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GordonCooks

Catering Questions

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Well...in a nutshell, I was asked to cook for a good friend (and restaurant owner's) daughter's wedding reception this weekend. So far, it's been multiple menu changes and general mayhem. It's tough to work with people who think this can all be thrown together at the last minute.

Tonight's rehearsal dinner for 60 (yes...60!!) is handled - simple fried apps with cocktail hour and Pho and whole roasted pig.

Tomorrow is sitdown for 120.

Apps and salads are covered

Pork Butts will be 4 hours in the smoke and finish in the oven

Figured scallops done on his large Plancha - do you think they will hold in a hot box for 30 mins with no ill effects?

Whole beef tenderloins - grill and reserve, then finish in the oven pre service at 375 and slice on the run?

Soy Ginger glazed salmon - doing whole sides in the oven. I was going to score the raw sides before cooking to maintain the integrity of the filets. Good idea?

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Scallops in the hot box sounds like a bad idea. Resting the tenderloins in the hot box sounds like an excellent idea.

Sorry to ask the stupid questions, but you do have adequate plating and serving help? Plating is going to be a bottleneck. Also, you want to keep those plates HOT (but not sizzling hot) to avoid serving cold food.

Squeeze bottles (in hot water bath) for the sauces, ring moulds for plating (optional) , wet towels for wiping plates.


Edited by TheSwede (log)

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So far, it's been multiple menu changes and general mayhem. It's tough to work with people who think this can all be thrown together at the last minute.

Welcome to the world of catering. This is the norm, not the exception.

Pork Butts will be 4 hours in the smoke and finish in the oven

Figured scallops done on his large Plancha - do you think they will hold in a hot box for 30 mins with no ill effects?

Whole beef tenderloins - grill and reserve, then finish in the oven pre service at 375 and slice on the run?

Soy Ginger glazed salmon - doing whole sides in the oven. I was going to score the raw sides before cooking to maintain the integrity of the filets. Good idea?

My first thought was: FOUR proteins? I personally would stick to maybe two proteins and focus on ones that hold well in a hotbox (tenderloin and pulled pork would be good examples). In my experience any type of fish or seafood needs to be served almost immediately after cooking in order to be at it's best (although cooked and chilled shrimp can be done quite well).

My second thought was: Wait, they're having whole roasted pig for the rehearsal dinner AND you are doing pork butt for the wedding reception, too?

My final thoughts match what TheSwede had suggested: is this a plated dinner or buffet? I could easily handle 120 people with maybe one or two helpers in a buffet. A plated dinner would need plenty of food runners to take out the plates, clear plates, etc. And you would need a couple of people helping you do the plating as well.

Good luck with your event!


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Scallops in the hot box sounds like a bad idea. Resting the tenderloins in the hot box sounds like an excellent idea.

Sorry to ask the stupid questions, but you do have adequate plating and serving help? Plating is going to be a bottleneck. Also, you want to keep those plates HOT (but not sizzling hot) to avoid serving cold food.

Squeeze bottles (in hot water bath) for the sauces, ring moulds for plating (optional) , wet towels for wiping plates.

I planned on finishing the tenderloins in a hot box - he's got some combo warmer/cooker with sufficient room.

As far as adequate? Doubt it - he's a poor planner and depending on a lot of maybes and hopefullys. I'm bringing a buddy who is a decent cook and a dishwasher. Service will be a bottleneck but it's something I've bagged him about 2 months. The food will get out as soon as it does. And yes, 4 proteins...don't ask.

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With 2 of you and presuming we're talking a buffet, can't see why not but you've got your work cut out. The way I see it is you'll need the fish slightly under, and depending on the hot cupboard, just the last few moments holding in there on the serving platters.

Whilst that's being done, one of you will be carving like a demon and another doing scallops, between you feeding out Salmon(Normally find the bottom is hottest but not always).

