How To Setup A Buffet Table

The best part of serving buffet style is that, once set up, it leaves the hostess free to enjoy the party with their guests. It leaves guests free to partake of the foods that they like and leave what they do not. It can also be a cost effective way to throw a fabulous party.

The most important part about setting up a buffet table is presentation. Items that go together need to be placed in close proximity to each other. That goes for foods as well as dishes, silverware etc. The best placement for dishes and silverware is at the beginning of the buffet line. Generally speaking, the line or table should be set up according to the progression of the meal. For example, salads should be at the beginning, then entrees and finally dessert last or on another table entirely.  The table should be set up so as to encourage "traffic flow." People should not be bumping into each other trying to get to the food or drinks. There should be plenty of room for people to move about freely.

For the most attractive buffet table, try thinking of the food as art. People "eat with their eyes."  If food looks unattractive, the perception will be that it doesn't taste good. Flatter your food with great presentation and everyone will rave at what a wonderful host you are.

Get creative with your serving dishes.  Use hollowed out cabbages, pumpkins or other produce to serve dips or salads. There are many items that can be used to serve food on that are not considered "dishes." Look around your home or scour dollar stores, thrift shops or flea markets for untraditional serving dishes.  If using an item that is not considered "dinnerware" to serve food, it is wise to protect the food by using plastic wrap or cardboard between the food and the dish unless you are sure that it is a safe dish. Using lettuce leaves on top of this makes for beautiful presentation.

Consider using a color scheme or theme for your table. This will tie your decor together and give it a polished appearance.  Place the food at varying heights for dramatic presentation.  A simple yet effective way to do this is to place weighted boxes upside down and drape with attractive fabric. Place trays of food on top of the boxes.  Consider sprinkling the table with flower petals, confetti or ropes of "pearls" or beads.  Arrangements of flowers or other objects in keeping with your theme may be placed artfully throughout your table for dramatic impact.

Now that your "art" is in place, you are ready to invite your guests to enjoy your feast. Have fun and enjoy your party!

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