When you think about a buffet menu and you think of a table full of food, nicely presented and everything is as delicious as it looks. But once you start planning such a feast, you can realize that there will be lots of work involved. You could get the help of a professional, a caterer or prep and service chef. But if you would like to do the work yourself, I might still be able to help you :).

The planning

When planning a buffet menu, think about items that you can prep ahead of time and reheat when needed. Keep it simple and try to avoid experimenting new dishes or techniques for your party. It might take longer then you think or will look/taste different then you imagined. Have some ‘bulk’ items on your menu, that will feed your guests and some homemade or ‘winners’ that will please your guests.

Things to consider:

  • Are you serving dinner or appetizers
  • Is there a theme (tradition, cuisine, special holiday)
  • paper plates or porcelain
  • Who would be a great help to prep or during the party
  • Discuss the menu and set up with others, they might have great ideas
  • Decoration, either have someone take care of that or keep it simple. A few flowers on the buffet table can do wonders

The set up

Start with arranging the cold menu items first on the buffet. If you serve salads, serve the dressing on the side. Make sure your buffet table is big enough. Consider a separate table for the drinks and if you cook for a big crowd (over 50 people), have a separate table for the plates and cutlery. It is also wise to have thoughts about the clean up. Ideally everything is cleaned just after everyone leaves.

Handy tips:

  • Get some take out containers for the left overs.
  • Have garbage bins in place for left over food, plastic, paper and waste.
  • Bins with soapy water for the plates and cutlery to soak (very handy for bigger crowds)
  • Dedicated place for coats.
  • Think about the bar set up when serving drinks
  • If your place suits it, consider setting up the buffet in the kitchen or on the kitchen counter


The execution

Here is the point that your time is very valuable. Calculate at least 30 minutes before your guest arrive to sit down and relax. Have everything in place to reheat, and the cold food ready to bring to the buffet table. You can choose to have everything ready when the first guests arrive, or set a time you want to open the buffet. Either way there are some aspects you might want to consider.

Try to avoid to serve all the food at once. It takes longer to heat up, it will sit on the buffet for to long and will go cold and guests that come in later, might miss out on your fabulous dishes. Cook small batches of everything first and fill up when needed. If it helps, write a game plan for the food and assign people to tasks if you can.


Buffet Menu ideas

And as a bonus, here is a list of buffet menu ideas. If you are wondering about recipes, Google has the answer 🙂

Veg appetizers
Swiss cheese pastries
Focaccia with Truffle ricotta
Focaccia bread with pesto
Cream cheese stuffed peppers
Grilled Eggplant & boccocini wraps
Grilled zucchini with feta cheese
Sun dried tomato pesto crostini with arugula
French onion tart
Potato rosemary skewers with sea salt
Spinach and tomato mini frittata
Balsamic marinated grilled vegetables
Mini broccoli and goat’s cheese quiche
Vegie canapé variety
Veggie crostini variety
Veggie bread swirls (with olive tapenade and sundried tomato pesto)
Tomato spinach Mini frittata
Fish appetizers
Marinated scallops skewers
Smoked salmon and cream cheese rolls
Zucchini salmon rolls
Garlic, herb Prawns skewers
Salmon and Scallop canapés
Salmon brochette with dill
Mini salmon burgers with soy sauce glaze
Sole fillet rolls with dill mayonnaise
Meat appetizers
Meatballs with slow cooked tomato sauce
Mini quiche Lorraine
Curried chicken strips
Roast beef and arugula crostini
Spicy sausage sliders
Dates with goat cheese and ham
Slow cooked BBQ Pork ribs
Marinated artichokes with ham
Mini beef burger sliders
Braised beef with focaccia or baguette
Asparagus & Parma ham spears
Braised meat canapés
Lamb kabobs with sun dried tomato pesto
Wild boar sliders
Pulled pork crostini


buffet menu with appetizers, cocktail party

Chef Lekker buffet catering service

Homemade has a new definition! Treat your guest with this all inclusive package from Chef Lekker. No extra charges and a profesional chef on site to cook your menu and serve it buffet style. Parties and events up to 100 people can enjoy this unique service. Affordable and ideal for corporate events, weddings, birthday parties or just because! And the menus created for this service are custom, so you have all the freedom to pick what you think is best at your event.

Save time and relax more. Contact Chef Lekker now

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