Mass Production Cooking/Rehearsal Dinner


Dear Chef,
I am fixing my nephews rehearsal dinner for his wedding. It's going to be for about 75 people. We have decided to do a taco bar. I am going to fix grilled chicken, taco meat and want to grill flank steak. I am just not sure how much of each I need to buy. We are having rice and black beans to accompany the meat. Thank you.

Hi Missy!

The way to figure out production amounts for a large party is to arrive at a per-person portion and multiply by the amount of people.

On a taco bar, I'd estimate each person may consume 3 ounces of grilled chicken, 3 ounces of taco meat, and 4 ounces of flank steak.  10 ounces is more than most people can eat, but you'll need over-production because of the multiple choices.

So, 3 ounces times 75 people equals 225 ounces or 14 pounds of chicken or taco meat.  This is the COOKED portion, so add 20% for cooking loss and trim loss. That means about 17 pounds RAW product.

The average person will eat 4 ounces of COOKED beans and rice. Since rice is a 2:1 ratio, being 2 parts liquid to 1 part rice, you'll need 6 pounds of raw rice and 12 pounds of liquid to cook it in, preferably something flavorful like chicken broth.

You can estimate 1-2 ounces of "fixins" for the taco bar like tomatoes, lettuce, jalapenos, etc.
Portion 2 tortillas per person.

Lastly, remember that you have an AWESOME responsibility to assure the safety of this food you'll be serving. It would be horrible to make everyone sick at a wedding. Assure proper cooking temperatures, proper hot-holding and serving temperatures, and be certain of the personal hygiene of everyone preparing or serving the food.

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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