A buffet is when the food is laid out on the dining table and/or sideboard and the guests serve themselves. This is a popular way of entertaining a large number of people as normally there is no seating arranged. People will eat standing and the food should be such that no knife is required and only the fork or spoon is used. However there is also a formal buffet with proper seating arrangements.

The best part of a buffet is that much of the work can be done before the guests arrive. Here are some essential tips:

  • Keep plates ready with napkins and cutlery. You can designate a space or put it on the dining table itself. Also keep a place for the used plates.
  • Lay out the water jugs and glasses separately.
  • A good idea is to pre-lay your dining table so that you know exactly how it will look and what will go where. So the right spoons are already placed in advance and you can designate your non-vegetarian area so there is no mix-up.
  • The table must look decorative and cohesive. For example, if you are using clear glass then odd dishes of porcelain and metal will not normally look good.
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  • When making a menu keep to a single cuisine. A well planned menu should look colorful and appetizing.
  • Keep the salt and pepper, pickles, salads and chutneys on the table.
  • A basic bar is adequate.
  • In case the party stretches on, keep biscuits and cheese, assorted namkeens and fruits readily available, so people can nibble through the night.
  • Make sure that the guests have easy access to the table and there is enough room for them to move around. You don’t want a crush where it is difficult to reach the food.
  • Keep in mind the menu that you should plan for a buffet..no thin gravies, nothing that requires two hands to eat etc.
  • Decorate the table nicely because you can really use imagination here.
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Krishna Sahai

Krishna Sahai took voluntary retirement as a senior Commissioner of Income Tax of the Indian Revenue Service to follow alternative paths. A multi-talented person, she is a trained Bharata Natyam dancer and has also published a book on the subject. Krishna has imbibed the old traditions of Avadhi culture from her family and is concerned about preserving the vanishing cuisines of India. She consults on financial and business matters apart from running a not-for-profit organization.

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