Running a Bananas Foster station for 100...advice?

Joined Mar 16, 2009
This weekend I'm running a Creole Buffet for a local historical society's Mardi Gras celebration. They've decided they want to have Bananas Foster in the dining room, cooked to order for dessert. I was wondering if anyone had advice on the smoothest way to run the line.

I have a large room where everyone will be seated, and a smaller room where I will probably have the buffet line at dinner. I could possibly have two attendants going at once. I'm thinking it might be easier to set up the station in the smaller room, although we lose a bit of the theater if everyone can't see the cooking. Alternately, the dance floor in the larger room is open for use. I'm really eager to make this a success, we haven't had action stations other than carving for years and I'd to use this to persuade my owner to reintroduce them as part of our standard menu. Thanks!
Joined Aug 21, 2004
"although we lose a bit of the theater if everyone can't see the cooking."
You won't really lose any of the theater as everyone will see the flambe when they come through the dessert line. If it were in the big room people would become immune to the effects after the first few anyway. Doing it in the smaller room might actually keep it fresher in people's minds and conversations.
Joined May 5, 2010
For that many I would set up a chaffing dish with the already cooked bananas in the sauce so that people could help themselves.

You would be flaming and cooking to refill the chaffer.

Ice cream could be scooped by a helper.

I would not like to see the guests scoop their own as it makes a big mess....but that's just me...
Joined Jan 15, 2001
I did a bananas foster action station once for about 500. We had one person cutting bananas, one person scooping ice cream, and two people flambe-ing on propane burners. We had the butter and brown sugar melted together in soup terrines so the two could just ladle some for each order. It went very well.

I'm thinking maybe taking Chefross' idea of chaffing dishes, and then just ladling the cooked bananas out for a quick flambé to order. ??

Let us know how it goes!
Joined Aug 11, 2000
Demo on a decorated table in the main dining room...make it a show! will take 10-15 entertaining personality is important.  dim the lights, slice the banana, squeeze the orange, flame the booze and use cinnamon for sparks in the flames....

Serve out of the small room, prescoop ice cream or if you have enough staff serve serve the guests.

Chafers in the small room.

People will talk about the demo for a long's a HUGE marketing tool.
Joined Feb 8, 2009
I always worried about the ice cream being to soft, if it's to soft when the BF goes's soup at the table. I used to pre scoop the ice cream and refreeze in a subzero freezer. I think at the time I was doing a demo Cherries Jubilee and it was easy to drop a small ball of ice cream in a Champagne glass and top with the Cherries.................
Joined Mar 16, 2009
chefbillyb: I've actually tried pre-scooping the ice cream, but I've lost a few batches to an inconsistent freezer and the door being left open (of course, nobody fesses up to that one). The best I can do now is portion it out into a few bowls and just keep small amount on ice in the dining room.

everyone: this is all great advice! I think I'm going to borrow a little bit from everyone in formulating my plan for service. 
Joined Mar 3, 2011
I Nexthave had experience with doing flaming banana's foster for large groups. I have made the caramel from scratch but honestly Mrs. Richardson's caramel ice-cream topping works really well. It does'nt seperate & it's always consistent.  I slice the banana's soak 15 minutes in lemon water. Drain & lightly pat dry so they're not wet.  Warm the caramel in the oven. Have a nice chafing dish or two (depending how many you're serving) warmed & ready to hold the warm caramel sauce. Just before bringing it out gently fold in the banana's.   Have the vanilla bean ice-cream pre-dished & ready in the freezer.              Out front you would have your chafing dish of banana's, a portable propane burner, a 2 oz. ladel & a bottle of southern comfort & a small saucepan. Slightly warm the southern comfort.....VERY IMPORTANT NOT TO OVERHEAT SC OR IT WILL EVAPORATE THE ALCOHOL.  Pour a little warm sc over the foster. Dip up some of the sc with the ladel & light the ladel. Dim the lights.  Slowly pour the flaming ladel into the foster & it will immediatly ignite.

Have the servers ready with their pre dished ice cream,  Have servers approach your station from the side as to not ruin the presentation.

If you are uncomfortable with it , it never hurts to practice before hand. 

Hope this some help to you. Good luck.
Joined Mar 16, 2009
Thanks for all the advice everyone, it was a blast! I took Shroomgirl's advice and made a show of it by dimming the lights and making sparks with the nutmeg and cinnamon. I will try to post some pictures tonight or tomorrow.
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