f.montoya, thanks! I am practicing for my son's bday party in about 3 weeks where I expect to have about 60-70 guests. You know that even with 2 pies, it is still quite stressful especially with the fast bakes that we are aiming for but we can't get what we want in a pizza any other way. I only do 2 if I have more than 20 guests so I can keep up with them. Most of the time, I prefer to do 1 pizza only.
Hey Marlon, I've got a party the day after tomorrow for 24 guests and a party next weekend(May 12th) for another 27. I had two parties in April as well. The first one was 50 guests and the second was a just a small gathering of 20. Here's some advice to help you keep up...
1. Prep everything, including your oven, so that you are ready to bake at least 45 minutes prior to the first guests arrival time.
2. Half-bake about a dozen pies and leave to cool on metal mesh, or anywhere that you can allow air to flow across the pie bottoms. For a pre-bake, I actually calculate about 1/3 pie per guest so if I'm expecting 20 people to show up at the same time, I half-bake around 6 or 7 pies before the party.
3. As the first guests begin to arrive, start finishing off your pre-baked pies. This should be around 25 to 35 seconds each, which in a WFO should sufficiently finish off the bake. Ideally, if you've trained an apprentice in the art of using the turning peel, this would free you up to start making more fresh pies.
4. Since the main attraction at my 50-guest party was the pizza, and not any particular activity, we separated the guest list into 3 groups of about 16 people and had them arrive at three separate times, 11:30a, 12:00p and 12:30p. With the rest of the parties activities at 1:00pm, This enabled me to keep up with the baking for smaller numbers of people, rather than having a huge line of 50 people waiting just to get a slice at my pace of two pies at a time. Luckily, I had a trained apprentice to help with the baking, so everything went quite well.
5. If you have yet another person to help you, let them take care of cutting and serving pies and bringing back serving plates.
6. Buffet style = No waste. I keep about 4 plates on a table and as the pies are devoured, I replenish with fresh pies. When I see there are still several slices left, and no one is grabbing at them any more, I stop making pies and relax with a nice glass of red wine or an ice cold Asahi Super Dry. I think parties where guests get their own pies are harder to deal with and you'll inevitably get kids who leave some on their plates, that no one eats or gets dropped on the floor. And you'll get adults who try to eat just one more, only to find out their belly has no more space.
Also, I know some people have pizza parties where they let the guests try their hand at pizza making, but IMO that simply slows everything down to a crawl and isn't as fun as it may first sound. In fact, I don't let anyone touch my stuff until everyone is full and ONLY if I have leftover dough and have the energy to show a friend a thing or two. Instead, a couple of months ago, I ordered two "Throw Dough's
", that I let my guests have fun with. They always take pics of themselves tossing it and it makes for a fun activity at a pizza party.
Anyway, I wish you luck with your party! I'd love to see some pics of you in action!