Cooking and holding Scrambled eggs for 300 over a 2 hour service window

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Joined Dec 11, 2016
I just took a job as a cooking instructor at a High School after coming out of retirement after 6 years.

The teachers are cooking and serving a Xmas Breakfast Buffet next Friday.

I am overseeing the Egg Team and could use some practical advice.

They are currently using a Vulcan Gas Fired Tilt Skillet for egg production and I was hoping to convince them to try cooking the eggs in ovens to free the tilt skillet for Pancake production as there is no flat top and pancakes are cooked individually in non stick skillets by a team of 6 teachers with low skill level. I keep hearing how it is a pinch point and they can never keep up.

So-I am looking for practical advice and experience from anyone that might have successfully devised a Oven based Scrambled Egg production procedure using 4" or 6" full inserts that can be carried directly over to the steam table for service and held without greening

Thank you in advance..
 
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you can add some cream to the eggs to keep them from greening. That could be béchamel, heavy cream or some variation. 

The only oven based system I can think of is to pour the eggs in the pans and bake, opening the door every five or ten minutes to stir the eggs. 

What other equipment does the kitchen have?  A steamer, perhaps? A steam kettle? How many burners on the stove? 

Any budget for anything? There are grills you can buy to fit over the burners, then remove and store when not needed. Not terribly expensive. 
 
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Joined Dec 11, 2016
 
you can add some cream to the eggs to keep them from greening. That could be béchamel, heavy cream or some variation. 

The only oven based system I can think of is to pour the eggs in the pans and bake, opening the door every five or ten minutes to stir the eggs. 

What other equipment does the kitchen have?  A steamer, perhaps? A steam kettle? How many burners on the stove? 

Any budget for anything? There are grills you can buy to fit over the burners, then remove and store when not needed. Not terribly expensive. 
​Kitchen has 2 Cleveland double convection ovens both dedicated to bacon and sausage production. No steam equipment in the kitchen. Double fryers-30" broiler. About 18 burners. 2 groups of 4 burner either side of convection ovens and one bank of 10 burners near broiler on the back side of the convection ovens. 2 gas non-convection ovens under the large bank of burners-Those 2 ovens would be where I would be located if I could convince the Chef/Teacher to change the existing plan. One large portable proofer will be used for hot holding and feeding the line

Sadly no budget alloted for equipment purchase or rental

At what point is the cream introduced?
 
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Once the breakfast meats are done consolidate and hold in one oven.

Use the other to bake biscuits (some good frozen products out there) and 86 the pancakes which get soggy and tough if not served ala minute.

Yes the cost may be a bit higher but trying to do pancakes in a tilt skillet is ridiculous IMO.

mimi
 
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Joined Aug 21, 2004
Originally Posted by omega50  
 

I keep hearing how it is a pinch point and they can never keep up.
So what has been learned from this? Have they considered a menu change?

An idea that might work for a insta griddle for doing pancakes on the burners (disclaimer: I have not done this so I am not sure of results, suggest trial before adopting idea) is to place a sheet pan over 4 burners. Line the pan with bricks. Place another sheet pan on top of bricks. Viola, griddle...hopefully. 18 burners, you should have 4 griddles.

Another idea is to do a pancake casserole. Make pancakes the day before. Shingle them in a hotel pan. Pour a mixture of beaten eggs and cream over the pancakes to barely cover. Cellophane wrap and place in fridge overnight, which allows the pancakes to soak up the mixture. Next day, uncover and bake.

Sounds weird but they actually bake up light and fluffy. (another disclaimer: if you think you want to go this way, start a trail version today and bake tomorrow before presenting idea to cohorts).
 
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Joined Dec 11, 2016
So what has been learned from this? Have they considered a menu change?



An idea that might work for a insta griddle for doing pancakes on the burners (disclaimer: I have not done this so I am not sure of results, suggest trial before adopting idea) is to place a sheet pan over 4 burners. Line the pan with bricks. Place another sheet pan on top of bricks. Viola, griddle...hopefully. 18 burners, you should have 4 griddles.



