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Great Party Tips from the Sydney Catering Experts

Sydney Catering Expert Advice - Cooking Plans, Shopping and Storage

With the menu organised it is time to get down to practicalities and, yet again, making the right lists eases everything along.

Sydney Catering Expert Advice -Cooking plan

Make a list of all the cooking. It is a good idea to copy the recipes and keep them together in a plastic folder in the kitchen when preparing them.

Divide the list into those recipes to cook well in advance and freeze, adding notes on when to remove them from the freezer, with likely thawing time and any finishing touches or reheating time.

Note down any seasonings or enriching ingredients that have to be added at the last minute and include this on the checklist of things to do.

List the dishes that have to be cooked just before the party, that is the day before or on the same day.

Note any advance preparation next to each dish. For example, salad dressings can be made a day or two ahead and chilled, some salad ingredients can be trimmed or peeled and washed the day before, then chilled ready for use – spring onions (scallions), celery sticks and tomatoes are good examples.

When all the dishes are listed, with the days on which they have to be made, it is then easier to draw up a cooking plan. Order the recipes according to the day on which they have to be made, then go through this list to make sure it is all possible.

If you have far too much work for any one day, check whether any can be made in advance. If you have chosen too many last-minute dishes, adjust the menu before embarking on a shopping spree.

On your cooking plan, list different items to be prepared separately – this way you are less likely to underestimate the work involved. As well as volume of work, make sure that you have enough containers, work surfaces and note the cooking appliance needed for each dish.
Shopping lists

Working from numbers and menu, check the recipes and increase the quantities if necessary. Then work out the shopping list, checking store-cupboard ingredients.

Rather than having one mammoth list, divide it according to type of food, items that can be bought in advance and perishable last-minute purchases. Include any notes, reminders or alternatives on the lists to make shopping as efficient as possible.

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