serving a hungry crowd

Joined Nov 20, 2015
Hello everyone. I would really apreciate some feedback from you all. I've searched high and low on the internet and failed to find the answer. I am hosting a dinner for 14 I really need some practical advice on how to plate and serve to all at the same time
How do you plate quickly so that the food doesn't get cold - is there a system professionals use and if so could someone please enlighten me with some tips and tricks. I'm serving a 14 course dinner and any help would be greatly apreciated.
Joined Aug 21, 2004
The way I read your post, you are serving a 14 course meal to 14 people. Is this correct? Is money exchanging hands? What is the location/facility of the dinner?
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Joined Nov 20, 2015
Yup. 14 people and 14 courses. But each person gets 14 courses (hadn't noticed that number connection earlier). It's a family dinner out in a low amenities cabin with contemporary plating
Joined Jul 28, 2001
I have to ask. 14 courses? Contemporary plating? Can you tell us what your serving for each course. 

I don't think I would even try. Heck, I don't have 196 plates. I wouldn't need help from another chef, I would need a magician. You're a brave soul..
Joined Sep 5, 2012
14 courses is 3 more courses that I've had at any 3 stared restaurant. What are you serving?
Joined Nov 20, 2015
I've done it before with 9 courses for the same number of people, the only thing is getting the stuff plated more efficient. I read somewhere if you put the dishes in the dry cycle in the dishwasher they get warm enough. Anyone ever tried it?


Staff member
Joined Jun 11, 2001
Without knowing exactly what you are doing it's hard to tell.  But you can put the plates in the oven and preheat them, they will stay hot for a good 15 minutes.

You can also pre-plate some things.  If you are doing a composed salad, you can have some items on the plate way before.  All you need to do is dress the lettuce.

Same with crudo, ceviche, tartare.

Sauces in squeeze bottles, not ladled.

Same with gastriques.

Keep your proteins warm in a perforated pan inside another pan on top of the oven.

Make four stacks of plates so you plate four at a time and run four at a time.

That's all I have at the moment.
Joined Aug 21, 2004
Warm your plates in the oven and then place in an ice chest that you pre-warmed with hot water.
Joined Sep 5, 2008
I really need some practical advice on how to plate and serve to all at the same time
How many people do you have to help with plating? How many servers? 

You also have to consider the number of motions necessary to plate each plate. For example, some plates may have one protein, one sauce and one veggie. That's 3 motions. Another one may have two pieces of protein stacked on top of each other, a sauce on the plate, a flavored oil around the plate, a quenelle of something, a scoop of something else, some other thing layed out around the plate, a garnish on top of the protein and another sauce drizzled on top. That would be nine motions. The more motions the more time and/or people you need to help with plating. 

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