Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Aug 5, 2009 01:41 PM

HELP! Foodie in new of ideas for 30th Bday bash!

Hi Fellow Foodies!
OK, my wife is turning 30 in a month and I am having about 35 people over to celebrate. I am an experienced cook but usually only cook intricate meals for no more than 8 people. Large parties are not my expertise but I know the guests will be expecting something above the norm since I am hosting the event. Good news is I run a food distribution company so I can get just about anything at distributor cost. I of course do not want to do burgers and hot dogs and I do not want to be stuck cooking the entire evening. The party will be all adults and I have some foodie friends that could help me with prep. Any and all help/ideas is appreciated! thanks!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Would you consider doing heavy appetizers instead of an actual sit down meal? It would make preparation and cooking a lot easier for such a large crowd.

    2 Replies
    1. re: CreativeFoodie42

      absolutely. I should of stated I am not doing a sit down event. I will have tables and tents set up outside and will do a "buffet" style event.

      1. re: rsims

        Here are a few suggestions for great appetizers that will help minimize cooking during the party:

        Mini steak sandwiches with a horseradish sauce. Yes, this will require cooking right before serving but it is simple and always a hit. Since it is summertime, you could also do lobster sandwiches (but not lobster salad), which could be prepared ahead of time.

        Seared ahi tuna served on slices of cucumber.

        Crab salad served in throw-away mini martini glasses. Add a little slaw or greens to the bottom of the glass for a nice presentation.

        Stuffed mushrooms either with regular or crab stuffing (I always include cayenne for a kick). You can prepare ahead of time and it will only require throwing it in the oven for a bake and a broil before serving.

    2. I just did a birthday dinner for about 25 and made beef wellington. It was in the oven about the time guests arrived and had appetizers (gougeres--made in advance, stuffed mushrooms). I used Tyler Florence's recipe and most could be made early.

      1. This is screaming smoked foods (bbq)
        pulled pork
        I'm not talking about grilling, or sticking a pork butt in a crock and claiming it is pulled pork, I'm talking about bbq - meats cooked at a low temperature with wood smoke.

        Mass quantities of stellar food with min work=bbq. Grilling for 30+ would be hard work. BBQ would not.
        My suggestion:

        Spare ribs, baby back ribs, brined chicken quarters (or whole birds,) pulled pork, and a grilled side or two of salmon with a few diferent sauces (yogurt/dill/garlic/lemon, and a mango salsa)

        Then, I'd ask your friends with a clue about how to cook to make tater salad, slaw, fruit salad etc. I'd hint VERY STRONGLY at them to be creative (wasabi spiked tater salad, hollandaise tater salad, chipotle mayo slaw w/ cilantro, tortellini salad - all using quality in season ingredients of course, and nothing gross like miracle whip or other cheap sugar laden mayo fakes. Plan your cook times so the fish is last. Far easier than a lot of ppl think, and absolutely stellar results for the effort put in.
        P.s. Don't go boiling ribs. It's messy, and a waste of time. Just slow cook them in your smoker set up.

        1. I did a big fancy foodie bash when I turned 30 myself, maybe my pics will inspire you:

          I think you can do ok with a lot of people/ party had around 30 people and 10 dishes (mostly appetizer-type stuff), as long as a most of them are "make-ahead" dishes. I had 3 main dishes that had to be cooked during the party, but my hubby, I, and my sis all took turns cooking them in a staggered way so we still had a chance to enjoy the party. It also helps to have friends surround you and a nice glass of wine while you're cooking. A friend of mine who was a great baker also contributed a couple of wonderful desserts.

          And we did have burgers! But they were "gourmet" sliders in a brioche bun with truffle aioli. Satisfies both the foodie and the person just looking for something hearty for dinner. :-)

          3 Replies
          1. re: arlenemae

            Looks beautiful, very nicely displayed too! It look like you didn't need knives? That the bad part of buffets sometimes if there's not a table to sit at where you can cut your food, and you end up balancing the plate on your lap...

            1. re: chef chicklet

              Nope, no knives needed, though I did have some forks for some of the items...kinda hard to have enough tables to put food in when you have >20 people so I think it's best to serve things that are easy to eat and don't require much cutting (at least not in the guest's plate)

              I gotta say I also love those little plates where you can slip your wineglass in, so you can use the other hand to eat your food! They are the most useful thing to have at a cocktail party!

          2. Roast a couple of whole beef tenderloins on the grill.

            Poach a whole salmon or two.

            Leg of lamb also can feed quite a few, and butterflied, is a snap on the grill.

            All the above can be done ahead of time, as far in advance as you need to. And each entree has many possibilities of accompaniments that will round out your menu.

            Don't forget the birthday cake!! Have fun!