THE PERFECT MATCH
Balance Your Great Dishes with a little Help
I love planning a big, family meal. I spend weeks browsing through recipes and pictures to plan a perfectly balanced meal experience. As I make selections, I build a master shopping list and inventory my service ware and décor.
But let’s face it: I am a professional event planner, and find all the minutia of planning as much, or more enjoyable than the event itself. Many people find planning very stressful. And almost worse than the planning is the day of cooking and cleaning, a hearty distraction from spending time with our guests. It is
usually because they attempt to do too much in too little time. (Can you hear yourself saying, “I wish I had started this last night?”)
So why do we put ourselves through so much stress? Because we love to spend time with our friends and family and provide them the gift of a meal. It is an ancient human practice, and the communal power of a shared meal is beyond the reach of this article.
Invited guests receive an invitation, and they are immediately excited to indulge in your signature culinary creations. And they should be because you are an amazing cook, and put your heart (and wallet) into building a meal. Imagine spending time only on the dishes you love, and balancing the day with some self-care, decorating, or catching up and socializing?
If you are a struggling purist when it comes to ‘doing it all, my advice is to follow rule#6: Don’t Take Yourself So Seriously: Get over your own need to be in control of the entire event, and assess which parts of your menu are the most special (and fun) part of your meal prep. This will leave a clear list of remaining items that are necessary or expected as part of the menu. This becomes your list to send to a caterer.
Focusing your effort will not only balance your day but showcase your talent. Pouring your energy into the dishes that you are famous for only strengthens that reputation and reinforces the positive experience for you as well. When you reduce your time planning, shopping, prepping, and cooking items prepared by your caterer, it is quick easy to see the return on (priceless) time and energy for your investment.
Worried about what your guests might feel about your hybrid menu? Don’t, they’ll enjoy the time you spend entertaining and mingling instead of cooking an extra dish or two.
Ultimately, people like to eat good food and will appreciate the diversity that a home-cooked/catering hybrid menu will offer. Not sure whom to contact? Ask your favorite grocer; chances are they know who is buying the freshest selections and practicing the latest culinary trends with creative ingredients.