Another idea is to do a pancake casserole. Make pancakes the day before. Shingle them in a hotel pan. Pour a mixture of beaten eggs and cream over the pancakes to barely cover. Cellophane wrap and place in fridge overnight, which allows the pancakes to soak up the mixture. Next day, uncover and bake.



Sounds weird but they actually bake up light and fluffy. (another disclaimer: if you think you want to go this way, start a trail version today and bake tomorrow before presenting idea to cohorts).


I am not sure that they have learned much of anything from the history of this event.

I have just been filling a gap in their casual roster as a substitute cooking instructor for a few weeks. My involvement/influence at this school will end this Friday after this event.


They seem resistant to change and seem content to repeat the sins of years past. They got very upset at the prospect of a menu change when I raised the issue this past week.

My hope was to have a smooth service with their existing equipment and menu without freaking them out too much.

Perhaps it is best to let them call the shots and suffer through the inefficiencies.

The sun will always rise again.:)
 
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Joined Apr 3, 2008
So what has been learned from this? Have they considered a menu change?



An idea that might work for a insta griddle for doing pancakes on the burners (disclaimer: I have not done this so I am not sure of results, suggest trial before adopting idea) is to place a sheet pan over 4 burners. Line the pan with bricks. Place another sheet pan on top of bricks. Viola, griddle...hopefully. 18 burners, you should have 4 griddles.



Another idea is to do a pancake casserole. Make pancakes the day before. Shingle them in a hotel pan. Pour a mixture of beaten eggs and cream over the pancakes to barely cover. Cellophane wrap and place in fridge overnight, which allows the pancakes to soak up the mixture. Next day, uncover and bake.



Sounds weird but they actually bake up light and fluffy. (another disclaimer: if you think you want to go this way, start a trail version today and bake tomorrow before presenting idea to cohorts).


I am not sure that they have learned much of anything from the history of this event.

I have just been filling a gap in their casual roster as a substitute cooking instructor for a few weeks. My involvement/influence at this school will end this Friday after this event.


They seem resistant to change and seem content to repeat the sins of years past. They got very upset at the prospect of a menu change when I raised the issue this past week.

My hope was to have a smooth service with their existing equipment and menu without freaking them out too much.

Perhaps it is best to let them call the shots and suffer through the inefficiencies.

The sun will always rise again.:)

Let them call the shots. You can't reason with crazy right? If they think they know Bette let them dig themselves in. Personally I would have a casserole like cheflayne suggested or even better, a French toast pudding. Or you can have an egg strata. Or a quiche. Anything so that you can use the oven and free up the griddle space. Bake bake bake. There are so many delicious ways to go about putting forth a brunch without making scrambled eggs and pancakes. Sheesh right?!
 
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Joined Aug 21, 2004
I am not sure that they have learned much of anything from the history of this event.

I have just been filling a gap in their casual roster as a substitute cooking instructor for a few weeks. My involvement/influence at this school will end this Friday after this event.


They seem resistant to change and seem content to repeat the sins of years past. They got very upset at the prospect of a menu change when I raised the issue this past week.

My hope was to have a smooth service with their existing equipment and menu without freaking them out too much.

Perhaps it is best to let them call the shots and suffer through the inefficiencies.

The sun will always rise again./img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif
I feel you. Been there. Done that. As a matter of fact, I am doing a version of that at this point in time as I do some part time work helping out a caterer. They are more open to input and even ask for it though, as opposed to your cohorts. Even so, I spend a lot of time while on site telling myself "not my circus, not my monkeys".

Good luck and yes, this too shall pass.
 
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Joined Aug 21, 2004
Personally I would have a casserole like cheflayne suggested or even better, a French toast pudding.
I never really thought about it, but basically the preparation I mentioned is pretty much French toast pancakes; too funny. It is a good way to pump out pancakes when griddle space is non-existent.
 
