Wedding reception advice needed

Joined Oct 23, 2020
Hello and thank you for reading my post!

Our daughter is getting married in December, which doesn't give us much time to set aside money.
Her and her fiancé would like chicken alfredo for the dinner for their guests.
I have attached a copy of the recipe I have used as a test that they really liked and it is a serving size of 2 people.
An estimate of 150 may be attending.
I have looked into catering the meal, but we really don't have the money for that and everything else that comes with paying for a wedding in 3 months notice. I'm trying to figure out if I could realistically do this with a few people helping. I had already made a test batch and froze the sauce and noodles and reheated within a week. Surprisingly the noodles and sauce were just as good with the same consistency as when I first made it. I had not frozen any of the chicken as we had eaten it all the first time around. The way I sautéed the chicken was rubbed it with oil and fried it in a little more oil and butter in a cast iron pan.
Here are my questions I was hoping you could help me with so that I can make the best decision.

1. How would you suggest I cook the chicken, freeze it and then reheat in a way that it will retain the best flavor, moisture and not be dried out?
2. If we also served Italian sausage with marinara sauce as another option for the guests, how would we figure the number of servings for each option (75 portions of each?)
3. The attached recipe indicates 6 ounces of chicken per serving, does that sound about right for a wedding reception dinner?
4. What type of serving pans would you suggest we use to keep the food warm but not allow the sauce and noodles to burn and overall have the best outcome?

I may consider a second job in order to have the money to cater their, wedding depending on your responses LOL. We also wanted to help them get their car in better working condition so if we made the food we would be saving roughly $1000.

Thank you so much for your help!

View attachment 68918
Joined Oct 23, 2020
For some reason the recipe didn't copy over to the attachment, it is as follows:
12 ounces chicken breast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 teaspon olive oil
8 ounces fettuccine or other pasta
2 cups heavy cream
4 ounces butter
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 garlic powder (I used chopped fresh garlic)
Joined Mar 1, 2017
Wow. Ummm....well, where to start?

I suppose first things, first. Welcome to Chef Talk. :)

Do you have any sort of experience in cooking on this sort of scale? If not, then, I strongly recommend you seriously consider figuring out a way to have this professionally catered. This is not something you can pull off out of your home kitchen, especially when it comes to storing chicken for 150 people. Your home fridge simply isn't going to cut it. You're going to need commercial grade stoves, refrigerators and freezers to make this happen.

You're talking about 27lbs of chicken, 27lbs of pasta, 7 gallons of sauce, 75lbs of veggies, 20 lbs of salad (not including trimmings for the salad), 10 lbs of butter, 10 gallons of milk or cream, salt, pepper, 5 gallons of coffee, cases of other beverages (tea, soda, water etc),

Then, there's the place settings for 150 people. Plates, silverware, glasses, napkins, salt and pepper shakers, coffee cups, saucers, serving utensils, cambros, hotel trays, sterno, people to help in the kitchen who know their way around etc., commercial sized pots, pans, ovens and fridges. That means renting a commissary kitchen and hoping they have available time slots.

This is not small undertaking. Cooking at home for friends and family is vastly different than cooking on a scale of this size, especially if you don't have any experience with commercial cooking.

Here's what the pros would do in relation to the questions:

1. The chicken would be par cooked and finished on site. Or, the chicken would be fully cooked and transferred to hotel pans and kept warm as they're transferred to the venue. Par cooking and then freezing the chicken is possible but, not very efficient. I would recommend against it.

2. You figure the chicken is about 4 oz per person. The same with the sausage. You will need 1 quart of sauce per 1lb of pasta. Divide the sausage and the chicken at about half and half. Keep in mind that chicken will likely be more popular than that sausage. If you have little or no commercial cooking experience, I would suggest going with one of the other, not both.

3. Your best bet is to plan on about 4-5 oz of chicken per person. Cut the chicken into strips. That way its easier to portion out.

4. Use hotel pans. You will need pans to hold hot water so the steam will keep the entree's warm. The water is heated by sterno cans. You can skip the hot water set the sterno can directly under the hotel pan but, that will create a hot spot that could cause the food to burn.

If you don't have any experience prepping and cooking large volumes of food, I would strongly encourage you to hire a professional caterer.

Good luck. :)
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