How-To Set Up A Buffet

How-To Set Up A Buffet

Buffets work for both small and large gatherings, particularly the latter. They’re casual, easy, and give you the opportunity to showcase your creativity and sense of theater. 

1. A buffet should look abundant if the table is large, group everything together rather than spreading out the food. At the other end of the table, place florals or set up a bar or coffee and dessert. Instant celebration!

2. A well-balanced buffet should offer a vegetable, a protein, a salad, a grain-based dish, and a bread. For summertime, set out a platter of poached salmon, a cucumber sauce, a plate of poached asparagus, a crisp salad, potatoes or rice, and a crunchy baguette- and call it a day!

3. For a more lavish buffet, offer multiples of each category. If you’re serving both meats and fishes, keep them on separate buffets so their sauces don’t mix. I have never been a lover of “surf and turf”; however, if space is limited and you have to offer both on the table, set the fish with the salad and rice at one side of the buffet, a centerpiece in the middle, and the meat, salad, and potatoes on the other side. Place your plates, napkins, and silverware at each end.

4. Put the clean plates at the beginning of your buffet, followed by the cold items.  Next comes the hot entrées. Last should be the silverware and napkins (so your guests won’t be juggling napkins, forks, knives, and spoons while trying to fill their plates).  If you have enough room, set a bar at the other end of the table, with bottles of wine and glasses waiting for your guests to help themselves. 

5. For outdoor food stations, keep the food covered until you’re ready to dine, and set out enough citronella candles to keep any bugs at bay.  

--Colin Cowie

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