Planning Your Menu

Whether you are preparing a 2 or 11 course meal, or feeding 4 or 100 guests, take some time to plan your menu, it is time well spent.

It is also fun to create and write your menu. Include your courses, guests and who helped you in the kitchen. WHY? You document your creations for your references and create wonderful memories for you and your family. You also won’t serve the same food to the same guest twice. Consider recording what you wore. Take a picture of yourself. Why? You won’t wear the same outfit with the same guests twice.

Guidelines to help you in planning your menu for various dining styles and types:

Dining Styles

SIT-DOWN DINING

These days sit down dining mostly means that you individually plate each course and serve it to each of your guests. If you do this style of dining, you need to be well organized, prepare in advance, multi-task and have some help. As a rule of thumb, plan your menu for 5 to 8 courses to make the dining experience last longer and more eloquent.

Make sure that your servings are small and more of experiential. Depending upon the found ingredients and guests’ dietary restrictions (always ask), you can get creative and have an array of dishes to make your menu exciting and conversational.

FAMILY DINING

With different ways of serving your food for family dining style, this dining style could be semi-formal or really casual. In all cases, the food is presented on serving platters.

You may have a server to serve the food to each guest at the table (from the left side), or you can have each guest to pass around the platters at the table. If so, leave the platters in the middle of the table, or place them on the buffet after everyone has been served. However, remember that placing half or mostly empty serving platters in the middle of your dining table does not appear appetizing, attractive or happy.

BUFFET RECEPTION

Buffet style is the easiest to serve by placing the food platters on your counter or buffet table and let you guests help themselves. This also makes it easier for guests who would want second helpings.

The best buffet feast is when you have an array of food to satisfy range of tastes. If you have been in charge of a football potluck party at your child’s school then you know how important it is to plan the menu. Otherwise, you end up with all dessert and no main course!

COCKTAIL RECEPTION

With being most popular party style, you can turn typical cocktail receptions where small bite appetizers are customary into creative receptions and serve comfort food in an artistic way. Like serving a small portion of a light simple pasta dish in a martini glass!

 MENU IDEAS

 Once you decide what kind of event you are going to have then you are ready to plan your menu. You can get inspiration from a food you had at your favorite restaurant, a cookbook, food magazine, or your friend’s party, etc.

Considering your own and your guests’ dietary restrictions and likings, try to have a balance of different proteins, starch, greens and sweet. Also decide what you are going to serve for drinks, considering some basics for pairing drinks with food.

DINING TYPES

CELEBRATION PARTIES

Every day is a reason to celebrate life and the best way is to create gatherings and parties with your family and friends around food. From small gathering to large party; add some zest to your celebration. Get your family involved. Use your classic family recipes, add some new ideas and make few new dishes to create a fun and memorable event for you, your family and friends.

TRADITIONAL CELEBRATION EVENTS

Thanksgiving
Christmas
New Year’s
Memorial Day
Fourth of July
Labor Day
Halloween
Hanukkah
Valentine’s Day
Saint Patrick’s Day
Easter
Mothers’ Day
Father’s Day
Birthdays
Anniversaries
Intimate Dinners

Other Events

Movie Nights
Art Soirees
Poetry Readings
Small Music Rehearsals