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cooking in bulk

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I was wondering if anyone can give me any tips on "how to" cook in BULK!!! I am startting a new job where I have to do this and I am not sure it is as easy as I thought! I am use to cooking for 6 and I can do cocktail parties for up to 50! HELP ME!!!
post #2 of 5
the trick is to turn the pans and boilers off early and let things cook in there own heat or add things like pasta directly to the sauce once you have turned the heat off.
post #3 of 5
If it's for a buffet, make the sauces thinner and add extra sauce to starches. +1 on letting things carryover in the pan. Mark/sear meats ahead of time. Getting everything done early that you can that won't degrade in quality. Blanch whatever you can to finish in the oven to save time when you're firing. When making sauces, IE a cream sauce, make a large bechamel batch, then separate it to your different smaller flavored cream sauces.
post #4 of 5
There is a big difference between cooking for six and cooking for more than 100. But you can do it! If you've done cocktail parties for 50, then you know about getting everything ready beforehand.

That is key, in my book. Prep, prep, prep. Minimize what you must do at the last minute. Organize too---make lists. Label stuff with the date it was made. I find masking tape and a Sharpie is good.

It's tricky to get used to the huge quantities and large scale of the equipment. You'll have to adapt; it's one thing to whip up a batch of a cup of bleu cheese dressing in a bowl, and another to make a gallon. That involves the big honking KitchenAid mixer.

Hotel pans and the rolling racks to hold them are a great invention for bulk cooking. Make use of them!

One of the hardest things for me personally to cope with when I am thrust into a big foodmaking situation is being able to recognize the ingredients when I need to find them. How was I supposed to know that the flour is in that aluminum garbage can? I'm used to seeing it in 5 lb bags in my right hand kitchen cabinet!

If you lend more info, I can give you more tips. Are you the only cook, or is it a whole staffed kitchen? Restaurant or more institutional? (Nursing home, school) Breakfast, lunch or dinner?
post #5 of 5
Things take longer in bulk.

Even with professional power stoves, you have to account for a much longer time for a giant pot of water to come to a boil than your home one.

Also, with proportionally less surface area, it will take longer for sauces to reduce, especially if you doing something like glazing carrots.

I agree, most wholeheartedly, with the advise about lists. Be fanatical! Write out your recipes, especially the ones you know by heart. Have them all ready. From them, make your list of ingredients. Double check which ones you have in stock and which ones you need to buy. Analyze your recipes for each and every step that you can do ahead of time. I like to make an Excel spreadsheet showing what I (& my staff - if any) will be doing hour by hour (or in smaller increments) up to service time for each course. Having your recipes in hand is critical for this step.

During cooking, make fanatical use of your Excel prep spreadsheet, marking off each task. As the pressure of production rises, it's not at all uncommon for entire dishes to be "forgotten." Take deep breaths and go by the list!
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