Catering RICE - Newbie needs HELP - Best way to produce rice at an interneal / external event.

Joined Aug 22, 2010

I am a total newbie so this may be laughable for the seasoned professionals here, but I hope not.

The intention is to supply take-away food at the likes of music concerts or festivals and general festivals.

My biggest problems at the moment are:
  1. How to cater bulk rice at an event.
  2. What equipment do I need and where can I get good kit from even if 2[sup]nd[/sup] hand.
  1. For many years I have cooked rice for 20-30 people at home. I cook it with excess water and when cooked, I will thoroughly wash it with COLD water. This stops the cooking process as if it’s just drained the inner heat will continue to cook the rice and it end up overdone. Then either nuke it in the microwave or add to boiling water for a minute to reheat it. Would this be a plausible way to cook at a venue? Should I pre-cook and reheat or completely cook at the event? Is there anyone who does cook rice for an event company that can please give me any advice?
  1. I am looking for gas burners for large pots plus whatever is going to be needed for rice cooking and storage. Does anyone know any well priced suppliers (UK only) of this kind of equipment that could supply cheap or possibly second hand equipment to start with?  Hopefully they will be friendly enough and helpful to a novice.
Any and all help, advice or comments are greatly appreciated.


Joined Oct 17, 2007
The best way to cook rice for that many people, especially if you are going to take it somewhere, is show up early and use a quality rice cooker. I don't know how much the big ones cost, but you can find them at the local oriental market place. You may be able to find a used one on Ebay. It not only will cook rice to perfection, but it will keep it warm for hours. Push the button and when it beeps you are done. We are a big rice eating family and I plan 1 cup of rice per person. I often have left overs, but I rarely run out. I consider rice cheap enough to over portion and not worry about it. Left overs go into my compost pile.

Buy Texas grown rice! My rice farming friends will like this unashamed plug.
Joined Feb 13, 2008

This should probably be moved to the professional caterers' thread.


WTF?  One rice cooker bought at the local market for a food concession at a rock concert?!!  Dude. No.


There are a couple of ways to go.  One, indeed, is to use rice cookers.  They come in all sorts of sizes.  The large ones are expensive, and if you go that route, you'll need several. 

How you cook it isn't the issue.  No matter what method you choose, you're probably going to have to start well in advance and cook in batches.  Pack and hold in large, "hotel" size pans, covered with thick foil or cling wraps. 

A lot of people catering rice in large quantities like to bake the rice in hotel pans to begin with.

No matter how you cook, you may hold frozen if it helps. 

Reheat onsite in microwave or conventional ovens.   If you choose to reheat in a microwave, obviously your pans will need to be microwaveable And be forewarned, there aren't a lot of time savings in microwaving very large quantities.  My suggestion, for what it's worth, is to plan to use conventional ovens. 

Once you've got the rice warmed, if it doesn't sell fast enough that you need to keep a steady stream going, you can hold several pans in a low oven, and the remainder in a chaffer or "steam table" (bain marie) ready for service.

I don't know the UK market, but pans, carts (which allow you to roll dozens of pans around at time), and appropriate conventional and microwave ovens (cart mounted as well) are staple catering equipment the world over.  You shouldn't have any trouble finding suppliers for new and used.  If you're in London, don't forget to check the firm of Steptoe and Son for second hand.

Last edited:
Joined Aug 22, 2010
Thank you both for your quick replies and advice.

You have certainly given me a few things to think about. The hotel style pans are the kind of thing I have been trying to knock out of my subconcious, thanks BDL. I'll let you know how it pans out!


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