School Graduation Open House Food Planning
Johnson owner of Q
fanatic / Italian Café Catering
Over the past dozen years I have catered increasingly more graduation parties. Many bookings come from referrals or attendees of previous parties who couldn’t live without my grilled veggies or the Panini sandwiches. But what was just as important as great food was that I gave the free service of good party planning.
here it is.
Many moms want to make their open house unforgettable. Your graduate doesn’t care about over the top! In most cases the real party is after the open houses. If you want to have a party, have a post open house party.
should I have the open house?
evening from 6-9, weekdays are becoming more popular and Saturday or
afternoon from 1-4 are also good. Starting from the week before
three weeks after, the third week after people start getting into their
three to fours hours is sufficient and also safe for any food sitting
many people and how much food do I need?
I base the quantities on
There are two groups that
have two groups that attend. The “A” group or inner circle consisting
family and close friends, most of which are there at the beginning of
The number varies on the family size and close friends, but it is
40. Then there is the “B” group or as I like to call them “the
transients”. They are the friends and neighbors who drift in and out
throughout the event often going from open house to open house. Again
number can vary, but I have found that 80 at most is a good number and
about half as much each as the “A” group. In short you want to plan on
enough food for up to 80 people. Also, just because your student is
doesn’t mean you will have 160 people, there are other open houses and
like to give my clients options. First and foremost, everyone has
budgets, work within your means. I suggest keeping it simple so you can
and enjoy the event. You have the practical and the over achievers. I
remind everyone this is not a wedding. Restrain yourself and don’t let
neighbor’s over the top efforts send you out of control. I recommend
sandwiches, salads, fresh strawberries (call ahead and reserve a flat
grocery store), chips, munchy food, cake and non-alcohol beverages. If
afford it I recommend letting someone else do the harder work such as
sandwiches and you supplement with some quick salads, strawberries and
Skip the pasta bar! Hot foods loose their quality fast and should be
at least every half hour with the exception of many variations of BBQ,
pork or sloppy Joes. Keep them covered to keep them moist and juicy.
cheese trays tend to dry out and look greasy over time. If dad is up to
you want to hire a cook try grilling, cook as needed and keep it fresh
room temperature. For something different we have made assorted gourmet
on sight as needed and that works well room temp. If you want to do
little nicer, maybe focus nicer on your “A” group at the beginning and
transition into something a little lighter for the “B” group.
For your “A” group I like to suggest a Grilled
Buffet served room
temperature of grilled sliced flank steak (London broil), grilled
chicken, grilled veggies with assorted sauces, a lettuce and a pasta
rolls and butter transitioning into the sandwiches, maybe salads and
the “B” group fazing out at the end. Again I stress this is an open
not a dinner party; let the food run down towards the end. It’s always easier and
cheaper to put some bags of chips
and trail mix in the cupboard than it is to figure out what your going
with twice as much food as you needed. Take the extra money you would
preparing and go have a nice evening out with your graduate.
guidelines are ten ounces of lettuce salad, plus toppings, serves about
people. Keep the dressing on the side to keep from turning into a
One pound of pasta or potato salad serves about 6 people. I would
keeping at least your pasta and potato salads on ice. You can mix and
get to the total numbers needed.
the weather at this time of the year can vary significantly and no one
hot food if it’s 95 and humid. Keep it simple with room temperature