Thursday, March 3, 2011

Buffet Basics

The difference between a beautifully presented buffet and a row of metal chafers is huge.  I am blogging about this topic because in the last week alone, two clients have mentioned that they only want a buffet at their event IF it is done right.  So, I wanted to share just a few DIY Buffet Best Practices (and out comes the "corporate" Lori!).  These tips will help you create an amazing buffet when you next entertain at your home.

Photo by The Merriment Blog
1)  Edge it.  Consider decorating the edge of the buffet with fresh florals, garlands (if the season is right) or other trimmings. Large monstera leaves go a long way and can create a very cool, contemporary look.  Make sure they aren't dangerously hanging over the side of the table, however.  And, never forget the linens.

2)  Plates should be placed at one end of the buffet so that guests recognize the suggested flow.  And, speaking of flow - think about the traffic and where it will feed into after they reach the end.  Leave room for people to move!

3)  Add a more upscale touch by offering a "served" buffet.  Many caterers only provide this type of service when requested.  If you are DIYing your buffet at your home, you may consider hiring service staff just for this job.  I love the fancy feel it adds!

4)  If you have put together a self-service buffet, make sure everything can properly be scooped with the utensil you have provided.  

5) Create height.  Whether through a highly decorative flower arrangement or by arranging the serving platters on small square shelves, etc., you want to avoid the flat look.  Your buffet will instantly look more luxurious with height.

Photo from 100 Layer Cake
6) Use a variety of serving dishes, that compliment each other.  Be creative with your presentation! 

7) Create a menu that can be served at room temperature.  Many proteins can be prepared and served this way, and that gives you the "out" when it comes to the chafer situation.  (can you tell I am not a chafer girl?)  



8) Arrange food in logical order.  Save the random for later.  Moving guests from a main dish to a salad and then back to a side dish is just not necessary.  

9)  Instead of creating one large buffet for your party, distribute dishes on several different tables adding stacks of little plates at each.  This gives your guests the feel of "stations" in your own home!  But, still remember #2 & #8 when doing this.
Photo from Country Living
10) Move away from the wall!  If you do only use one table, don't stick it up against the largest wall in the room.  That is the old way!  Place it away from the wall - allowing guests to serve from both sides and not have to stretch to reach their favorite dishes. 

However you choose to prepare your buffet, pull inspiration and photos and recreate your favorites.  Try to make it interesting for your guests instead of the "same old same old" that they might see everywhere else.  

And, if you must use chafers, go beyond the basic silver model.  Rental companies are offering all sorts of things these days! 

Boldly Yours,
Lori


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