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Panic attack...

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Really, just the beginnings of one, but I can feel it coming.

I have a wedding on Saturday night. It's not far from my shop, but up a dirt road about 5 miles so transportation is sort of an issue since it takes quite awhile to get there and the road is a mess. The wedding is formal and is going to be held in a field at an Inn with the Inn's kitchen about 100 yards away. I can probably have use of the oven there, but I really don't want to impose since it's going to be hot. Anyway...

One of the menu choices changed from a stuffed chicken breast to roasted salmon. I make salmon all the time at home, so I thought it was no big deal. Now I'm rethinking. Actually, here's where the panic comes in. If I roast 6oz pieces of salmon at the shop, transfer it to the cambro and let it sit for more than an hour, it's going to steam until it's mush,won't it?

Maybe I can roast it the morning of, chill it, and serve it cool. Maybe with a creamy dill sauce?

What do you think? I'm not screwed, am I? please say no....:(

As an aside, the mother of the bride called me yesterday and asked if I knew anyone who can sew since she didn't get the maid of honor's dress finished. And...the baker called to tell me that she hasn't actually SEEN the colors yet, so is in limbo as to what shades of the colors to use on the cake. One of us is going to the florist today and getting a couple of their flowers.

Now it's a panic attack.
post #2 of 14
Thread Starter 
What about if I roast it the morning of, chill it, but move it to a chafer to reheat?
post #3 of 14
Hello lentil....I roast salmon all the time for events and use the cambro..I open the little vent on the door and that's about it. I've never had a problem with it being mushy. I always undercook mine since the heat tends to cook it a bit more in the cambro. This has been my experience. Good luck!!
post #4 of 14
mark em, sheet em, fire em at the site.
post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
Sounds good, but I don't have any way to fire them on site.:cry:

My salesman told me to sear them and hold them in the cambro. He said they'd be fine. Dinner is at 8, so they have to be held for at least 2 hours. I am screwed, aren't I?
post #6 of 14

Yes, use their oven if you can...

Kitchens are basically hot anyway, right? ;) (we're at over 115 so consider yourself lucky!)

I kind of missed it (I think...my brain is mush...you DID mention steaming, right?) but how many guests are their going to be?

In any event, fish bakes fairly quickly. I could never personally get my head around the 'rare' thing, but that makes it even easier. Bake it to rare and let residual heat finish it in the chafers.

I wouldn't serve cold salmon unless I ran it by the check signers first. <grin> Although in this heat it sounds a whole hecka lot better than warm...

People are odd though. I know someone who will go to Palm Springs in the Summer, sit in a hot tub and drink hot coffee while reading the morning paper...go figure.

Also, are you pretty much the 'wedding planner' as well? Hmmmm...I'm surprised that the hosts aren't communicating with the baker.

In any event, just take a step back and remember to breathe.

You'll be fine.

April
post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks, Capers, I'll do that. I'm going to the site tomorrow to get all the logistics. Since my shop isn't far away, I think I can work it out so someone can stay behind and cook off the mains. The problem is that we're off in a field, and once the guests arrive, it may be hard to get down there. We'll see.

April, I'm not a wedding planner. I was thinking of expanding my business to include planning, but I would have to have someone else to fill that role because I DO NOT have the personality to deal with the minutia. I suggested that this gang get a planner after I realized that they were using me to do it for them and all for the cost of the catering. I spoke to the planner the other day and she said, "I HATE these people!" The bride stopped in yesterday with her bridesmaids and had to hurry off as they were going shopping to find a dress for one of them. Did I mention the wedding is on Saturday? Working in various restaurants, I've always had a problem with people who have no sense of urgency. These people win the prize on that one!

And, no. There is no communication. The cake person and I are friends, so we pass info back and forth regularly, and one of us passes it on to the planner or visa versa. The MOB just calls one of us out of the blue to give us an important piece of info- it doesn't matter which one she calls, but God forbid we don't pass the info along to the right person. It's comical to watch. Saturday will be fine and even fun. And it will all be over soon.
post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 

Cold Salmon HA HA!

MOB just called and I told her how hot it's supposed to be and suggested a chilled salmon with dilled tartar sauce. She loved the idea.

