Home Blog How to Set Up a Perfect Buffet
Posted on Monday, 11 September 2017
If you're throwing a party or large gathering, a buffet table will likely be the best choice to feed everyone. 
A buffet table is convenient and great for making sure that large numbers of guests will have enough to eat.
The Certificate III Commercial Cookery students prepare an elaborate buffet as part of the curriculum, for approximately 50 staff and students. They are in charge of all aspects, from menu planning to the set up to innovation.
They find that buffet presentation is not merely preparing food, but also organising the presentation and display of buffets. Here are some of the top tips from students who have experienced the exhilarating feeling of a successful buffet.
Leave the middle of the table empty for a great centrepiece.
A great centrepiece serves as a talking point. We often give our students creative freedom with a giant watermelon, and they've presented everything from giant sharks to roses to a swaying palm tree.
A centrepiece also serves to separate the flow of the food. Rather than piling all the dishes in the middle of the table, a centrepiece breaks the dishes up into sections, such as appetisers, main courses and desserts. 

Another idea is to create a luxurious centrepiece with one of the dishes. A large outstanding dish such as a croquembouche (an elegant tower of choux pastry balls) provide great visual interest. With caramel swirls and sugared flowers, it attracts attention with its finesse and simplicity.

Our commercial cookery students also learn the intricate techniques of making such a difficult dish. Once you conquer the croquembouche, you can conquer the world!

Variety is the spice of life.

Buffet tables cater to a variety of tastes, and our students love putting a variety of items on the menu for attendees to enjoy. This cheese platter has an assortment of cheeses to pick and choose. It also provides nibbles before attendees dive into the main courses.

Arrange the table strategically.

Hot food is best placed near the end of the line. No one likes to go through a line, take a seat and eventually realise that their hot food has turned cold.

Cold appetisers like potato salad and shrimp ceviche can be placed at the front of the table, while hot foods in bain maries should be placed near the end of the table. It all comes down to proper planning.

Cater to other people, particularly those who might have dietary habits.

While smoked ham platters are a very popular dish, there might be attendees who are vegetarian or do not consume pork. This is the same for other attendees who might not consume chicken, beef or have allergies to nuts or dairy.

Having a vegetable platter might be a great option to cater to such guests. Grilled veggies served with olives might be a possible option.

Make room for dessert!

Dessert and drinks can be positioned away from the main table. Having a separate table specifically for desserts allows for more space for attendees to mingle. It also ensures that people do not bump into each other or wait in a long queue to grab different food.

Presenting food (especially dessert) in stacks and tiers also help to create visual appeal and makes it easy for customers to pick their desired item. You could go for tiered cake plates, or simply stack desserts on top of each other.

There's nothing better than preparing a beautiful buffet and watching the pleasure of guests who enjoy your food!

If you're up for the challenge and are thinking of joining the hospitality industry, why not take a course with us and learn the ropes of Melbourne's hospitality industry?

Other than buffets, students also learn the foundation skills of Commercial Cookery. If you prefer hotel or restaurant management, we also offer courses in Operations.

Whether you're an international student or a domestic (Australian citizen or Permanent Resident) student, you will be eligible for our Hospitality courses:

Commercial Cookery


Want more information? Call us at 1300 RGIT AU (744 828) or email admin@rgit.edu.au.