter's wedding?" is too broad of a question. "If I plan to offer chicken and beef for 100 people, how much chicken should I purchase?" is a better question. Visit my website at LIKE ChefToddMohr on Facebook Subscribe to ChefToddMohr on YouTube


I'm certified by the American Culinary Federation as a Certified Culinary Educator. I'm currently a Chef Instructor at three different culinary schools in Baltimore, Maryland. Previously an Executive Chef at a large hospital, feeding 3000 people three times daily over 8 different menus. Also a Chef at The National Security Agency in Washington, DC, part of a team feeding 15,000 people twice daily. Then, General Manager/Executive Chef of various Business Dining Cafeterias, feeding thousands daily. My catering company has hosted many large events, feeding up to 1000 people.

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Bachelor of Arts, Long Island University Associate of Arts, Baltimore International Culinary College

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Certified Culinary Educator (ACF)

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My catering company has had many of the nations largest companies as clients.

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