Part one of this guide outline tips to use when planning for the event. This part of guide will give you suggestions and tricks to use on the big day.
Clean out the fridge
Make sure you have ample space in the fridge for all the food you plan on serving. For food safety reasons, you’ll want to refrigerate all dishes until you are ready to serve them. Keep the cold dishes cold and heat up what you want warm just before serving. You’ll also want to make sure you have space for the dishes that your guests are bringing.
Have a friend available who knows the plan and is wiling to help. Setting up and making sure everything goes smoothly is a lot easier when you have someone else there you can rely on. Not to mention it will be much more fun to have someone to cook and decorate with.
Serving buffet style seems to be a popular and easy way to present the food, but there are a couple things that you’ll want to keep in mind. When setting up the buffet, you should put the plates at the beginning and the utensils and napkins at the end. This way your guests aren’t trying to carry more than they have to while serving themselves. Make sure you have space on the buffet table for guests to set down their plates too if they need to use both hands to serve themselves. You should also have an area apart from the buffet for the drinks and ice so that it doesn’t get too crowded or backed up while people are getting food. For food safety reasons, you’ll want to put out smaller portions of each dish and replenish it as needed. This way you can keep hot dishes hot and cold dishes cold. Any food should not be sitting out at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
Put out a little at a time
Another thing you’ll have to think about with buffet serving is the amounts of food you’re putting out at once. You don’t want to put everything you have all out at one time; do it in stages and serve food during the entire party. Research shows that people are sluggish after too much food (we all know that feeling), so don’t overwhelm your guests with food all at once, put a few dishes out at a time, and let them know there will be more different choices as the party progresses. This will also help take pressure off of you as the host because you don’t have to try to get everything ready all at once; you can take your time and serve things when they’re ready.
Don’t be invisible
You’re guests actually want to see you and you should enjoy the party, so don’t spend it in the kitchen doing dishes — the dishes will be there later. Unless of course it’s tradition in your family, like it is in mine, for all the women to gather in the kitchen while they do dishes and gossip after dinner. Another way to make it easier for yourself is to put out garbage and recycling bins near the buffet where guests can clean up a bit after themselves.
Not hosting? We have a few tips for you too if you’re bringing a dish to pass.
If you need to do some final prep at the host’s house, make sure you bring everything you need. Don’t rely on the host to have it available for you.
Make sure you transport your cold and hot dishes separately in insulated containers to keep them tasting their best and to keep them safe to eat.
Slow cookers or crock pots are a great way to transport hot dishes and it makes the job of your host much easier because your dish can simply be plugged in once you arrive.
If you’re bringing a cold dish, take it straight to the fridge.