Serious Eats: Talk

How do I cook good food for a VERY large crowd?

I volunteer with a local organization that hosts 4 retreat weekends every year for about 150 people; everyone stays on-site at the retreat center for a long weekend. The spirit of the weekend is "radical hospitality" (to borrow a phrase from the Hedgebrook Cookbook), but the meals are catered by an outside group and are pretty much boring cafeteria food. Worse, the caterers are resistant to accommodating special dietary needs (vegetarian/vegan, gluten-free, etc.)

I have gotten it into my head that I want to take over catering the meals for these retreat weekends. If the organization agrees (and I think they might), I will pull together a team of about 4 people interested in food to cook 9 meals (3 breakfast, 3 lunch, 3 dinner) for 150 people. We will have access to a professional kitchen at the retreat center. Does anyone have any advice on cooking food for that large a crowd?

Here are my goals:

Some ideas I've thought of include a big pot of vegetable soup served with crusty no-work bread and a breakfast taco bar. Any advice on multiplying recipes to serve 150 or making sure that it's all ready at the same time when the participants walk into the dining hall?

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