Mass Production Cooking/food service


I have a couple of questions. Hoe many pieces of chicken would you buy for a 130 people wedding reception. The second meat is pulled pork. How many hotel pans of yams, collard greens, and macaroni and cheese would you make for the same group?

Hi Tadzia!

I'm assuming this is a buffet where people serve themselves. If it's "plate up", then you control the portions.

I would make 130 pieces of chicken if you're talking about legs/thighs. While you don't tell me what a "piece" of chicken is, I'll assume you mean chicken breasts. If this is the case, I'd recommend 80 breasts while cutting each chicken breast in half to make 160 smaller portions.

I can't tell you "how many hotel pans" because the estimates are determined by weight and not portion like the chicken.

I'd assume each person will eat 4 ounces of pork, 5 ounces of yams, 3 ounces of collards and 5 ounces of mac and cheese.

Now, multiply 4 ounces of pork times 130 people and this becomes 520 total ounces or 32.5 pounds of pork. If you feel you have heavy eaters, then increase the portion to 5 ounces. If you have light eaters, decrease to 3 ounces.

Do the same math for each item on your menu, estimating a per person portion and then multiplying from there. Keep in mind that the mac and cheese has cheese sauce AND pasta so you'll have to add the total weight of all items in your recipe and expand to equal your total portion production level.

Remember, you have an AWESOME responsibility to assure the safety of this food. It would be terrible to make everyone sick. You must cook to 165F finished temperature and hold items hot at 140F or above through service. You must assure the personal hygiene of the people cooking and serving the food. You must have chafing dishes or a method to keep the food hot during service.

Good luck with your event.

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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