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University of Minnesota Extension

Cooking safely for a crowd

You may be a good cook but cooking for a crowd is different. This short presentation is designed for volunteers who help prepare, serve or handle food at any large group event. This may be a pancake breakfast, parish dinner, festival booth or maybe even your own family party.

There’s a lot to learn about how to plan, prepare and serve food in quantities. But, the most important is how to make sure the food is safe. It’s scary to think about people getting sick from your meal, but it can and does happen. Each year, millions of people suffer from foodborne illness. While foodborne illness can be as mild as a stomach ache, it can also be fatal.

Topics covered include:

  • Planning the quantity food event
  • Foodborne illness: how does bacteria grow?
  • Personal hygiene for safe food: handwashing
  • Cross contamination
  • Time and temperatures
  • Storing food supplies
  • Preparing quantity food
  • Keeping food safe when holding and serving
  • Handling the leftovers

Video, transcript and handouts


Kathy Brandt, Extension educator, Suzanne Driessen, Extension educator, LouAnn Jopp and Debra Botzek Linn, former Extension educators.

Reviewed in 2021

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