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Working with Chefs to Develop an Event Menu

Designing the menu for an event can be the most enjoyable and creative detail for your client, especially if there is a menu tasting involved.

Of course, not all events require a menu tasting, in which case the client will rely on your expertise and colorful language to describe the food options.

The recent popularity of gourmet cooking has brought with it a backlash against banquet-style cuisine.

At functions across the country, savvy guests are left to wonder how a kitchen can simultaneously serve three hundred chickens at a fundraiser without compromising the quality of the food.

At breakfast business meetings, gourmands and foodie guests alike remark as to whether the béarnaise sauce used on the poached eggs is traditional or from a box.

And banquet servers are being asked if the salmon is farm-raised or wild, and if the beef is organic or grain-fed.

The public’s awareness of the ingredients on their plates is inevitably raising the level of quality of cuisine.

As a result, event planners have had to follow suit.

The competition among event planners to serve gourmet meals has become a challenge handed down to banquet and private dining chefs.

The most important idea to remember when designing a menu with the chef is execution.

A beautifully written menu means nothing if it cannot be executed.

If the chef is preparing a new menu item, ask to be part of the tasting.

You can disguise your apprehension about the dish by explaining to the chef your need to describe all the menu items to clients.

Troubleshoot with the chef if possible by asking if the new dish can be served to a large group of people or retain heat if not served right away.

Alert : Chefs, by reputation, are notoriously willful and may not take criticism well.

When making suggestions, carefully choose your language.

Using harsh remarks may offend some chefs and lead to a negative working environment.

Budgeting the Menu

To a chef, budgeting a menu is second nature since they place the orders and then compare the orders to the invoice.

A chef will also have a better understanding of labour costs and food waste.

A menu budget factors in the ingredients, labour, overhead, waste, and profit.

Chefs use different formulas to price out a menu, so ask your chef for his formula to better understand the process of budgeting the menu.

Prior to submitting a menu proposal to a client, consult with your chef so he may review the cost and approve the menu.

Any changes should be made internally before your client makes her decision regarding the cuisine.

In your follow-up meetings with your chef or caterer, it is a good idea to run down the budget from recent events.

Beverage Service

The menu budget also needs to include the bar or beverage service.

There are a few options for clients when budgeting for beverages.

The first is to have an open bar and not restrict the consumption of beverages from the bar.

For open bars, beverage costs are usually based upon guest consumption.

The second option for bar service is to offer a cash bar, which means each guest is responsible for paying for his or her own beverage.

A cash bar is not always well received by guests and usually causes a traffic jam as servers have to handle cash transactions.

To enhance the guest experience, a client may choose to host beer, wine, soft drinks and water.

The client will ultimately spend less money and the guests will appreciate the gesture.

A popular option these days is to offer a punch bowl or a signature cocktail in addition to beer and wine.

The trendy cocktail will pair nicely with a classic wine selection, offering a bit of variety and creativity to your event.

A client looking to save money may request that wine purchased from an outside source be served at his event.

Most venues restrict outside beverages being served.  However, in some cases, venues will allow wine to be brought in but will charge a corkage fee per bottle.

Source : www.netplaces.com

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