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Do It for Less! Parties: Tricks of the Trade from Professional Caterers' Kitchens Paperback


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Do It for Less! Parties: Tricks of the Trade from Professional Caterers' Kitchens + Secrets from a Caterer's Kitchen: The Indispensable Guide for Planning a Party + Cooking for a Crowd: Menus, Recipes and Strategies for Entertaining 10 to 50
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Terrace Publishing (April 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0965327515
  • ISBN-13: 978-0965327510
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 7.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #53,355 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

With more than 25 years experience and thousands of parties to her credit, Denise Vivaldo is unparalleled in the field of big-name catering and food styling. She has worked with the likes of Rachael Ray, Michael Chiarello, and Nigella Lawson, among many other heavy-hitters in the food world. She has cooked for all sorts of stars and dignitaries, from Bette Midler and Arnold Schwarzenegger to Prince Charles and President George H.W. Bush. She has catered the Academy Awards Governor's Ball, Los Angeles Magazine's Taste of LA, the Women in Film Tribute, and numerous post-premiere and wrap parties. Denise is the founder of Denise Vivaldo Group, Inc., and lives in Los Angeles.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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So many books look great, but when you read through them, they are just fluff.
Ruth Bray
It's loaded with great information that you can't find in other books and the way it's presented is beautiful and looks so simple.
C. Legassie
DO IT FOR LESS PARTIES by Denise Vivaldo is a must-have book for anyone planning a party.
M. Phillips

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By KT on March 31, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is my new favorite book because the flavors are sophisticated but the recipes are easy! Interesting recipes in quantities for 12, 25, 50, and 75 are hard to find. I will probably use this book more for filling my freezer with family dinners and for brown bag lunches in single serving containers. The advice is practical. Plus there is tons of fun extra information, substitutions and saving time or money. Even decorations and invitation ideas are provided if you want to knock yourself out.

So far I have cooked the Arabian Nights menu with Marrakech Chicken and Lamb Tangine. Both were well received at a luncheon meeting for volunteers and by my husband. With Tabouuleh Salad, Minted Yogurt Sauce and Pita for side dishes, I didn't bother trying the Chocolate Baklava, but will do so another time. The recipes seem to be well-tested and accurate in portion sizes. Both the chicken and the lamb were rich and complex without using chiles.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By M. Phillips on March 18, 2005
Format: Paperback
DO IT FOR LESS PARTIES by Denise Vivaldo is a must-have book for anyone planning a party. Denise and her team offer valuable diagrams and charts on everything from how to set the table to how to choose the appropriate wine glass. They provide a detailed map of how to develop and maintain the perfect buffet. They take the headache out of preparation by offering sample shopping lists and planning strategies. One great chapter is "57 Morsels of Kitchen Wisdom," which provides informative tips and tricks that most cook and party planning books ignore. The suggested theme parties are a unique departure from the same old same old. DO IT FOR LESS is an essential addition to any library.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Catherine Snedaker on March 22, 2005
Format: Paperback
Here's the answer to a hostess's prayers. Whether you are serving 12 or 75, Vivaldo and company make it seem like a snap. I bought the book because I faced a daunting party for 50, read it through, kept it at my elbow during pre-party prep and on the big day enjoyed myself as much as my guests did, without stress, exhaustion, frustration or, most important, breaking the bank.

Even if you don't give many parties, tips about saving time and money are invaluable for everyday cooking.

This one is a WINNER>

Kit Snedaker

formerly food/travel editor of the late lamented Los Angeles Herald Examiner.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Lindell on December 15, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Although this is a fine party planning book with a good selection of menus and recipes, given the "Do it for Less!" in the title, I was expecting a lot of money saving tips. There are practically none, except for "make a budget and stick with it." So on that front it was completely disappointing and I probably would have given it just one star.

But if it had been named something that didn't indicate saving money, I probably would have given it 4 or 5 stars because I do like the recipes and it has good general tips like setting up buffets for good traffic flow, multiplying menus for big crowds, etc.

I just wish someone would write a good money-saving party cookbook.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Judy Bart Kancigor on August 22, 2007
Format: Paperback
by Judy Bart Kancigor, author of Cooking Jewish: 532 Great Recipes from the Rabinowitz Family

from The Orange County Register
January 25, 2007

I am not a football fan. My idea of a super bowl is my mother's Val St. Lambert. But I do love a party, so if my centerpiece has to be the TV, hey, think of what I'm saving on flowers!

My Superbowl guest list is growing each day, and I'm getting nervous. Just how much food do I need for a crowd? And then there's the expense. Not to worry. With Denise Vivaldo's cookbook and catering guide "Do It For Less! Parties" I know I can throw a bash that won't stress me out and won't break the bank.

"People are not used to cooking in quantities," said Vivaldo, a classically trained chef and caterer, whose company, Food Fanatics, specializes in recipe development, consulting, and food styling for print, film and television. "It freaks them out to see how much food they've got. Is it enough? It is too much?" This book eliminates the guesswork with recipes given in chart form for 12, 25, 50 or 75 guests. "Remember, the more things you have on the menu, the smaller the portions you need to serve," Vivaldo advised.

But how much will this party cost, I wonder. "When people entertain, they spend a lot of money instead of keeping it simple," Vivaldo noted. "If you're having a lot of people, you don't have to offer a complete bar. Why not make one kind of drink, say Cosmopolitans, and add something non-alcoholic and some water and you've got it.
Read more ›
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Stacy on March 17, 2005
Format: Paperback
I bought this book after seeing a review in the Pasadena Star written by Peg Rahn. It looked interesting so I ordered it. It's really informative and packed with all kinds of valuable info...without being in the least bit overwhelming. Below is what the review said. She's a professional writer and can put it better than me!

PEG'S PODIUM:

Why is it that we often find what we need after the fact! No sooner had I given a surprise birthday party for husband Lee, did I run across to this MUST HAVE book/guide/bible for anyone who ever has or will ever give a party: Do It For Less! Parties by Denise Vivaldo (Terrace $19.95).

The insider tips and secrets 20-year veteran chef/caterer Vivaldo gives in the first half of the book would have saved me so much grief. She begins at the beginning with all the details you need to know before you start cooking - things like how to develop a party plan, preparing your party space - be it the backyard, a restaurant or the beach, estimating a budget (there's even a worksheet) and making lists. I loved the tip about placing the most expensive food or the food you have the least of at the end of the buffet line so your guests will have filled their plates and only have limited space! She also includes how to set the table, fold napkins as well as 20 easy appetizer ideas for last minute entertaining. A savvy host or hostess can lift any of Vivaldo's 18 party theme menus and become an instant success. For more information on this hot-off-the-presses book, check out [...]
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