Logistic Recommendation

6
10
Joined May 16, 2017
Hello,
I am an off-site caterer who will be serving 200 guests and I have a dilemma with transporting food from the kitchen to the venue. The wedding starts at 7P, appetizers at church prior to reception at venue (everyone not invited to the reception) I figure about 1-1 1/2 hours before guests arrive at venue from start of wedding. The venue is about 35-40 minutes from the church. My biggest concern is temperature control. How do I keep the integrity of the food for this period of time? Is it better to cook and cool food at kitchen, transport cold and heat at venue? The venue does not have commercial kitch so I would have to heat food in regular mircowaves. Or cook at kitchen and try to transport in time to serve hot at venue?

The menu is:
Harvest Salad
Bruschetta Stuffed Chicken
Baked Salmon
Mashed Potatoes
Fresh Green Beans

What is your recommendation for keeping food hot and not dry out?

Thank you.
 
6
10
Joined May 16, 2017
What are the apps? What is your staffing? What is your vehicle pool?
Apps as in appetizer? - none, apps as in software, same, none.
Staffing - 5 to 7 platers, 3 to 4 cooks/assistants
Vehicles - 12' truck and SUV

More help, vehicles needed?
 
15
13
Joined Feb 8, 2017
Cambro Food Carriers are your friend. Period.

The main difference between a Restaurant and a Caterer is that a Restaurant kitchen prepares plates to be served, a Caterer prepares food that WILL BE put on plates. A Food carrier holds temp for 4-6 hours (hot or cold). BUT and this is a big butt (insert Beavis and Butthead laugh cause I said big butt)... The food will CONTINUE TO COOK in the Cambro so your chef needs to understand exactly how long it's going to remain in the box. Other considerations are how the 2" and 4" hotel pans are covered. There are shrink-wraps or just parchment and foil. If it's a buffet, garnishes happen when it goes out to the buffet.

Also, keep in mind if buffet, you are putting food into chafing pans with a flame underneath, so there is the potential for more cooking to happen if they stay there too long before the buffet starts.

FWIW, the menu and timeline you mentioned above is what we do all the time. The UPC400110 and UPCH400110 are our bread and butter. The "H" model has a warmer in it. We do several drop-off deliveries each week for one client that requires the food to be kept hot for two to three hours before served or staggered serving. Between that and delivery time, we leave the heated boxes with them and pick them up later but for 99% of our work, the regular boxes are just fine.

If you are using one for cold food, we load it in the walk-in and leave come down to temp there. If it's an outdoor gig, we either freeze a 2" pan of water and put it in, or... if space is an issue, get a little bit of Dry Ice and put it in. If you use dry ice be careful not just because, it's dry ice, but I was doing an outdoor pizza oven in the heat and put a small chunk of dry ice in my box with the cheese, and other toppings. Pretty much froze everything in the box and it was just a little chunk of ice. Luckily I had another container, so I just took the dry ice out and stored it while the temp came up to cold... then put the dry ice in for an hour, then took it out for a couple of hours... Not real scientific... but it worked. Just kept checking the temp.

Regarding HOT food... as it is a closed space... insulated... putting hot food in causes the air to expand and kinda act like a pressure cooker. I have put Hamburgers off the grill in a 110 and 15 minutes later that are 140+ This will happen expecially if the box is full and there isn't much air to expand. They do have vents thankfully.
 
4,769
1,019
Joined Aug 21, 2004
Cook at your kitchen, transport in hotel pans covered with cellophane and aluminum foil in pre-warmed cambro carriers to the venue.
 
6
10
Joined May 16, 2017
Just so I'm clear, you are saying cook/deliver food close to serving time (no cool down and reheat) so it is hot & fresh when delivered at the venue. Did I understand you correctly?
 
6
10
Joined May 16, 2017
Just so I'm clear, you are saying cook/deliver food close to serving time (no cool down and reheat) so it is hot & fresh when delivered at the venue. Did I understand you correctly?
Followup question, would you recommend undercooking the protein so it doesn't dry out during transport and hold times so it will withstand the long wait until serving without drying out?
 
15
13
Joined Feb 8, 2017
Just so I'm clear, you are saying cook/deliver food close to serving time (no cool down and reheat) so it is hot & fresh when delivered at the venue. Did I understand you correctly?
Within reason, but yeah. We usually get there about 1.5-2 hours ahead of service.


Followup question, would you recommend undercooking the protein so it doesn't dry out during transport and hold times so it will withstand the long wait until serving without drying out?
Depending on the protein and the time, yeah. Some things can be finished and just held at temp, other things like Potatoes if they go just before they are done, they will be done when you get there. I'm sure someone may have actual data. My chef does it second nature she's been doing it so long.
 
4,769
1,019
Joined Aug 21, 2004
Followup question, would you recommend undercooking the protein so it doesn't dry out during transport and hold times so it will withstand the long wait until serving without drying out?
I wold cook the proteins on sheet pans as if I was dong a plate up. Pull out of ovens, into a speed rack. Scant bit of liquid in bottom of hotel pans (not quite enough to even cover the bottom of the pan because the proteins once added will raise the liquid level). Add the proteins, cellophane, foil, cambro.
 
5,192
296
Joined Jul 28, 2001
"Followup question, would you recommend undercooking the protein so it doesn't dry out during transport and hold times so it will withstand the long wait until serving without drying out?"

Please understand, I'm not trying to be an ass, rude or unkind. You are doing off site catering. Serving 200 pp. I'm assuming you are a professional.
Is your follow up question about under cooking proteins and long wait a real question?
With my States requirements (within the US) regarding safe food handling, my pot washer or delivery driver can answer that question.
 

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