Catering For a Crowd

Having a party, function or friends over? Cooking for a crowd can be very stressful and can even take the fun out of entertaining. It is important to have nice foods that fit the occasion but your personal enjoyment is also important. To ensure you don’t spend the entire duration of the event in the kitchen, here are some tips and ideas on catering for a crowd.

It goes without saying, if you are cooking for a crowd of people your menu should be as simple as possible. Choosing a simple menu with simple recipes goes a long way in reducing your stress levels and allowing things to run smoothly.

Finger Food

Finger foods are ideal for the start of an event. They allow guests to mingle and get settled whilst having something to snack on. They also take the edge off of guests hunger, so that they are not waiting for the main course to be served. They can be used as food for an entire evening if there is no main course planned. Finger foods come in many forms and it is important to choose the right type of food for the occasion. Ideas such as chicken kebabs, sausage rolls, cocktail sausages, chips (either cooked or crisps) and veggies such as carrot or celery sticks with dips, are all wonderful finger food.

Antipasto Platters

Another great idea for catering for a crowd would be to serve an antipasto platter as an appetiser. These platters are great because they are a light hearted casual meal for your guests to nibble on while mingling and settling in to the event. The mixture of meats, cheeses and vegetables are a light food with subtle yet delicious taste as to not interrupt the flavour of the main course.

Main courses

When it comes to the main course, as the host, it is easy to become caught up in the production of the meal and results in you missing out on your own party. To avoid this but still serve excellent food, follow these simple rules:

  • Choose recipes with minimal preparation time
  • Include dishes that can be made in advance and frozen
  • Focus on favourites such as chicken, pasta, potatoes and green beans
  • Choose foods that can be reheated and/or held at temperature while still retaining taste, texture and visual appeal.

Meals such as curries are great for entertaining a number of people, as they can be cooked in advance and frozen, or even slow cooked to avoid a frantic rush when your guests start arriving. Curries are versatile and come in many different flavours to suit all pallets. Served with rice (which is also easy to make large quantities of) and a choice of salads and condiments which compliment the meal.

Another Idea would be to serve a baked meal. Foods such as pies and bakes are delicious and can be prepared before the event begins. It is also easy to make large quantities of the meal as they can all be cooked at the same time in separate dishes.  While you are welcoming your guests and enjoying the start of the party, simply put the dish in the oven and let it cook by itself.

The best advice for catering for a crowd is to enjoy it, by serving simple, yet elegant meals. It is also always acceptable to ask your friends to bring a simple salad or desert with them to take some of the stress off of your shoulders!


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