How to plan menu for 180 people

mooy, Jan 1, 8:33pm
Thank you to all who contributed to my request.
The Beef Stroganoff I cooked for 180 people was a huge success and I received many complements, all thanks to all you lovely people that gave me good helpful instructions.

duckmoon, Jan 1, 8:41pm
good to hear itwent well.

one question: what do you know now - that you wish you knew before you began?

and: any other tips for the next person?

I ask because this is the kind of thread which will get bumped back for the next time some one asks

mooy, Jan 3, 9:15pm
The only thing I would change if I cooked it again is that we coated the cubed steak with corn flour and nutmeg but ran out of nutmeg.
I had 23kg of cubed steak (from the Mad Butcher) and only had 2 boxes of nutmeg and that was only enough to coat half the meat.
The sauce on stroganoff was fairly thick and the meat very tender, we served it on rice as this is easier to cook.

mooy, Dec 4, 10:25pm
I need some advice, as I am cooking a meal for 180 people for a camp.
I want to cook Beef Stroganoff. Would I be right in taking the ingredients from a menu that is for 4, and dividing it by 4 and then multiply it by 180?
I don't have much experience in cooking for large numbers and any help would be appreciated.

davidt4, Dec 4, 10:36pm
When multiplying recipes for such a large quantity you need to bear in mind that you will be using huge pans, the food will not cook as quickly and there will be less evaporation of liquids. So you need to cut back on liquids and allow for much longer coking times.

I don't think classic Beef Stroganoff is an ideal choice for that quantity as it relies on fast cooking, almost like a stir-fry, and you are likely to end up with a tough curdled mixture. It is best to seek out recipes that have been specifically designed for bulk catering.

uli, Dec 4, 11:16pm
If you google "cooking for a crowd" you will find a lot of suitable recipes.

Cooking for people in a camp - how will have have enough big pots and pans?

If you have never done such a big cook-up then maybe speak to a caterer and get some ideas what they would cook and what their prices would be.

Or talk to someone on a marae - the whare kai people can tell you how they cater for hundreds of visitors.

Even if you want to do it yourself it could be a disaster if you have no idea how to do the timing etc.

valentino, Dec 4, 11:25pm
Are you actually doing it all yourself?

If so then as davidt4 noted.

But if say something similar to this recipe and you have helpers and all the right cooking gear say 3 or 4 BBQs at least then as noted this recipe perhaps.
then a matter of say 50 times 4 equals 200 meaning 50 times this recipe servings allowing that extra for the hungrier ones, LOL.

Cooking the pasta will be a challenge if using pasta. Big pans etc. Hmmmm. Overall timing, hmmmm. Yep, you need a full on chef type kitchen or a set-up with staff or helpers.

Cheers and all the best.

artemis, Dec 5, 3:17am
How about cold meat and salads? Maybe lots of hot baby new potatoes with butter and parsley.

mooy, Dec 5, 4:14am
Hi all thank you for your most helpful reply's they are much appreciated and helpful.
We are at a Christian camp at Narrows Creek and there is a fully equipped commercial kitchen.
Kind regards George

mooy, Dec 5, 4:18am
Hi Valentino
This is the exact same recipe I was working from thanks.

mooy, Dec 5, 4:24am
Hi David
The camp has one of those electric hot plates with a lid on it, and it has a winder handle on it to tip it up to empty it about 900 square. I was going to cook the stroganoff in that and maybe in batches.
What do you think?
And thank you for helping me out.

