Padma Lakshmi

Padma Lakshmi reflects on Ted Allen's party, and the difficulties of catering for a crowd.

on Dec 14, 2006

Now, it's amazing that the other team, with the same number of chefs and the same financial and kitchen resources, could fail with the same zeal as the other team flourished. Elia, in spite of being a talented and imaginative chef, was unable to lead her team. Beyond that, her insistence on doing such a seafood heavy menu was a fatal mistake.

Part of being a successful host is catering to a wide variety of tastes and dietary requirements. What if half those people were allergic to seafood? Would they make the other guests promise to leave the non-seafood for the allergic guests? It's easy to see how gravely this careless lack of consideration for others' tastes and preferences, cost the team. But you don't have to be a professional caterer or even a professional chef to know that, because when throwing a party, whether a cocktail party, a sit down or buffet dinner party, a luncheon or even just having a few folks around to gather by the t.v. to watch a football game, a host must take into account the various palates of the guests. Serving 200 people, a number they were told about in advance, especially in LA, where you have vegetarians of varying orthodoxy, different religions and cults, as well as waist watching actors, and other health nuts, add to that the food allergies, and to that the just, plain old finicky eaters and it's obvious that you need as much variety as you can squeeze out of your budget.