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Catering for a doctor's party: need ideas/help


gfron1
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D'ya suppose that Doc meant "dyed in the wool"?  "Died in the wool" brings many gruesome images to mind.  :wacko:

Why am I expecting a joke about a lonely sheep farmer with a heart condition? :raz:

Rob, I suspect if there were diabetics in the group you would have been notified when you asked about food restrictions. It's relatively common here among part of the population and I'm always notified of special requirements but at least that one is pretty easy to provide options for that everybody will enjoy.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Our community is off the charts with diabetes.  I asked specifically for any special dietary restrictions and except for the one nut allergy, there were none.  But point well taken.  I like accommodating diets - its a challenge.  I'll find some fancy, but diabetes friendly dessert.

I think most people expect diabetics to say something, but I know a lot of diabetics (a family full of them) who never say they have an dietary requirement, then 'eat around' the food, which leaves much to be desired. I think because even if you say 'I have diabetes' sometimes people don't know what to do with that - does that mean no sugar, low GI foods, or something else entirely? Etc. It's not as simple as 'I have an allergy to carrots'.

Anyway, that's all off topic, but, it's nice to see someone so accommodating :) Then again there might just be people who are watching what they eat and it's amazing to find something delicious you can eat in that situation, too.

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You know... I really like the "tradational simple food idea..." then i got to thinking... maybe Tri tip, all the fixins grilled out in the open of course...

But then it hit me.... Something simple, that simple folks can enjoy but yet, amaze the masses. 3-4 different stations, of different cuisines... Hell you can even have a "science station" if you really wanted... So adventurous people will go to that table and be like whats this and that and not be surprised that one of your dishes said you had coffee caviar on it...

So perhaps a grill station, an asian section, maybe Mediterranean, then the science...

And im sure you can figure out what you want to put on each station as you go... but prime rib is always a winner... Cheap, easy to cook... cant go wrong... or maybe even tri tip...

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I may be in the gutter, but I am still staring at the stars.

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pardon my French, but oh shit! That's a great idea. Stations! I could do a meat, salad, veg/starch and dessert on each. Basic, intermediate, exotic. They would feel like they're getting more bang for their buck. I could get to really play. Win-win!

I know those of you who have been doing this for a while will groan with the extra work, but I think I could work it out so its not much more work. And I could also explore having the same base meat on all three stations. Imagine a basic pan finished salt and pepper bison tenderloin, a molè dulce finished tenderloin and then something much more exotic tbd. The salads would be no effort at all. The bread is the same process and wouldn't make much of difference. So the effort would be the desserts and veg/starch. That also helps the one loose-vegetarian because I've just tripled their options.

And to answer flop's question, it doesn't really, I was just providing context. The context is not doctor v. lawyer, but rather doctor v. my typical caters that don't have a decent budget to pay me.

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The event was last night and was a huge success. The doc was glowingly praiseful of the selection of food - both his type and his staff's. Here's what I ended up with:

Two large organic green salads - nothing fancy or unusual

Green beans with toasted piñon and a bit of lemon

Roasted potatoes with herbs (filler food just in case)

Sourdough rolls with butter

Tri-olive tapenade with candied kumquat set in torta de acietes

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Hit of the night! Goat carnitas with avocado

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I was going to do an avocado espuma but ran out of time and its probably just as well. I slow cooked goat for 8 hours with light seasoning (goat is very flavorful and rich on its own) of oregano, sage, salt and pepper. Shredded it, lightly fried. Made rounds of fillo dough. Mushed avocado and mixed with the goat. Filled the fillo with the mixture and poked it into my cone pastry form. A quick squirt of olive oil and into a hot oven to crisp and brown.

Bison tenderloin - conservative

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Sous vide cooked and pan finished with salt and pepper. Absolutely beautiful color and just perfect done-ness.

Bison tenderloin - fun

UGLY PLATING ALERT (yes, gallery of regrettable foods worthy)

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Same bison that was seasoned with molè dulce prior to SV cooking. Pan finished with the same molè. Served on a savory granola (fried celery root, onion rings (very thin), fried wild rice, pistachio, dried cherry and a bit of honey), chocolate soil - very dark, and the ugly squiggles are hazelnut pudding with szechuan peppercorns.

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Despite its ugly appearnce, this was a very good combination of flavors that I will continue to use - always very well received.

Three desserts: traditional bouche noel (entrement, not buttercream swiss roll), The Old Foodie's flourless citrus chocolate cake (one of my favorite desserts), and a Tres Leches Egg Nog cake

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In the end, all food was on one table, but grouped by adventurousness. Our thought was that this might help more conservative eaters to explore or mistake-upon something more unique.

thanks again for all the help. I'd give each of you a cut of the payment, but I wouldn't know where to send it :raz:

Edited by gfron1 (log)
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Nice job Rob. I'm looking at "bison, fun" and I'm thinking it's not as bad as you seem to think. It has a bit of a buried-in-the-ground thing going on but it's not "regrettable foods" material and I don't think it's due to the components or basic plating idea, I think it's more related to volume. I bet if you broke it down in individual platings and maybe used little pools of the pudding instead of icing the top with it then tossed on a bit of the pistachios and cherries from the granola and some appropriate fresh herbs for color, it would look awesome. Sounds really tasty, so do the carnitas. What was the olive/kumquat combo like? Sounds interesting.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Thanks guys. I'll find out what the non-adventurous folks thought tomorrow when they pay me (more on that in a sec). The olive kumquat is the old sweet/salty combo. Actually the crisp that it was served on was accented with anise, and it all played very nicely together. I've served that now at three caters and everyone has loved it.

So payment...I knew the doc. In fact, I went to the doc earlier this year. We never settled on a price nor did a contract - a small town handshake was enough. We did agree to a range that they were willing to pay. I built a dinner around the lower range. Apparently they came in to the store today to pay but told our staff that they would come back so they could pay me personally. my staff said their mood was very positive, so I'm expecting the top of the range and maybe even a tip since they got me personally on-site for an hour that was comped. I showed up in my whites and they were just tickled because it added to the special-ness for their staff. All in all, a good event.

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Nicely done. While our own party turned out well, I wouldn't have minded what you did in the least! :biggrin: The goat carnitas look particularly fantastic!

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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