I am participating in my first tasting event. The event coordinator says I need to make enough food for about 400-600 people to sample. How big should a sample be? About 2 tablespoons? 1 ounce? Does anyone have a ballpark for how many pounds of food sounds about right?

Right now it looks like I'm buying about 50 pounds of meat, not including the remaining ingredients. That seems high.

  • 1
    What are you making?
    – Jolenealaska
    Commented Jul 2, 2014 at 20:36
  • 3
    By "tasting event" do you mean you and many others have a booth and people will wander by? So everyone who tastes your food will have had a lot of other things too?
    – Cascabel
    Commented Jul 2, 2014 at 20:37
  • 1
    I'd think it'd matter how many other groups are participating -- if people are sampling from 30+ different places, you'd want smaller portions than if from only 12, so there's less food wastage. I'd recommending contacting the event coordinator and asking them for advice.
    – Joe
    Commented Jul 2, 2014 at 20:56
  • I am making four different things (yes, I know that is probably a terrible idea) but it represents my menu. All four dishes taste better after the flavors have melded, so it's a matter of scooping a portion of each onto a plate in an appetizing way. So I'm trying to figure out whether it should be a teaspoon size of each, a 2 teaspoon size, etc. Yes, I am at an event where people will be milling around in gardens and there will be 30+ other vendors.
    – aleks1217
    Commented Jul 4, 2014 at 20:25

1 Answer 1


Do you perchance have the time to do a "dry run" with some friends? You may find it useful to initiate a series of platings with structured feedback questions that can be answered easily (yes/no, on a scale of 1-4 rate X...), and maybe a free response if you feel like it. Serve in the environment closest to where people will eventually be eating the food(outside ?) Change one "thing" or variable each time you present your quartet. For example:

Series 1- This will be your "control" plate. Present this with no frills...or like you had to whip up 30 extras on the fly

Series 2- Variable to change: portion size/shape (increase/decrease/change shape)

Ask: Did you want more? (Y/N) Could you fit all this in your mouth at once? (Y/N) What were your initial impressions?

Series 3-Variable to change: plating time prior to consumption (+2 minutes)

Ask: Is this food at a pleasant temperature? Was it too hot/cold? Did you notice any textural/color/flavor changes 2 minutes/5 minutes after it was plated?

I'm sure you get the picture. My thoughts are that small mock-release could provide you with some fast and practical information. I would hate to realize that the portion size/presentation adversely impacted consumer experience, or that some other delicate service nuance could throw off your culinary compositions. Good luck.

  • That is very helpful. Yes, I plan to make the dishes tonight and see how well it works. Thanks for suggesting the variables, as I hadn't thought of that!
    – aleks1217
    Commented Jul 7, 2014 at 15:12

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