Gourmet meal for fundraiser

Joined Oct 23, 2008
I got an idea after seeing my buddies church last weekend, I was helping them with a car wash to raise money for the kids, and saw that they have a commercial kitchen with an 8 burner stove and two ovens. The car wash was a bit of a flop in that the only people that came were church goers.

My buddy and I have been cooking together for the last few years. We do it for fun, and we are both passionate about food. We've done everything from sushi to slow roasted whole pig. So I suggested we use our talents and enthusiasm to create a "gourmet" meal that would be for donation plates.

We know we are going to have to do tickets, and I was thinking that I'll print tickets with a selection form so that the purchaser can specify their choices and we can plan accordingly. That will also give us a number so when we go to serve, there won't be any confusion over who gets what, we can seat according to their number.

Has anyone else done something like this? Any sage advice? I'm freakish over food sanitation and I know how to handle mis en place. I think I'll be ok as far as menu planning and execution goes, but if you know of any gotchas I'd be glad to hear.

I'm extremely excited about the possibility of finally doing a professional cooking gig while also helping the kids at the church. If it's successful we will do it quarterly! /img/vbsmilies/smilies/bounce.gif
Joined Feb 1, 2007
One danger of this kind of meal is offering too many choices. What you want to do is design a menu that has only a couple of protein choices, with the rest of the meal as similar as possible.

F'rinstance, you might limit the choices to chicken or pork; or chicken, pork, fish. The other courses (and, ideally, the sides) would remain unchanged.

This approach makes your workload manageable, and accounts easily for walk-ins and no-shows.
Joined Aug 11, 2000
And you don't have to worry about having over spent.  I'm reading "gourmet" in your post....what did you have in mind?

In my mind there are a few scenerios....
1) a prix fixe dinner with pre bought tickets, that way you can be fancy and watch costs....

2) theme it out.....example: Cajun feast: gumbo, cornbread, salad, seafood or fish entree, dessert....praline cake ...make sure your audience is into the kind of food you want to serve.

3) if you are into seriously raising money, low cost -big volume can be a way to go....

KY is right, the less choices the better.
Joined Oct 23, 2008
Thanks for the suggestions! I hadn't checked this thread recently but last night I started worrying about how to handle the stress of getting food onto plates quickly. I've never worked in a professional kitchen, and although I watch shows like hells kitchen, nothing can account for real experience. So I started thinking, what if we do 50 plates. For just myself and possibly two others, that would be too many things to fire with everyone arriving at once. That made me think I need to concentrate on timing and do at least one practice run on a small scale. I also probably will have to give up doing anything on the more "advanced" scale that requires exacting timings and attention, at least for the first few times out.

I like the idea of a themed dinner. Even offering two entres I'm a little concerned. Although as a first course, I could allow choice between two items like a salad or soup, even a cold soup, because both of those items can largely be prepared ahead of time and quickly plated. The same might be true of dessert?

I've seen that some items can be par cooked, so that if you were to fire plates individually, you cut the time down. No matter how I look at it, it seems like if everyone shows up all at once, it would be difficult having some folks receive their food well ahead of others. I don't really have a good solution for that.

I'm suppose to work on putting a menu together, so if you all don't mind I will come back when I have a better idea and run it by for any suggestions :)
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