The thought of cooking for an Easter breakfast for 100 people may seem super easy for the average caterer, but for me, this was a big deal when I started coordinating our efforts about 3 years ago. I believe this will be my fourth Easter breakfast, and I’m certainly not doing all of the cooking. As a matter of fact, I’m doing very little cooking. But I do help to coordinate our efforts. So if you’re thinking about starting an Easter breakfast, here are some tips:
1. Decide on your menu.
This year, as in past, we’re having pancakes, cooked on the spot by our trusty father-son Tellefsen team. Making pancakes is a bit tricky because you can’t do these ahead of time, which means the cooks need to arrive at least 90 minutes or so before serving to make sure there’s a fairly decent number of pancakes ready to go. Our breakfast begins between 8:00 and 8:30 a.m., so it’s not like we have to get there at the crack of dawn. But considering that the Easter Vigil, the night before, usually goes until 10:00 or 11:00, it makes for an early morning for this non-morning person.
In addition, this year, we’re having bacon, egg casseroles, fruit salad, juice, and coffee.
2. Plan a set-up/prep day.
We have our setup on Saturday, the day before Easter. I have the youth come to set up tables and chairs to seat 80. We plan on 100-120 mouths to feed, but because people come and go throughout that time, we only need to seat about 80 at a time.
During the setup, the kids put out tables and chairs, serving tables, and get the facility in order before starting in on the food prep. They are tasked then with cutting up fruit, and assembling egg casseroles to be baked Easter morning.
3. Plan your shopping.
Since this is our final fundraiser for our mission trip, I try to get as many donations as possible, so as not to dip into our youth funds. One family may donate 4 dozen eggs, for example, or the beverages, etc. I coordinate all of this to make sure the supplies are ready on Saturday. If I can’t get things donated, I shop for the remaining supplies.
4. Solicit helpers to be the cleanup crew.
This part is tricky. Everyone wants to have a fabulous breakfast, but then everyone rushes over to church to rehearse with the choir, prepare to usher, or whatever. So then no one is leftover to clean up. Instead, ask people to volunteer to assist. They can usually start cleaning up even before everyone is done eating. Dishes can be washed, etc.
5. Get there early on prep day.
I make lists of tasks for the kids to perform to maximize our 1 1/2 to 2 hour prep time on Saturday. I give one set of kids the table/chair duty and draw a diagram for them to set up the room. Another set of kids puts on tablecloths and centerpieces. Another set starts chopping strawberries, cantaloupe, and pineapples. Someone else washes and de-stems all of the grapes. For the fruit salad, I usually have everything ready to go the day before. I store all of the fruit in separate ziploc bags, and then combine everything the morning of the breakfast.
I also send home the pre-made egg casseroles to parent volunteers to bake in their ovens. For our 100 people, I make five of the large serving pans (approx. 12″ x 15″?). I buy the throw-away pans to save on washing since our church dishwasher isn’t working at present.
Also if this is a fundraiser, have the kids make lots of signs in their handwriting telling people what the money is going toward. I usually ask for a suggested donation, to sort of let people know how much we paid to provide everything.
6. Get there super early on Easter morning.
I’m usually the first one there on Easter morning, so I get the job of putting out the white cloth on the outdoor cross. He is risen!
But then I get busy in the kitchen, turning on the coffee, warming up the stove and oven, and then helping people as they arrive with their egg casseroles or huge pans of bacon.
Oh, I forgot to mention the special bacon delivery. Our intrepid Jeff WL makes the best bacon known to man. This year he’s going to cook 18 pounds of the stuff, probably on Saturday, and then he’ll bring it Easter morning. What dedication!
7. Set out all of the items on the serving table.
Don’t forget the offering baskets with some seed money.
Set out all of the dishes as they become available. We usually have such a mad rush that it’s not imperative to heat the dishes, but that’s certainly a good idea if there is lag time.
8. Get your clean-up crew ready to go.
Once the rush of the crowd has dispersed, have your youth or helpers start cleaning up trash, and clearing the tables. Work your way to the serving tables, and once everyone has eaten, clear those as well. Package up the leftovers, and head to Easter service.
An Easter breakfast can be a festive and happy occasion to gather your whole congregation. With some planning, it can be fairly easily to coordinate too.
Happy Easter breakfasts to you!