In need of input on (another) Big event

Joined Oct 28, 1999
Here's the scenario:
450 people, early June, outside (tent) and inside on 3 different floors.
The parameters:
Not a ton of money, but some to spend.
The client wants to "Wow" the attendees.
The need:
Can you offer input of the food? Preliminarily, we are looking at Cuban food. So the questions are these...
Is Cuban a good way to go? It seems to be trendy enough to "wow" the guests.
What do you know about producing Cuban for 450?
Is there another genre that we should explore. Thus far, the only mention on food was a "new" menu to impress the guests.
As always, your inout is greatly appreciated!!
If you have some great ideas and are willing, I can cover your costs to help with and attend the event.


Joined Apr 4, 2000

I am curious why have you decided on Cuban food? What is your idea or the customer's?

Joined Oct 28, 1999
Valid question. I thought of Cuban fare because it seems to be rather trendy right now. I am not locked into it at all. It was just a starting point.
Joined Aug 11, 2000
Outdoor Grilling.....the smells really are an entisement.....
Cuban....Hot! Fun! Great Drinks...
Loads of tropical flowers
Presentation could be your WOW

Plantain Chips (length wise)
Fun corn chips again cut long
Black bean dip or pickled limes (ie like preserved lemons)
Gucamole maybe made on site in sight....

How far do you want me to go with this.....?
Joined Jul 31, 2000
Jim, Cuban black bean soup is a tasty one and you can set out infront of the soup some self served condiments,like very small diced fried potatoes, sour cream, roasted red pepper purre,lime segments with cilantro,shredded pork or chicken. This is a inexpensive menu item,but gets the people involved. If you are serving 300+ guest you will need a couple of stations that are chef or service staff attended,as to not jam up the flow. Hey, let us know how it turns out


Joined Apr 4, 2000

More Spanish then Cuban but why not a tapas bar like they do in Spain at cocktail hour.

Joined Oct 28, 1999
Okay, now we're cookin'. I would like to do about 10 or 12 items. I would love to do some open air cooking, but Museum regulations do not allow for open flame. I like the guacamole 'a la minute' idea. Is there a protein tie-in? I want to be careful about treading along the lines of a 'nacho bar.' The plantain chips sound great. The black bean soup/topping bar would work well. Especially if we amped it up with some Lime marinated chicken. They do have some money to spend, so we can push the menu a bit.
Thanks for the input so far.!!
Joined Aug 11, 2000
Start working in loads of different chilis
*I cannot tell you how many guys eat scotch bonnets around here!I'd go through the gamet...mild to scortching amazing
Too bad about the grill....could have been a great addition.
Shrimp on sugar cane skewers
marinated crab claws

***Rice is big in how to serve it neatly....seafood risotto cakes with a tropical salsa....hmmmm to frilly

I still like corn and bean salsa/salad whatever.....a sorta sweet hot horseradish dried mustard dressing......

If you got prep labor how about sweet potato tamoles with a mole kinda sauce or
I really like carnitas....garlic, pork, chilis, cumin cooked until soft....add lime and maybe do a soft fresh taco station...
making tortillas is not hard....pretty yummy
***I'd do chicken so many people will not eat pork these a variety of freshly made flour tacos.

Drinks...mojitos, watermelon lemonade, tropical fruity call anything a martini and it sells loads of fruits as garnishes
Tropical icecream...gelato if you got it...
coconut is one of my favorites, ohhh that leche caramel;, pineapple
I really like the look of those baby pineapples.

[This message has been edited by shroomgirl (edited 11-11-2000).]
Joined Oct 28, 1999
As always, I can count on the team at ChefTalk to come through! I am drafting a menu for the client within the next few days. I'll post it here and let you know their feedback. Until then...
Joined Oct 28, 1999
Well, after a brief discussion w/the client... Cuba is... well... adios. Hello New Orleans and the Bayou. Here's the scoop... any input:
Steamed Cray fish, cajun butter
Catfish po' boy bites
Marinated crab claw cocktail
Spinach & artichoke dip, cubed bread
Andouille and assorted sausages & cheese display
Chicken etouffe
'Gator chili, red beans 'n rice
Muffalata station (display of breads, spiced meats, traditional relishes)
Banana's Foster, French Vanilla Ice Cream
Mud Pie
Pecan Tartletts
Mint Juleps
Chicory Coffee

Ok... any critique/suggestions/comments?
Thanks, team!
Joined May 29, 1999
Don't forget the fun favors like mardi gras masks, beads, lights and music! Get festive!

