It’s hard to believe, but Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukkah are just around the corner—meaning that our yearly sprint through dozens of holiday meals and parties is on our doorstep as well. However, while attending holiday events can be occasions of great cheer and joy, actually throwing a party is another story.
One of the easiest ways to put together a stress-free meal for your closest family and friends, according to Oceanview Café Executive Sous Chef Singh Deoraj, is to host a high-end buffet.
“People love the freedom of choice at a buffet,” she says “And if you’re expecting a lot of people, it’s easier on the host.”
“People love the freedom of choice at a buffet,” says Singh Deoraj, Executive Sous Chef, Oceanview Cafe. “And if you’re expecting a lot of people, it’s easier on the host.”
Here are Deoraj’s tips for serving a crowd and making them all happy with your own buffet at home:
1. Begin by deciding the theme for the buffet; that will guide your menu choices.
2. Lay out the buffet in sections such as salad, antipasto, bread, cold appetizers, hot appetizers, hot entrees and desserts.
3. Arrange the room for best possible traffic flow around the buffet, and consider serving desserts on their own table, away from the hot dishes.
4. Display platters at different heights for variety and accessibility. Pedestal cake plates work beautifully, and you can hide sturdy boxes from your pantry under the tablecloth to act as “risers.” Large unopened cereal boxes are great for this.
5. Speaking of tablecloths, use several different sizes, not just one. Layer and drape them casually around those hidden boxes. Nestle small vases of flowers or decorative items in complementary colors between the folds, and in the “coves” between the risers.
6. Menu choices and table arrangement should provide a variety of colors for an appealing presentations.
7. Elevate the ambience with carefully chosen table props and beautiful, colorful garnishes. For a brunch, place small bouquets in colorful teapots on the risers. For a casual barbecue, display baskets of fresh herbs and place knives, forks, napkins, and condiments in bright ceramic (brand new) flowerpots.
8. Its’ always nice to write out the menu and place it in a simple frame on the table. Feel free to have fun with the names of the dishes, especially if it’s a casual party.