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Plating Hot Foods

Catering_Chef's picture

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I need suggestions for plating 40-50 covers attractively in a very short period of time. The meal is tenderloin
sliced with sauce, baby potatoes and grilled vegetables. When I am doing a few 8-10 plates only at a time I am just fine but when I know I have to get 40+ plates out and delivered hot it makes me crazy and I lose all my creative skills. I will have one other chef plating with me and two servers. I don't know if anyone can help me but it is a real lack of confidence everytime. It also doesn't help that I am an anal perfectionist. I need something simple and elegant. TIA.

Gerard's picture

(post #25909, reply #1 of 7)

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I've done banquets of 3-400 covers, one thing we tried to stay away from was anything that can roll around (spuds/Brussel sprouts).
4-5 platers can whack out hundreds of plates in minutes, have plenty of chopped parsely ready, it covers everything, large sprigs of watercress add structure to the assembly.
Forget perfection, just make it look professional and tasty.

Cheers, Gerard

Nice_Chef's picture

(post #25909, reply #2 of 7)

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Cut the baby reds in half so they can sit flat the plate. Centering the reds,shingle the sliced tenderloin slightly on the potatoes. On the back side place the roasted vegetables, garnish with a generous sprinkle of parsley. The two of you will be hopping for a few, but it should work.

dibble's picture

(post #25909, reply #3 of 7)

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I have used flower petals. Rose for white sauce mums or other white flower for dark sauce. Sprinkle on as the plate leaves the preperation area for fresh look. Good Luck.

aussiechef's picture

(post #25909, reply #4 of 7)

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Tips learned from helping out at charity dinners etc (but I'm not a catering chef- don't know how you people keep sane):
* You're ahead of the game if you use hot plates to begin with
* anytime you can use grilled tomatoes (they have to be
i really
hot), do - they have an amazing capacity to retain heat
* have servers strictly serve from the left. When it's haphazard you lose valuable seconds as guests dodge and wriggle wondering from which direction their food arrives. This is also where plates go crashing...
* keep some food back for the complainers who find an eyelash on their potato.

It sounds delicious - good luck.

Chiffonade_'s picture

(post #25909, reply #5 of 7)

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If you have plate warming facilities, get the plates as hot as you can without burning the hands of the poor servers.

The tenderloin can be sliced and laid on the north edge of the plate with the sauce spooned on the inside edge of the meat. The potatoes can be placed in the center of the plate with the grilled veggies on the south edge of the plate. In the event a plate has to be tilted, it should be tilted in the direction of the tenderloin. If the sauce is placed on the inside edge of the tenderloin, you have little chance of spillage, and if the potatoes are kept round, they will not fall of the plate. The parsley barricades sound good too. And cutting the potatoes will help if that is feasible, depending on your prep setup.

Good luck and let us know how it turns out!

Catering_Chef's picture

(post #25909, reply #6 of 7)

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Thanks for the suggestions re plating. I feel better already. I have a function Friday next the 2lst for 30 people and then the end of June for 40. Both of them being held at a beautiful fishing lodge out in the country. The problem is space. Anyway, I will be able to keep my plates warm so that will help. I also may take along some chafing dishes for veg and potatoes as I only
have one oven for finishing off meat portion. The first group is a very high end company board of directors and the second are total wine snobs - both groups are used to eating VERY well. I can only do my best and pray. Thanks again for your help and I will report on results. I have not forgotten that I promised someone the Xmas Cake Recipe and will dig it out asap.

Geeves's picture

(post #25909, reply #7 of 7)

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Hello! Warm plates are great, be innovative. (Or chilling them as appropriate--much easier.) I would utilize covers--they are simply necessary particulary for long hauls, plus you can load more on your trays by stacking (Keeps warm!). [I have found when serving *different* dishes or have a special request, the server can simply load their tray (double and triple up) in the order the food will be served around the table. Try it!

I always think of the fireman's line for any big job. You know--when they hand the buckets of water down the line... If you are fortunate to have helpers (include servers)--set up a food line appropriately --thoughtfully, having your trays lined up on tray stands at the end of your line.

Prioritizing least important to most important, each helper dishes an item of food out, and passes plate down line, (your servers first placing garnish + veg) with YOU at the end, placing the beef, overseeing each plate, covering and setting on tray. Load 'em up and get 'em out! Bonne Chance and REM: Necessity is the mother of invention.