Our campers love to get together and share a meal! At Holly Shores, we do food events all season long and sometimes we are cooking for over 100 people! Cooking for large groups requires organization and planning, and it doesn’t come without its challenges.
Menu planning is the first step. If we are cooking for a themed event, selecting menu items can be a difficult task. Some themes encompass large amounts of items to choose from, while others have very specific items to choose for the menu.
Once the menu has been chosen, then comes the task of compiling your shopping list, pricing out your items and deciding where you are purchasing your items from. The challenge here is deciding how much food to order. If the event is an annual event that you have every year, you can base your decision on previous years, but if it is a first-time event it is difficult to know how much to order. With a new event, you do not know if it will be a popular or well-attended so it’s a guessing game. You do not want to over order food since here at the campground refrigeration/freezer space is a valuable commodity, and some of the ingredients are perishable of course. Even requiring a pre-order from the customers does not always help since there are always last minute sign-ups after customers check in.
Set up and prep are the next steps. Here at Holly Shores, our common areas are typically used for a variety of events so we do not have permanent kitchen area. We use all available space! Time management while prepping is key. No matter how much time you may think you have the day of the event, something always happens or takes up more time than you may think and that can cause you to run behind schedule. Serving on-time is extremely important and no one wants the added stress of getting behind schedule!
Another challenge that can drastically affect your event is the weather. Most of the events at the campground are indoor/outdoor events so we are always watching the forecast. It is important to have a rainy-day plan in case of inclement weather. Even if there is bad weather, you can still have a fun and successful event. We never cancel!!
Once purchased, set up and prepped, the cooking process needs to be well-planned. Your menu items will have different cooking times. Developing a plan for cooking your items so everything is ready at the same time is critical. No one wants overcooked veggies because you are waiting for the turkey to be perfectly done!! Once your menu is ready, its time for the fun part – serving the guests!! Being sure to schedule enough servers so that the line moves swiftly and smoothly is another important planning step. It is always a pleasure to spend time with our customers, whether it’s while serving homemade pancakes or wings or full course Thanksgiving dinner!!
So here are some tips to help you cook for a large group:
- Be organized
- Create lists for shopping, supplies, equipment needed, and scheduling etc.
- Plan the cooking times
- Create serving areas
- Enjoy your event!!