Otherwise you'll end up with something cold or something over done, the balance should be achievable, but I would thought depending on servers ;-) your aim is to get one out of each, beef, scallops, salmon. Then when the final salmon tray comes out of the hot cupboard it's perfect.

120 hot and cold was the most on my own, I was the first to bed, certainly didn't have such tricky hots either, I choose the menu though.

If you're plating I wish you luck. Something will have to give either pre-sliced beef or pre-cooked scallops neither ideal, and lots of rings/plate stands. I would of chosen pre-portioned beef with a simple one slice, to split on the angle, but even then with 2 and scallops, one person would be tied up a bit.

Edit:

Having platter garnishes ready to be just picked up and dropped on will make it easier, if being used.


Edited by PassionateChefsDie (log)

Perfection cant be reached, but it can be strived for!

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With 2 of you and presuming we're talking a buffet,....

The initial post says "sitdown for 120". My take on that is plating and serving tableside.

I hope everything goes smoothly and you have lot of fun.. Please give us the full story on monday!

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I agree but we also have whole sides of salmon, which confused me. Though then it should be relatively similar to sending hot buffet in principle.

I know I would be praying for some good silver service waiters, and not kitchen plating.


Edited by PassionateChefsDie (log)

Perfection cant be reached, but it can be strived for!

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Lessons learned the hard way

Well, we all have that dis-organized friend. Mine happens to own two restaurants. Mind you, they both run on the slimmest of shoestrings staffed by family and friends – I would call them more of a Co-operative than actual businesses. Here are the lessons learned the hard way

Fri (Rehearsal Dinner) went smooth – fried apps and spring rolls to start, Pho to finish.

Saturday’s (Reception) not so much.

I had emailed him a shopping list the week previous based on the final menu.

Proteins were I house but I had to get the veggies handled (thank god the Public market is across the street)

My prep list

Prep List

Morning

Defrost Shrimp

Check Egg Rolls

Check Spring Rolls

Make Satays

Defrost Meatballs

Check Scallops

Defrost Crab cakes

Prep Sugar snap peas

Prep Carrots

Prep cabbage

Prep mushrooms

Make Rice

Afternoon

Make sauces

Warm stock for meatballs

Blanch veggies

Slice cabbage

Cook mushrooms

Cook/Cool/Peel shrimp

Butterfly shrimp

Trim Filets

4:00

Sear/Cool Tenderloins

5:00

Fry Crab Cakes

Make Cabbage

Make Fried Rice

6:00

Half Scallops

Organize the hot line

Tenderloins into oven

Veggies - cook and into warmer

6:30

Fry Egg Rolls

Fry Calamari

Plate

Plate Satays

Plate Meatballs

7:00

Sear Scallops

Slice Tenderloins

Dress greens

My office

gallery_3362_6102_73106.jpg

Lessons learned

Scallops

Searing Scallops on a plancha d/n work well.

Dry packed U10s work better halved

When pan searing large amounts – you’ll be wiping the pan out every 2nd or 3rd time. Sear at high heat 20-30 secs a side and pile into pan to warm and finish cooking.

Beef

Hot sear for color and rest to room temp. Coming from the cold into a 375 oven gets them to 120 internal temp in 12-15 minutes (yes, much quicker than I anticipated.) They rested for almost an hour with no ill effects and looked perfect.

Crab cakes, out of the fryer into a hot box –

Cook all the veggies al dente – worked well holding in a steam table.

Food came our great but died a slow death– service was a debacle. 4 volunteers plating and serving. No amount of leadership would have made a difference.

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Why wouldn't you cook the salmon after portioning it? When you cut the whole side into servings you're going to get ragged edges.

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Why wouldn't you cook the salmon after portioning it?  When you cut the whole side into servings you're going to get ragged edges.

I 86'ed the Salmon (poor quality)

I'm assuming your agreeing with my assessment of having to cut the cooked whole sides would mean a lot of flaking

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