Buffet: feed the masons!

Discussion in 'Professional Catering' started by anna_boston, Sep 3, 2010.

  1. anna_boston

    anna_boston

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    Hi there - Long time no see!

    I was finishing grad school, so the food was sort of on the back burner, no pun intended :)

    I got hired to do a buffet celebratory dinner - at the masonic lodge, haha :)

    It's an open event, so friends and families will be there, but it still will more than 50% men. It's about 45 people.

    Would like to do it on the cheaper side.

    What would you feed the masons?
     
  2. shroomgirl

    shroomgirl

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    What's your budget?

    What time of year?

    Head count?

    formality?

    What kind of celebration?

    how much help do you have?

    equipment?

    Good to see you posting at Cheftalk again.
     
  3. chefbillyb

    chefbillyb

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     Chef Carved top sirloin with Horseradish sauce or Smoked pit Ham with Apricot glaze

    Chicken Roulade w/ creamy white wine sauce with Chiffonade basil

     Cajun Roasted Baby Red Potatoes

    Fresh sautee vegetable Melody

    Caesar salad

     Relish try w/Deviled Eggs/Pickled Asparagus, beets/ olives
     
  4. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    I'm with shroomgirl.  Gotta know something about budget, facilities and what you can and like to cook before jumping in with suggestions.

    What are we looking at?  You said you wanted to keep the price down.  What does that mean?  Around $20 per head for everything?  More?  Less?

    What are the onsite facilities like.  Typical is something like a six or eight burner commercial stove with two full sized ovens, a flat top, some big pots, commercial sink onsite, reasonable amount of space on a big, stainless table, and not much in the way of refrigeration.  So much for typical. What do you have? 

    Do you have to supply linens, plates, flatware, chaffers, other serving pieces?  Or do they?  If they don't, is that factored into your per person budget?

    Do you have to set up the hall, chairs, tables, buffet table, etc?  Or, will they?  Do you have a separate rentals budget?

    If there's something you do particularly well, by all means play to your strengths.   Especially since you've been out of the game for awhile.  The one caveat is to not let your buffet get too eclectic because your six best dishes are wholly unrelated.  Do you have some particular style you're very comfortable with?  For instance, are you the world's greatest Danish cook, or maybe Greek?  The best soul food in North Dakota?  Does your BIL have a big, trailer mounted Klose?  Ethnic cuisines are a good way to be exotic and keep costs down.

    What about beverage service?  If there will be cocktails, you'll want to do some apps -- either at an app station, or passed.  If there will be wine, you'll have to think about pairing. 

    You should be able to handle 45 with one other person very easily.  It's not impossible to do by yourself, but will stretch you thin.  45 covers for one cook isn't much of a catering challenge, but you can only be in one place at a time.  When I catered, I didn't like to do more than eight covers by myself.  It's not the cooking, it's the schlepping. 

    If you're going to have a carving station as Chef Billy suggested, two people could be tight -- but it depends on the menu.

    You might want to consider at least one main which can be prepared in advance and is sturdy enough to hold up to chaffers, a quality meat in a quality sauce.  Chicken Marsala is a good example, so are etouffe and chile verde.  I'm not actually suggesting these in particular, but you get the idea.  Baked casseroles like moussaka or lasagna, are also good for keeping service simple.  I know you already know this, but things which are both good and don't require constant and immediate attention make life so much better.

    Good luck and let us know,

    BDL
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2010
  5. caterchef

    caterchef Banned

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    /img/vbsmilies/smilies/chef.gif  45 people BUFFET  "on the cheaper side"  ( You gotta be kidding! )

    Go to Sam's Club and buy a dozen Rotisserie Chickens a couple cans of baked beans, a couple tubs of cole slaw and potato salad a bag of tossed salad,  a couple bottles of salad dressing, a couple bags of dinner rolls, a half sheet cake and hand the bill to the Masons  say  "Have a Nice Day" for you can't make any money or a good impression  with a Buffet for 45 people. If they start running out of food, send someone back to Sam's. I always do a " Food Cost + Labor Cost + Expenses"  and for the Masons I usually donate the labor because I have been a member over 25 years.
     
  6. chefedb

    chefedb

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    Have you done this amount of people before??  How cheap is cheap?? All the information given above is good, Caterchef makes it easy. Keep it simple for your own sake. These guys are interested in quantity of food more then anything. Good Luck
     
  7. shroomgirl

    shroomgirl

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    Cambridge Mass.....

    Caterchef has a point, if it's $5pp  $225 is not much of a return.  But if it's $20pp then $950 is viable if you work by yourself....you could make $500-700 for a long day.
     
  8. anna_boston

    anna_boston

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    Hi - I somehow turned off the notifications and now got everything at once.

    I have cooked for 45 by myself before, and they do have a commercial kitchen on site, meaning more or less what BDL said. I usually hire shlepping help, but do the rest myself. 

    The budget is negotiable, but $20/person is pretty reasonable here. 

    I was thinking along the lines of roast beef with some interesting Georgian spices (to answer the ethnic food question - I'm Russian myself, so I do rock some Old Country fares here and there :) , sage fingerling potatoes, fall veggie ratatouille and a ceasar or waldorf salad.  

    They catered their last thing from a BBQ place, so maybe another meat/ poultry dish would be good.

    What time a year - Columbus Day.
     
  9. chefedb

    chefedb

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    I spent time in the Soviet Union and there were no spices. Every meat entree was served family style and called Shiska. A lot of duck though and no dessert but sometimes if you were lucky you got a slice of pineapple if they came in. Chicken Kieve was just a grilled piece of chicken.!  The drink of choice other then vodka( which was dispensed by the centemeter} was made out of fermented bread like a beer
     
  10. anna_boston

    anna_boston

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    Wow, that sounds horrible - it must have been in the prime of USSR. Were you eating in restaurants or with families? If it was the former, that would explain a lot.

    All of that being said, real Russian foods is very delicious, and the surrounding Central Asian countries have amazing cuisine.
     
  11. chefedb

    chefedb

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    It was in the mid 80s. Mostly restaurant experiences , 1 family meal much better.Bad part seemed to focus around farming of fresh produce. Winters are long and harsh, it starts to get cold in August therefore short growing seasons. Produce is all very small, not mature.no time to really grow. Everything must rely on imported goods and that is often sketchy as far as whats available and when it will be delivered. No one ever knows,  because the Government  Department in charge of farmers and produce, does not know what the Government agency in charge of imports is doing, and they don't know because the Government agency in charge of import inspection does not know what either of them are planning or doing. Get the picture???
     
  12. shroomgirl

    shroomgirl

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    Apples are @ the market now....an apple spice cake would be a nice way to end dinner.  

    2 meats for $20pp...great deal for them.
     
  13. anna_boston

    anna_boston

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    @Ed - Oh, I get the picture, I was there. There wasn't any import in the mid-80s, except for Central Asia :)