When you’re hosting a party, there are a dozen things you need to organize within a budget and time frame. One of these things is food. The following will explore some of the options available to you in regards to party food, including whether or not it’s a good idea to hire a professional team or individual to prepare the food.
How Much Food
First and foremost, you need to figure out how much food you need. A general rule is that people need a bigger meal every four hours and snacks available every other hour. If there are children present or alcohol, increase this to snack available constantly or every hour. Children have smaller stomachs, so they get full and hungry quickly, and people who are drinking need food in their stomachs to help their bodies handle the alcohol. Having food handy at a party with alcohol can also assist those guests who drank a little more than they were meaning to sober up a little and settle their stomachs.
Hiring A Private Chef
Hiring someone else to cook for the event is one of the lower-stress options as a professional knows how to prepare for the number of people you’re having and their needs. In particular, if you’re cooking for a large number of people or you have a lot of dietary restrictions to balance, a professional or a team that offers meal prep services is going to make a big difference in how smooth the day runs. As well, if you are required to be present with your guests or attendees and so can’t be minding meals, a private chef or catering service is a must. This option also allows you to have food that is outside of your personal capabilities or cuisines you’re not used to cooking at your party.
Going It Alone
It is possible to prepare all the food yourself for a party. This option works if you have a smaller number of guests as you likely have only one normal-sized stove with four burners and one oven. A good rule of thumb to figure out whether or not you can manage all the work is to consider whether everyone in attendance can fit around one standard-sized dining room table. If they can’t, your standard pots and appliances might struggle to keep up.
Hybrid Option I
You might find that neither doing it all yourself nor hiring a professional to seem right for your party. It’s possible that you want to employ a bit of food from both options. Perhaps you’ll have a professional create the main course but will prepare the snacks and festive decorative themed cookies yourself. Maybe you’ll handle the drinks and let a professional team take on the food. Maybe you want to do it the other way around.
Hybrid Option II
Another way to combine do-it-yourself cooking with having someone else handle other elements of food prep can be to consider a potluck. If everyone brings one dish, suddenly you have a feast, but you don’t have a feast-sized headache preparing everything. This option works best for more casual parties, not so much for work events or parties with a lot of different food intolerances and restrictions.
The above options should have identified when you might want to go with each type of party food prep. It is critical that no matter what route you go, you reach out to all your attendees well ahead of time and collect a list of dietary restrictions you need to respect. Yes, your friendly neighbourhood vegan might tell you not to worry about it, that they’ll be able to figure something out, but it’s a truly heartwarming gesture to make sure they’ve got something filling and yummy. Be considerate of religious dietary restrictions as well!
You may also see our list of Entertaining Gift Ideas for Hosts and Hostesses if you need tips on what to give your party host.