Food bars are a great way for a caterer to make money! Since everything is buffet style and guests serve themselves, one caterer can serve a large party of clients. Offering a “build your own” food bar is creative, fun and interactive since guests will be interacting with one another on the buffet line and are able to choose foods to their liking. This is great for clients on a budget since food bars are a lower cost alternative to traditional catering. Food Bars are also great for families with children and picky eaters. A pasta bar is a classic crowd pleaser but you can also offer; salad bars, taco bars, baked potato bars and ect…
Here are some options you can offer your client with a pasta bar:
Choose 2-3 different types of pasta’s (Bow tie pasta, Ziti, Penne, Tortellini, Multicolor pasta, Stuffed shells…ect)
Choose 3-4 different types of sauces (Marinara sauce, Alfredo Sauce, Pesto sauce…ect)
Choose 2-3 meat options (Chicken parmesan, Shrimp, Italian Sausage, Meatballs, Pork chops ect…) Alternative for vegetarians (Eggplant parmesan).
Choose 3-4 vegetable toppings (Sundried tomatoes, Sautéed mushrooms, Artichoke hearts, Zucchini, Sauteed peppers…ect)
Finishing toppings (Fresh grated parmesan cheese, Italian blend shredded cheese, Red pepper flakes, Italian seasoning, Fresh Basil for centerpieces and garnishing)
Cook pasta to just under al dente, strain and shock with cold water to stop the cooking process. Toss the pasta with oil and a little water to keep it from sticking. Refrigerate until event then heat pasta in hot water at the event just before serving and toss in oil again, and then transfer into chafing dishes.
Stringy pasta should be avoided buffet style because it is messy but with a pasta bar, spaghetti is usually a must have. Make sure you do not overcook and remember to toss with oil after transferring to the chafing dish to prevent it from sticking together.
Here are the estimating guidelines for a complete pasta bar catering event. Please adjust according to your judgment and clientele.
1-2 garlic rolls per person.
1 small handful lettuce/greens, ¾ ounce dressing, cherry tomatoes, croutons, cucumber. (Italian and Caesar salads work best with a pasta bar.)
6 ounces of pasta per person. (cooked)
4-5 ounces of sauce per person.
4-6 ounces of protein per person.
2-4 ounces of sauteed vegetable selections per person.
4-6 ounces of dessert per person.
(2-3) eight ounce drinks per person.