Want all your friends to think you’re a real “insider” at your Oscar party this year? Create a Hollywood-style Craft Services Table! It looks impressive, but is so easy to set up. I’ll show you how.
First, if you don’t know what a Craft Services Table is, it’s essentially a snack table. It’s set up to allow all the hard working movie and TV types to nosh (that’s Hollywood for snack).
It’s a great way to set up a party table — whether it’s strictly a snack table or more like a traditional buffet, it gets the food organized, keeps trash to a minimum and allows everyone to serve themselves. Party Perfect!
Now, if we were really going to be on a TV or movie shoot, there are real protocols for who eats what and when. The etiquette on a film set is stricter than anything the State Department could come up with for visiting dignitaries. But we’re just entertaining our friends (hopefully) so we’re going to concentrate on having an array of delish food and letting everyone have a great time.
Plan your food according to the type of party you’re having. Casual? Go with finger food and packaged goodies like candy and chips. Are you having a elegant affair for an A-List crowd? Go Old Hollywood with an omelet station, crepes and champagne.
It doesn’t really matter what you’re serving, the Craft Services Table is all about letting the guests at your party serve themselves and eat what they like throughout the evening.
Here are a few tips and ideas—
All you need to get started is a long table. That could be your dining table or a folding table or even an old door on top of a few saw horses. You can even set up two tables, one for hot items and one for cold items. This works especially well if you have a lot of food items or a lot of guests. If you do use two tables, set them up in different areas of your house (maybe one in the dining room and one on the patio). This keeps “food service congestion” to a minimum. A good thing when you’re trying to serve a number of guests.
Next, cover your table. You don’t need to be fancy, although you can use a nice tablecloth if you like. I usually use a few yards of inexpensive fabric that matches my party decor or theme.
Now, gather your food items and serving pieces, as well as cups, drinks, etc., to set up your table. You want to arrange your Craft Services Table in a logical progression.
Set it up in the order listed below, beginning at one end and moving in a logical progression:
Heavy foods like Potato Skins, Meatballs, casseroles, sandwiches, pasta
Salads, rice, etc.
Dips, Hummus, cheese tray or veggies and fruit trays, other small nibble items
Popcorn, bagged chips (I put a scoop in the popcorn and set out cups or bags to hold popcorn)
Desserts, candy bars, granola bars, bagged candy like M&Ms, etc. (I set out small dessert plates near dessert items. People usually make a second trip for candy and desserts)
I like to put a large ice chest on the floor by the end of the Craft Services Table that contains bottled waters, opened wine or champagne, beer (with a bottle opener on a string tied to the cooler), and a variety of sodas. I put drink cups inside the cooler.
Last, I place a large trash can and a recycling bin, both clearly marked, at the end of the line. It saves so much clean up time later!
Organizing in this way means you can quickly see when items need to be replenished, and lets you keep everything neat and tidy as the evening progresses. Keeping food together and organized also lets you do a good bit ahead of time and makes clean up a breeze. A blessing after a long Oscar evening!