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Pancakes cooked in non-stick pans by 6 teachers for 300 students...does not sound like a good idea. 

Of course they can't keep up, there is no way to keep up because they are doing it stupidly. Notice how every chef on here tried to talk you out of it because they know that to even attempt to do something like that (and have any expectation that it will go well) is folly. 

I like the idea of baking some sort of pancake/french toast casserole thing. There must be dozens on ideas for sweet breakfast casseroles that you could bake and hold that would be delicious with maple syrup and butter but not necessitate 6 teachers bumping around trying to make pancakes. 

Anyways, if they won't listen what can you do? 

Good luck!
 
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I had a large scale breakfast spoon up operation in my business. I made some eggs to order but the scrambled eggs were made in bulk. I found holding them in plastic containers did real well. This method held them in a warmer covered without any reaction or turning green. We used eggs in a bag, "Whole Eggs with Citric Acid" because we served breakfast for 4 hrs. I have heard of people making the eggs in the oven but I never did. When you put direct heat/steam hitting the bottom of the egg pan on the steam table it will be a problem. If you have a standup warmer available the pancakes could be held by wrapping them as long as there isn't a lot of direct heat hitting any part of the FT or PC.. When I held pancakes and French toast I used buffers under and over the top of them. This way there was never direct heat hitting the top or bottom that would dry them out. In other words, just layering pancakes in a 2" hotel pan in a steam table wouldn't do them justice. In any type of catering the cooking of the product isn't the biggest factor of serving a quality product. The area I see most people mess up is in not holding the items properly and losing the quality during service.
 
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Joined Oct 31, 2012
18 burners is a lot of available and wasted cooking space. So no budget allotted? That simply means they have some money, they just aren't yet convinced to spend it on grills. But the time has come. What no one has done is investigate pricing. 

 So my advice is to look in your local restaurant supply house, used restaurant supply house or on line. Find out if another church or local fire house has one you can buy/borrow. 

My next door neighbor is currently using one to block his pets from getting between the back of the garage and the fence. (I'll be asking him for it the next time I see him. )They are out there and not very expensive. 

You could even have a local metal working shop make you one. A quick internet search while typing this turns up a Camp Chef Grill sold by North 40 for $99. Fits over two burners. 

The metal shop can probably make two for that price. (We had one made for our restaurant, fit over four burners, made of thick steel.)

Anyway, given the information you've posted, the system for producing this breakfast sounds fine to me. The bottleneck isn't caused by using the tilting skillet for eggs. It's because they haven't bitten the bullet and invested in a proper grill(s) for the pancakes. It's time. 

And it occurs to me that it is entirely likely that several people in your school community probably already have one sitting in the garage/attic but no one has asked to borrow it. 
 
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Ditto layne's condolences.

Was asked (told) to fill in as omelet cook for the annual admin hosted breakfast (hospital week is not as fun when you carry a clipboard for a living).

Prepped all my stuff and loaded a (clean) pickle bucket with my egg mix and grabbed a few ladles.

Lined everything up in a ice trough and preheated my 2 electric skillets (are y'all kidding me?).

I was last on the line so asked the first station (fruit salad) to take my orders and call down to me.

By the time the "guest" got to me the order was pretty much completed .

CEO (manning the toasters) was blown away.

Told me that the egg station cook had always cracked the eggs to order.

Duh....these are the people that the public trusts with their lives.

mimi
 
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I believe the issue that @omega50 is trying to resolve is lack of griddle/flattop space. While moving production of the pancakes to the tilting skillet as a way to provide a quasi flattop for doing pancakes, it simply moves the bottleneck then to how to produce volume scrambled eggs; hence his thought of doing the scrambled eggs oven style because producing the eggs on the 18 burners would come back full circle to the same 6 teachers with limited skill levels in volume cooking.

The Gordian knot that has been created, is evidently guarded by people impervious to suggestions from people with years of practical professional experience in volume cooking such as @omega50.
 
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