There are obvious places to look for party menu ideas, Pinterest, Instagram and various recipe sites like allrecipes, yummly and the food network . But looking for the perfect dish that will add spice to your party does need a bit more than just research.
top 5 tips and tricks to create the perfect party menu
Know your skills
Something that you want to avoid at all cost is getting stuck in the kitchen during your party. But, with so much deliciousness online, it is easy to create a menu that could be too time-consuming or out of your skill range. My suggestion is to only cook what you know how to cook. This will make it a lot easier to prepare everything.
Have a variety of items on the party menu
Think about a theme, colours, cuisines and season, but also diet restrictions and allergies your guests might have. I bet you will come up with lots of ideas when you search with specific keywords. Another good tip is to make sure there is a variety of meat, fish and veggie options. Google comes in very handy to search for those, but maybe you have already some great cookbooks that you can fall back on.
Find “crowd pleasers”
This is the part where you are the “dj of food”. In order to make them sway, you have to find what they might like. To start this quest, what do you like? Take your favourite ingredients or cuisine and indulge in the endless possibilities that they can give you. But keep in mind, don’t overdo it, keep the variety there and stay away from too complex techniques. Here you will find a list of appetizers I fall back on for my catering events.
Get the setting right
Setting up for a buffet requires a different approach than a 4-course menu. First and foremost it has to do with the menu you create. When creating your menu, you might want to think on what you would serve it. And since we are at it, think about storage containers for all the prepped food items. Having both the serving and storage sorted, will save you time, space in the fridge and will help you to get that momentum going while you prepare for your party.
Manage your time
This is a vital part of creating your menu. With every item you come up with, try to see yourself prepare, reheat and serve it. Minimize last-minute preparations, or over complicated serving techniques. Make a prep list and if you prefer working from recipes, read them through beforehand. It is most satisfying to cross off prepped items :).
Also, grocery shopping can be a timely affair. Make a grocery list (I use a spreadsheet on my phone). Depending on the size of your menu and stores you will visit, reserve 1.5 to 3 hours for the groceries.
In general, I start my lists 3 days ahead of time, I have my recipes ready and grocery list ordered into grocery store sections. With 2 days to go, I will do all the groceries. This is my spare day, if I need to I could start prep here and get ahead. The day before is prep day. All items that can be made ahead of time I want to get done.
On D-day, I have time to organise everything, plates, cutlery etc. And when needed I will finish up the last remaining prep items.
But wait there is more! Now that you might have some ideas on how to create your menu, you might also want to read my blog How to cook for a crowd. You will find more information, tips and ideas on how to get ready to party.
I hope you liked the post about tips and tricks for your party menu.
My name is Wouter Schipper, (Please don’t break your tongue while trying to pronounce it).
Besides writing this blog, I am also a personal chef and caterer at Chef Lekker catering in Vancouver BC. As a catering chef, I am specialised in in-home catering and for parties and events.
If you have questions about how to make a party menu, or you could do with some ideas for your event, leave a comment! I am more than happy to help 🙂