Tuscan Dinner Party for 50

Joined Aug 19, 2003
Catering Tuscan theme outdoor cocktail/dinner party for 50. Requirements changed from buffet style to family & plated (keeping same pp price). Menu already selected: 6 passed HD, 1 salad, 1 pasta, 3 entrees, 3 sides, 3 desserts, espresso/cordials. My concern is that the client now would like everything plated and the entrees plated but with 3 different veg served family style. If I keep the same small portions (3-4oz) as I would have for buffet rather than asking the client to provide specific counts on the entrees, I'm concerned that the entree goes on a large dinner plate without accompaniments and doesn't have a complete visual appeal. A lone piece of braised beef in a barolo demi glace, no veg, no pot, perhaps a rosemary sprig garnish or brunois of red pepper for a pop of color; the tuscan chicken roulade can be cut and fanned to cover more area on the plate, the branzino is topped with san marzano tom, onions, garlic, olives so it covers the white area. Is this a good idea?

The expectations are high with client being high profile NFL exec, family & friends. Started as

comfortable casual (buffet) vibe to more impressive elegance (plated and increased staff req). If this was a chef tasting event, I would not be concerned with the small portion size on the plate. All communication of expectations and requirements being relayed through executive asst. Great relationship established. Do I discuss these details with asst or just proceed with the request.
Joined May 5, 2010
When doing plated and family style, I wouldn't be too concerned with visuals as much as getting the food hot and tasting good.

When considering family style you portion according to the number of people at each table plus extras. Ex: a 6-top would get 6-8 portions on each serving platter, but have extra available to refill the platter.
Joined Jul 1, 2011
I am not sure that I would mix the serving styles in this manner in the first place. I would either plate everything, with the veggies going on the plate with the entree' , or do family style with everthing. With the way you have described the even, I'm a little confused on how up scale the client wants it to be if they are requesting for a family style service.  
Joined Aug 19, 2003
Thank you both....over the past month they have gone from Pt A with the executive assistant on behalf of male host asking for proposal with Buffet then Family & Plated to Pt B from female host. They didn't understand why Buffet pricing was so different from Plated service pricing. Nearing the end of one month of changes and 174 emails. With mercury in retrograde all month esp with contracts, I will tread carefully.
Joined Jul 28, 2001

Just me, but if you keep adjusting things, and have that much communications, you are sort of enabling them.

If you have made adjustments on just about everything, then you need to adjust your price accordingly
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Joined Aug 19, 2003
This was stiff competition and I was the unknown (only female chef) in the equation. They had previously done biz with 3 other caterers and executive asst did a thorough job with a spread sheet for seven different caterers. Yes, I was the only one with 4 ++'s in the observation/comments section and took nothing for granted. Continued to add value in the various requests from design concepts to menus/rentals and VIP amenities. Did not charge for the event planning work hours and product. This is the oppty client of a lifetime and while it did require enormous energy and enthusiasm while both hosts were travelling (one to Australia; another throughout the month in the states) this would put me in

a great local visibility with potentially NFL market segment and great referrals. Now at 4th and Goal.....just need to score big time with a great team behind me.
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