Help! Catering first wedding this weekend and need advice on food allowances/amounts
Hi, I've already found so much useful information and advice here so I thought I would ask the community for some much needed advice for a wedding I am catering this weekend.
The wedding is a non-formal affair in the mountains of North Carolina but they do want a dinner. I am a volunteer caterer -not a pro- but I do have a lot of experience cooking ( I teach cooking classes professionally). There will be 70 guests.
I have the menu planned and all the prep except the last minute stuff and the meats ready to go. Here is my question - I am doing three quasi main dish offerings - pork tenderloin on sweet potato biscuits with RC cola sauce, 4H Chicken Skewers and Blue Cheese Tarts with Red Pepper Jelly.
The rule of thumb I can find says "5 ounces of protein per guest". I know that this can't mean 5ounces of each protein offering, can it? That would be over 20 pounds of each pork tenderloin and chicken. But, maybe that is right? I could really use some guidance here.
To compound this issue, the bride wants to use "vintage plates" and I know that means they will vary in size and that guests fill whatever size plate they are given.
Yes, this will be a buffet and these are great tips. I am not worried about the "sweet" issue as the sauces will be on the side so people can go either way. There are plenty of other "sides" so I am not so worried about that - I have 5 passed appetizers, a cold soup, two hearty salads and two vegetables. I will buy extra chicken as it is cheaper. The blue cheese tarts a a vegetarian choice but I only have 4 vegetarians coming so I have those for everyone else too. One friend also told me to place the most expensive items last as people on buffet lines will take a little of everything. I do have staff so I will put them to good use for helping. Nope not getting paid - this is my wedding gift to the bride who is a dear friend.
Chicken is cheap, so go with 40 pounds.... and have extra. If I were serving, or receiving pork tenderloin, I think three 1/2-3/4 inch slices would be the minimum to make the plate look attractive, but I would say closer to one inch is even nicer., so you should reasonably expect 3-4 servings per tenderloin..
If you are serving on a buffet, make sure there is staff to dish out portions.....otherwise if the front of the line takes more than they should, you won't have any food left for the rear of the line.
coesta, Yup, about 5 oz. per person of protein is reasonable. That means a blanket statement for ALL situations; SO, in yours, where people would want to probably try more than one entree (tho one sounds like a veg entree/possible side for others - not sure how you calculate that one... blue cheese tarts). I would plan on about 6+ oz. pp, and then think about whatever other sides you have to fill in. You say nothing of that.
I am assuming from how you speak, that this is a buffet, where people can eat at will and choose. If not, then 6 oz. pp is totally fine. You do have a skewered item, and I hope you thought about oz. per skewer to help portion this properly.
I think there are a lot of unanswered questions in your question, so will wait for more info from you to see if I can add more to my answer. Best of luck!
As someone who does not like sweet with savory, my first reaction to your mains (you say three but mention only two) is that both have sweet components -- the RC Cola sauce, and the red pepper jelly.
Although we have given many parties for upwards of 100 people, our offerings tend to be things like pulled pork, and ribs in the summer, and cassoulet, lasagna and smoked turkey in the winter, so I can't help with the amount of food, but .5 ounces of protein per guest sounds about right, depending on the sides. You're not thinking of .5 ounces per main dish per guest, are you? That sounds as if it would be too much, but .5 of one or another sounds right.
First off - the planning here is a bit askew. Since this is a volunteer catering stint, the bride should have included some sort of response card with her invitations asking that attending guests choose their entree of choice. I've received these from professional caterers quite a few times. Even though some folks might change their minds after the fact, it still does give the caterer an idea of how much of each entree to prepare. Obviously it's too late to do that, so unfortunately I think you're stuck assuming that everyone will want some of each main dish. As for the plate issue, there's nothing you can do about that.
If I were in your shoes, I'd be making extra of everything. Sorry. I hope you're at least getting paid something for this, & it's not a TOTAL volunteer offering.