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Author Topic: Another "not enough food" story  (Read 4280 times)

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Bill_P

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Another "not enough food" story
« on: November 23, 2015, 11:50:42 AM »
This past weekend my wife & I attended the wedding of one of her friends at a rustic barn venue where the ceremony was held upstairs in the loft followed by cocktail hour & dinner downstairs.  Cocktail hour consisted of open bar beer, wine & non-alcoholic drinks plus cash bar for hard liquor.  No hors d'oeuvres, just baskets of popcorn & Chex Mix at the bar.  Not a problem, we were just looking forward to the dinner, as it was being catered by one of our favorite, slightly higher-end restaurants, so we figured we were in for a real treat.

I've read a lot of comments on other threads about the growing preference for "family style" dinner at a wedding reception and how it's better than a buffet or a standard sit down meal.  And I agree with that, provided it is done properly.  And "properly" to me means making sure there's enough food so that everyone gets their fill, and if there's an item that you particularly liked, that second helpings will be made available.  As you will see, this was not the case.

First we got to our table, a total of six adults and one ten year old child.  One basket of rolls, with seven rolls and one plate of butter.  No additional rolls were to be had.

Then came the family style dinner.  One huge plate of salad with three choices of dressing (I am not a salad eater, mostly because most salad dressings taste and smell horrible to me).  Sharing plates of pasta (enough where each of us got about 3-4 tablespoons full before it ran out), fried potatoes (which again yielded enough for about 3-4 tablespoons per guest), asparagus (4-5 spears each, mostly because the child didn't want any - aside from the salad this was the only plate that had any food left on it after they went around the table).  And here's the point where I snapped:  One plate of chicken in a mustard-terragon cream sauce with seven silver-dollar sized medallions of chicken.  So if you're doing the math that means each person got one, roughly 2.5 ounce piece of chicken with their dinner.  That wasn't enough protein for the ten year old, much less the full grown adults at the table, at least one of whom (me) was a diabetic.  Basically the "sharing" plates we were provided were sufficient to feed two people, maybe three if you really stretch it.

My wife politely asked the server if we could get additional platters as there wasn't enough food for a full meal for anyone at the table.  The server told her that's how the chef planned it and there probably wouldn't be enough for second helpings (Seconds?  There wasn't even enough for firsts!)  but she did return with half full plate of potatoes that also had a whopping two additional medallions of chicken.  So, starving as I was I only took one piece of chicken, feeling it would be rude since I'm sure others at the table were starving as well (the kid grabbed it immediately).  Someone suggested that maybe the couple couldn't afford more food than that, to which I replied that maybe they should have gone with a standard sit down meal so each guest at least gets a full entree, or if they really wanted family style they should have gone to a less expensive caterer (side note:  how expensive is it to provide enough chicken for just over a hundred guests?  It's not fillet mignon; chicken is both cheap and plentiful!).  And the caterers should have set the expectation of what they were able to provide for their guests - I find it hard to believe that this "meal" was what the bride & groom felt would be appropriate to feed their guests on a Saturday evening.

If you're doing family style dinner there should be enough so that there's at least a second platter for each table to pass around.  Family style dining does not mean rationing out tiny amounts of food like you're prisoners of war.  Actually, scratch that.  Prisoners are actually fed better than we were.  I'm sorry, but if you're catering any event, your guests should never leave hungry.

Mustard

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Re: Another "not enough food" story
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2015, 11:55:36 AM »
That sounds grim!  Your experience reminds me of a restaurant review I read some time ago, where the critic's definition of nouvelle cuisine was 'stop and buy a Twix on the way home'.

Bill_P

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Re: Another "not enough food" story
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2015, 11:59:01 AM »
The thing that really upset me was we love this particular restaurant.  The food is outstanding, and while it's fancy, it's not a budget buster (generally my wife and I can get a good dinner for two for 80 or 90 dollars), and they certainly don't skimp on the portions, so I don't know where the disconnect occurred in this case.

cattlekid

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Re: Another "not enough food" story
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2015, 12:01:52 PM »
Holy bovine.  Every event we attend at DH's church is followed by a family style dinner/lunch in the church hall, whether it be a wedding, christening or funeral.  There is always plenty for a first serving for everyone at the table and the catering ladies always hover to make sure that if a serving dish is empty, it's at least half filled back up to make sure that anyone who wants seconds can have some.   Plus there is always a dessert table that is at least four banquet tables in length. 

I can say that the only wedding we ever attended that was like this was an "appetizer only" reception that was held after a 5:00 PM wedding.  Everyone was decidedly hungry and the groomsmen were all right out of college and were so hungry that they ordered pizza.  Not e-hell approved, but I couldn't blame them.

Crazy Chicken Lady

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Re: Another "not enough food" story
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2015, 12:12:16 PM »
Someone suggested that maybe the couple couldn't afford more food than that, to which I replied that maybe they should have gone with a standard sit down meal so each guest at least gets a full entree, or if they really wanted family style they should have gone to a less expensive caterer (side note:  how expensive is it to provide enough chicken for just over a hundred guests?  It's not fillet mignon; chicken is both cheap and plentiful!).  And the caterers should have set .

Putting myself in the bride and groom's place, I would be mortified to have the catering not be up to my expectations. I would be even more mortified to have guests complaining about the meal and speculating about my finances.  :-[

POF

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Re: Another "not enough food" story
« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2015, 12:23:18 PM »
Based on the I didn't think it was THAT bad,  compared to what I've seen plated.

Salad ( large portion )
Starch - 2 kinds - emough for 1/4 cup each - typical serving of starch is 1/2 cup and that was provided 
Roll
Protein - yeah 2.5 oz is very small - although I think a serving is usually 3 ounces. Probably should have had 2 per person.
Asparagus - 4 or 5 spears seems to me to be typical serving.

Now - I was recently at 2 weddings where there were plated dinners.

Both had small salads , rolls were served or a very small bread basket and I think a smallish portion entree with probably 1/2 cup starch or so.

My experience has been that weddings - where the entree is plated is smaller than a restaurant portion. 

In fact - at both weddings - I had to split with my 16 year old who eats a lot.

I actually never count on weddings to be a big dinner - they usually seem small to me.




cass2591

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Re: Another "not enough food" story
« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2015, 12:27:28 PM »
Nice rant.

There is no pie in Nighthawks, which is why it's such a desolate image. ~ Happy Stomach

I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened. ~ Mark Twain

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