Display Cooking

Joined Oct 13, 2001
A few weeks ago we celebrated nurses day at my center so I set up a nice buffet in the private dining room with home fries,bacon ,sausage,fruit platters,muffins,danish,and bagels.I set up an omellet station just outside the front door with some portable butane burners and cooked the nurses omellets to order.I only had some very basic fillings,diced ham,onion,bell pepper,sliced mushrooms and cheddar and swiss cheeses.It went over very well as people just seem to love picking there ingredients and watching them cooked in front of them.
So what are your experiences with display cooking and what else can you suggest?if youve had a bad experience please post as well as we can all learn from our misshaps.thanks, Doug...................
Joined Jan 5, 2001
Two years ago I was working at a 4 diamond hotel. We often had to do "display cooking" as you put it, for various events. It was terrible. Ifelt like a bad actress. Having to pretend to cook things that are pre-cooked because butane burners just don't cut it for fast cooking.... The satays come to mind... They were so overdone and dry... I was pushing sauces hoping people wouldn't notice...

My favourite was probably the crepe station. I think we filled them with a cherries jubilee type filling.

The egg/omelet stations were not fun for anybody; they usually meant we were up extra early to prep for them so the crew was usually pretty cranky.... :chef:

Edit: One station that worked pretty well was the risotto station. Just precook rice to almost-done so you can deliver quickly.
Joined Nov 29, 2001
When we left SW Colorado, our loyal patrons begged us to demo our potstickers.

We gave a class (more like I gave a class, my husband doesn't like being in front of an audience - though he is an excellent cook) in the home of a patron. We brought pre-formed potstickers but gave the recipe to the attendees. The filling isn't as much a mystery as the actual technique of cooking them.

The patrons couldn't get their minds wrapped around heating a pan with nothing in it...LOL.

I said, "Get about 1 cup of water ready. Have the pan cover right nearby. Get your pan screaming hot, then add oil. Quickly place the potstickers into the pan and cook 30 seconds to a minute. With the pan lid in your other hand pour in the water, then cover immediately, capturing the steam. Lower the heat very slightly and cook for 9 minutes." It was very dramatic and they really enjoyed it. Whether or not anyone would ever attempt it - couldn't say. I know they enjoyed their lunch that day.


Staff member
Joined Jun 11, 2001
People love it! I used to have a brunch with all kinds of stations. Had the guys make up portable tiki huts for the fish kebab stations, had all kinds of props for the fajitas, sushi etc.

Problem is it takes a lot of labor money. You need a guy there all the time, 8am to 3pm when brunch is over. Let's see, we had Omelet, Sushi, Fajitas, Stir Fry, Carving, Fish Kebabs, and Pasta. What a production. Nine people to feed 200 people every Sunday. Not productive at all.

But people loved it! One of my cooks got a $50 tip once. Imagine that!

(I'm talking too much in past tense. I need to get back in!) :)
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