mooy, Dec 5, 4:28am
Thank you Uli I will do that,

mooy, Dec 5, 4:28am
Good suggestion Thank you

punkinthefirst, Dec 5, 4:36am
There are tricks to successful catering for large numbers. Only cook the things you have the equipment and helpers to manage. Don't cook anything too complicated. Make sure you allow plenty of time - MUCH more than you imagine. Get your butcher to do as much of the meat preparation as possible (it may cost a little more, but he has the sharp knives and the expertise!) Get your mise en place (ingredient preparation) done as early as possible. Some (Such as onion peeling & chopping and mushroom cleaning and chopping) could even be done the day before. Pay particular attention to food hygiene. And pay attention to portion sizing when dishing up. Dish up a trial plate (weigh the food as you dish it, so that you know how much each person should be getting) Make sure your helpers know how big the portions ought to be,and keep your serving spoons on the small side,so that everyone gets an equal helping, and you don't run out of food. Hold food back in the kitchen, for the same reason, and bring it out as needed, so that the "greedies" don't get it all.
. or go sideways. by which I mean, don't make classic stroganoff. Make a beef stew with mushrooms (do what Davidt4 says, and cut the liquids). Do what bulk caterers do and cook your pasta to al dente stage in batches, drain, plunge into cold water, drain, and mix the pasta with a bit of cooking oil. At service time, pour boiling water over the pasta to heat it and moisten it (have the water boiling, ready to go) Drain again, add the sour cream to the stew, sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley, and serve.
I'd be inclined to do fresh, colourful salads, a great pot of new potatoes, maybe peas, and a couple of selections of cold meats and a vegetarian option such as quiche. followed by decadent chocolate log (4 full sheet size, bought unfilled from the baker, and filled and decorated by you) and fruit salad. It's all pre-prepared, no last-minute dramas, and really, there's nothing to go wrong. Allow one medium-large potato or the equivalent per person and about 100 - 120 gms meat and about a cupful of salad. Get a helper to serve the meat so that you have control over portion sizes. Your potatoes, and bread rolls can be kept warm in Crockpots on the table.
It really is better to have simple, fresh food than fancy over- or under-cooked fare. Good Luck!

mooy, Dec 5, 4:45am
Wow what a great answer. Thank you,

cgvl, Dec 5, 7:42am
Those Goofy cakes make good desert's served with custard.
Can buy them at Pak n Save or through wholesaler's ie Moore Wilsons.
Buy the custard already made too, and do cut portion size (small not large) and/or serve with a blob of whipped cream on top.
We just catered for 80 last weekend. had 1 large each of pasta, carrot and warldof salads, 2 each of rice and lettuce, hot potatoes (= to 2 large stockpots) and 1 of peas and corn, along with chicken x 4 and a ham. We did have extra of each salad in some cases 2 of and they weren't even touched oh and some chicken over as well.
Desert was barely touched 5 pav's with 2½ left, 2 large trifles, a large crockpot of fruit salad, and some other bits and bobs. There was a lot of that left to take home.
We did have enough to feed a lot more, I portion (caterer) 1Tbsp of each type of vege and salad per person and 100g meat per adult 50-75 per child. So as suggested weigh out a portion of each and multiply. eg potato should be about 100g per adult.

cgvl, Dec 5, 7:45am
Oh I would also be careful about doing a dish with mushrooms in as some are allergic to them (ie DH will make him violently ill). Same with Gluten free, make sure you thicken with Maize cornflour or arrowroot.

punkinthefirst, Dec 5, 10:59am
Haha!. many years experience catering for weddings.
Re mushroom allergies. the poster above has a point.

aktow, May 19, 6:56pm
you can make stroganoff, no one makes true Beef Stroganov today. it's made different in a lot of countries,,

when i used to make Beef Stroganov for large numbers i had to keep it in a bain marie for hours,, the trick is to thicken your sauce with cornflour so the sauce does not split ,., real strog does not have onions or mushrooms but today it is added
my strog
1) fry cubed beef (rump or any thing cheap) then
2) fry sliced onions & diced mushrooms,
3) add, ready made sour cream, lemon juice and fresh cream
4) thicken with cornflour,
5) season wIth salt and pepper
6) can add mustard, i don't but it is in the original recipe,
all this can be done in a tilt pan but watch the temperatures,,

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