Skewer'd grilled gater
Cayanne Bloody Marys
Blackend everything served on a stick
Three kings breads with prizes inside

good luck and happy planning
Joined Aug 11, 2000
Boiled crawfish (Definately do not say cray fish that's bait in other parts of US)
is messy....Crawfish etouffee is pure southern louisiana over popcorn rice
or Shrimp Creole

Remoulade (shrimp) with celery root slaw

Andouille is always served hot, good in Gumbo or Red Beans and rice (Camilla Beans)

Boudin Balls (boudin filling deep fried)

Fried catfish is good with cocktail sauce

Gumbo chicken and andouille or seafood
Tasso and Shrimp Pasta
Stuffed articokes (I'd do baby)
Crab dip, marinated claws (blue crabs)
Veggies and I'm stalling out on that one.
Oysters beinville, Rockerfeller, casino....

*Muffalatas are heavy adn smelly, they are pretty messy too with the olive salad.The oil could ruin clothing.

Bananas Foster (possibly over really good bread pudding)
Bourbon Pecan pie
New Orleans is big on Dobosh Tortes...many thin layers of cake with icing between the layers...usually yellow cake dark choc icing
in rectangles

Absinyth cocktails
Hurricanes....the glass is half the fun
Abita Beers
Barqs Root beer
Watermelon lemonade
Community Coffee (Dark Roast)
***Mardis Gras is early this year I can't wait! Has it been 5 years....I really miss it sometimes (now!)
Joined Dec 8, 1999
New Orleans is big on Dobos Torte? Great stuff, but you've got to wonder how an Austrian dessert made it in the Big Easy.I've got access to a great recipe for it if you want, Jim. If anybody's wondering about the difference in my spelling of dobos and Shroomgirl's, it's pronounced as she spelled it. Like so many other German and Austrian words, if you try to sound a little bit drunk when you say them, you'll usually come up with how it should be pronounced.
Joined Aug 11, 2000
Totally clueless as to how it ended up there
but Dobos (Dobosh in NO) is in alot of the bakeries....not as fancy as the caramel topped one...these are just thin layers of cake with icing.....
King Cakes are served between 12th night and Mardi Gras usually no other time....everyone in school or at a office brings them and whoever gets the baby brings the's a real big deal in Southern La.
Joined Sep 25, 2000
Now we're talken cajun! I have loads of recipes. I will be back to help later on.
It looks to me Shroomgirl has it pretty much set up though.
Joined Aug 14, 2000
How about a carving station with a(what's the name of that turkey stuffed with a duck, stuffed with a chicken, stuffed with andouille, etc.?? ..... It'll come to me as soon as I press *submit*)
Joined Oct 28, 1999
Its Turdunken (turkey-duck-chicken). However, the client stressed absolutely NO carving stations. That was one of the first things I suggested. But, alas, some ideas just never make it to the table. Anyhow, so far the menu is coming along. I think the creole/New Orleans slant is chic enough to impress without being 'freak food'. I'll keep you posted.
Joined Sep 25, 2000
Jim, could you tell me all your restrictions before I submit any suggestions to you. I don't like to waste time on something you can't use. Thank you
Joined Oct 28, 1999
Here are, basically, the parameters:
>450 guests
>Food in an outside courtyard (main area for the evening)
>Food on 3 floors of the building
>Open bars, 4 locations
>4-hour event
>NO grill cooking; I can get away w/portable burner (casset fuet) in the courtyard for Bananas Foster
>About 2 hours of set-up time is available
>Somewhat limited cold storage before and durring the event
>Me and 1 or 2 prep people
>50% of their budget is for liquor
>We MUST rent all of our equipment as our facility owns NOTHING (i.e. I have a double convection oven, 4 burner, flat top, hi-cap fryer. That's it... no hot-holding, etc.)

I think that is about it. I am not, however, allowed to discuss the specific price (against Musuem policy), so you will have to use your imagination. Sorry.
Thanks for your input!! -Jim

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