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Catering for 20 plus at home...

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jillandhersprite Sun 29-Dec-19 10:26:11

I would like to reciprocate probably in the summer after a nice Christmas do, but before I offer I need to work out if it's doable in our home. It would be about 20 adults and 6-8 small kids.
We have the space because we have a good sized garden and access to some gazebos... But I think the limiting factor is fridge space. Is it possible to cater for such a size if we just have a normal fridge/freezer?
Can anyone offer any advice/tips if this is doable? Thankyou...

OP’s posts: |
LilyMumsnet (MNHQ) Sun 29-Dec-19 11:56:28

We're just moving this over to food and recipes for the OP. flowers

WeirdPookah Sun 29-Dec-19 13:39:40

Additional cooling can be provided by cool boxes, or any watertight large container with ice or icepacks for all the drinks needed, that frees up a bunch of space.

karmakameleon Sun 29-Dec-19 14:22:00

Biggest issue in my experience is keeping drinks cold. We get a few large metal buckets, fill with ice and use this to keep drinks cold. I also order meat from the butcher to pick up that morning so if it’s out of the fridge for a short while, it won’t be a problem. Then there is plenty of room in the fridge for salads and desserts, and extra ice and ice cream in the freezer.

jillandhersprite Sun 29-Dec-19 19:01:29

Thanks - we have some large containers that I figured could be filled with ice water to keep drinks cold.
But even then I was trying to work out where the food would fit - kind of thinking its going to need to be some kind of buffet of lots of different dishes as I don't have the pans/bowls to do the same meal for 25ish people. And the practicalities - shopping one day, then prep another day, then actually serving and presenting on the day. I can't see enough bowls fitting in the fridge, or even all the food when its in its packaging. Do I need to buy piles of square tupperware to maximise the space, and then some kind of disposable bowls/plates to serve from on the day...
Maybe I need to work out a menu first and see the quantities needed...
Whats an easy menu for a summer party?
Am beginning to see why its always the same lovely auntie that does it - with her enormous kitchen with double fridge and lots of kitchen counter surfaces!!!

OP’s posts: |
handbagsatdawn33 Sun 29-Dec-19 19:06:12

"its always the same lovely auntie that does it - with her enormous kitchen with double fridge and lots of kitchen counter surfaces!!!"

Ask your lovely auntie for advice ! She'll be flattered that you asked her, & perhaps suggest what you can do.

Barbararara Sun 29-Dec-19 19:21:12

I’ve done bbqs for these sort of numbers.

Order meat and collect on day of event, about an hour before. Buy lots of ice on the same trip and put in a big trug with salt to cool drinks. No need for meat or drinks in the fridge.

Cook half meat on bbq (eg burgers and sausages). It’s fine to cook and serve in batches and there is always someone happy to do the bbq-ing ime

Cook the other half in the oven (eg chicken, ribs, pulled pork)

Prep salads morning of. If fridge space is really tight, you could get square/rectangular foil containers (disposable oven trays) that stack efficiently. I wash and reuse these so it’s not necessarily an environmental no-no

Keep the menu simple and encourage people to bring a dish if you like (nothing that needs prep or cooking though as that’s just more hassle).

How big exactly is your freezer/fridge?

Barbararara Sun 29-Dec-19 19:25:17

Chilli and curry type dishes are also very crowd friendly and can be prepared well in advance and frozen which spreads the cost, effort and stress. If you can beg or borrow a rice cooker it’s worthwhile.

If you freeze large quantities do it in small portions to make the defrosting quicker.

Ask people to bring extra dishes, glasses and cutlery.

MoltoAgitato Sun 29-Dec-19 20:13:02

If you’re doing a big order from a butchers, you can ask them to pack it in a polystyrene box which will keep it cool until you’re ready to cook, if you pick it up that morning.

sashh Sun 29-Dec-19 20:18:53

Can you hire a fridge for a caterer?

LittleLongDog Sun 29-Dec-19 20:21:17

I would do a big chilli with jacket potatoes. (A million jackets in the oven, two big pots of chilli on the hob and a salad and desserts in the fridge.) But that’s not necessarily what you’d want to eat in the summer!

Soontobe60 Sun 29-Dec-19 20:56:42

I'd do a BBQ too. Make pulledpork and keep warm in a slow cooker. All meat bought the day before and kept in a cool box. Veggie burgers cooked in the oven.
I'd order some big salad bowls from somewhere local to pick up in the day. My niece had a garden party wedding and she made up hampers for each table with salads and cold meats /cheeses that she ordered from a local deli at a great price.
We got nice paper bowls and wooden cutlery online for my DDs wedding evening reception.
Beers, soft drinks and wines in big buckets in the garden, filled with iced water.

jillandhersprite Sun 29-Dec-19 21:19:29

Some lovely ideas. I'm thinking that with a bit of planning it would be doable even out of our little kitchen and fridge. Will run it past DH when we get a chance to chat and then get planning.

OP’s posts: |
canihaveacoffeeplease Sun 29-Dec-19 23:07:30

If you have the funds your local cater hire company will almost certainly hire out fridge trailers, then you can easily keep everything cool, food and drinks. They are usually decked out with shelves so storage is really easy, and they drop off and collect too. Might be slight overkill for 20 guests but would make life a LOT easier! I think the company we use are about £90 per day hire, for a 6x8 trailer if that helps.

GemmeFatale Tue 31-Dec-19 16:44:24

I’ve done it a few time with a smallish/normal kitchen.

Full roast turkey dinner for 30 (guests brought sides and we just warmed them in the oven once the turkey was done). Cold starters and puds.

Chilli and Jackets (Two pots - one veggie, one meat).

BBQ (as covered by PP)

Moroccan feast. Roast or BBQ a large lamb joint or chicken. Serve with giant cous cous, salads and flatbreads.

Greek. BBQ to cook chicken and kofta skewers, piles of pitta to stuff (aldi do lovely big soft ones). Lots of salads, dips and what have you.

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