Now if I can remember to check my caller ID so she can't call me and change her mind again.....
post #9 of 14

Ahh catering bliss

This post is to share my own reflection, not to offer suggestions, since it seems obvious to me your answer will be to serve chilled salmon, or use the oven on site, or par-cook them and let them finish up on the way. I'm sure it will go off without a hitch.:cool:
I've been in the catering world in all it's aspects way, way, way too long, and it's usually the same situation: the sense of urgency turns into stressfull panic as the little pieces that have not been attended to are finally incorporated into the final go. Sometimes it is fun, and I think it should be fun every time, but sometimes we work with people with whom we do not click or do not handle pressure well, or are out to find fault and blame someone for something. :mad:
Most of the stress comes from the subconcious knowledge of what is riding on the event. A wedding is a unique and oh-so-special moment in the lives of the families and guests. What I cannot relate to is when the stress element is even worse for corporate gigs. I guess I am just not built that way.
In the heat of the mix, I endeavor to be the guy who will jump in and help out however, takes everyone's two cents with a grain of salt, and smiles coolly while others are scowling, mumbling or hollering. Not in a condescending way, but in an 'I've got rubber skin" and "Failure to plan on your part does not automatically constitute panic on myt part" sort of way. Also, I have learned that some language choices help to keep people calm and focused. Sometimes faster is slower, when people in a rush drop stuff, or when moody people walk away from their post.
It's important to remember that in catering we, as culinary professionals, are working with people who are NOT professionals, at least not in the ways we are, whatever their field may be. It is as important to be able to communicate our craft as it is to be able to perform it. After all, we are not cooking food to feed ourselves. Poor people skills are the number one weakness among kitchen professionals. That is often why they are in the back of the house in the first place.
I have a great job following a completely new business model. I connect home cooks, most of whom are admittedly amateurs regarding cuisine, to the benefits of my years of professional culinary experience. I tell them about techniques and give them secrets, help them understand principles, and hold their hand while they attempt to accomplish something in the kitchen that is just a little intimidating for them. They are grateful, gracious learners, and their attitudes about cooking are refreshing. I wish more cooking pros enjoyed cooking as much as most of my clients do. After all, what is the point if you don't enjoy it, really?
Anyway, I really hope your wedding is a smash. Have fun. I love weddings.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" -Winston Churchill
O}}^~.ChefsLineAdam.~^{{O
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O}}^~.ChefsLineAdam.~^{{O
Reply
post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
From your lips to God's ears, Adam! Thanks!

I appreciate your insight and when I read your post, I felt a little calmer about today. It is a big day for the participants, but in reality, it's just another day for me with a few hitches thrown in for good measure. There are aspects of the planning that I'm still not sure of, and will ultimately cost me money in staff. The alternative would have been to put too much pressure on these folks, and to be honest, I think they were doing all they could possibly handle. There is a wedding planner on board, but she came late to the show and hasn't communicated well with me or the baker. Consequently I feel there are some gaps, but they always get filled in, and you're exactly right; it doesn't mean we have to panic about it. I always remember some famous person's saying that a good hostess is like a duck on water- calm on the surface and paddling like **** underneath.

Got to run. Found out last night that the bartenders aren't bringing their own ice and I have to pick up 300# at Sam's as well as the Triple sec for the Sangria that the MOB forgot.:lol: I may add a little of it to some tequila and liime and have a margarita when it's all over.
post #11 of 14
Might we ask how this all turned out??

And the plural is Margaritas... :)
I might be suffering from CDO.
It is just like OCD, except the letters are in alphabetical order.
Just as they should be...
Reply
I might be suffering from CDO.
It is just like OCD, except the letters are in alphabetical order.
Just as they should be...
Reply
post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks for asking, DMT. I'm not at all happy with how it all turned out. The food was just okay in my opinion, and the wedding had to be moved inside the tent because of rain. After all the work setting things up and making it look beautiful, I hate it when half the siilverware is used for the apps, napkins get unfolded, the tables get undone. The worst part is when the planner comes into the prep tent and says we have to move things up because people are getting restless being in the tent. Dinner was served a full 45 minutes early than planned.

Everything was fine, but not my best wedding to date.

...and I forgot to get the margaritas:mad: Besides it was so darned hot that ice water was the drink of the day.
post #13 of 14
Sorry to hear it sort of unravelled on you...

Next one will undoubtably be a vast improvement!!

"Restless in the tent"... Priceless... Where's Eddie Scholovitz the Polka King when you need him???
I might be suffering from CDO.
It is just like OCD, except the letters are in alphabetical order.
Just as they should be...
Reply
I might be suffering from CDO.
It is just like OCD, except the letters are in alphabetical order.
Just as they should be...
Reply
post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 
That wedding has bugged me all week; thinking about how I should have done it differently, how the food could have been improved- the service, whether or not fervent prayer could have changed the hot, humid weather....;)

Just when I was at my lowest point, I got a note from the mom of the bride. She said the wedding was everything her daughter had wanted. The food was wonderful and she was sorry she didn't have time to talk personally with me during the reception.

Whew! I know it's too much to ask to have every client be 100% satisfied, but up until this wedding, I hadn't had anyone complain about anything. I knew my run of good luck was going to end sometime, but didn't want it to end with my biggest and most complicated catering job to date. It would have really shaken my confidence.
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