What type of event will it be?
For a large crowd, keep it simple with a buffet: A fork buffet is a lot less work on the day than fingerfood, where you’re continually heating nibbles up and passing them around. A cold fork menu is easier than hot and can be prepared in advance leaving you free to talk to guests.
You don’t only need to consider space for your guests, you must also think carefully about what your kitchen can cope with. Consider…
How big is your fridge? Clear out anything that you don’t need for the day by depleting stocks beforehand or asking a friend to store a few items. Things like preserves and bottled condiments can stay outside the fridge for a few ours to help create more space. For hygienic reasons, you do need to make sure food is refrigerated. Think about ways to stack items, using trays, plastic tubs or clean cardboard boxes. Drinks can take up a lot of room, so chill them well in advance then transfer them to ice-filled cool bags or buckets.
Do you have big enough work surfaces? Canapés can be quite challenging, especially if you have a small surface to prepare on, so if necessary temporarily set up a dinner table as a work station prior to the party.
Oven and hob space. If you’re providing a hot buffet or planning any last-minute cooking make sure you haven’t got more items vying for space than you have provision for. Again this is where clever planning and preparing ahead is key.
Tip: Don’t make the bar area too close to the front door as this always creates a bottle neck when guests arrive.
Equipment & staff
Make life easier by having large enough equipment for cooking, sufficient serving dishes, plates and glassware. Borrow these from friends or rent them, if necessary. This saves time, space and washing up.
If you can, hire crockery, cutlery and glasses from a company that provides a ‘return dirty’ service. The small charge they make is well worth it when you do NOT have to wash up after the guests are gone.
If you’re planning a canapé party it’s always worth considering hiring a few staff or asking your neighbours kids to help out. They can replenish plates and do the serving, allowing you time to talk and mingle with your guests.
Tip: If you’ve got help coming, get them in early so you have enough time to go through your requirements with them before your guests start arriving.