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continental breakfast catering gig

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hi all,

I apologize in advance if this sounds like a newbie question.

I'm doing a continental breakfast in April for about 70 people (walk ins). I want to do a bunch of pastries, muffins, brioches, maybe bagels, and a few cold foods. I want to bake them off as late as possible, as well as during service so the food comes out hot.

How feasible is this? Any advice on how to get the food out constantly, and hot? I asked a friend, and he told me about parbaking, but I've never tried that before. Will hot boxes dry out the products? Or should I just toast everything in the oven for a few minutes?

I'm trying to plan this out so I can get as much sleep as possible.

post #2 of 8
The bagels you could do the boiling phase a little in advance, then do the baking closer to the time of your event or at the event just before serving.

I will confess up front that I am an anti-parbaking snob. Personally I taste the difference in the off taste you get in the yeast, but then again, I'd probably be the only one in that room that would notice that (I'm finding more supermarket bakeries are even doing the frozen parbaked bread as "artisan bread" which taste godawful to me but everyone loves it:crazy:). I definitely would NOT parbake the brioche, you will spoil their delicious sweetish gentle taste with a sourness from not baking out the yeast in full in one go, IMO.

For muffins, you should be able to find a long holding batter recipe. I used to use one many years ago that was from the Olympic Skier Steve Podborski's mother that was full of whole grains, and according to her kept for a month in the fridge. I wouldn't push that for food safety, but you could for sure find a batter that could be prepared the day before and baked that morning. I've made my own cornbread dry mix, then just added wet at last minute too.

I find people really appreciate fresh fruit at continental breakfasts, if they're eating sort of standing up and on the go for a business meeting sort of thing, grapes seem to work well. Then the "Dutch" type of breakfast things, like sliced cheeses and a nicely chosen quality sliced dry ham or something. I think people appreciate something a little less sugary. For juices in addition to the fresh OJ, I like to put an interesting mixed juice out, just to take it up a notch. So something say with blood oranges added, or a mango something blend, a berry combination type of juice. (I have a couple juicers and have made these myself). An elegant label is a good idea as it's not as recognizable as the standards.

Good luck, let us know how it went and what you did.
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks for you advice. I really like the mixed juice idea: it'll definitely be a welcome change to typical breakfasts. And, of course, I'll let you all know how the event goes.
post #4 of 8
Kevin, I see you're a student. Is this gig an "impress the teachers" part of your studies, or is it a paid gig on the side you're doing to make money?

Glad I mentioned the juice because I was thinking maybe I shouldn't get into that, too off topic. You can just squeeze up an ingredient or two and add it to a juice you purchase, eg buy "fresh squeeze" Tropicana and add some blood oranges you press yourself. Juice cranberries or other berries yourself and add them to a juice. Depending on where you are, apple cider may be in season and local. I'm scared to serve unpasteurized at an event, but you could also do something with fresh pressed apple cider, hopefully pasteurized or I've seen it UV sterilized too. You could mull it, you could add fresh pressed cranberry, or keep it classic and plain.
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
It's part of a conference my school puts on every year. It's organized by a club, so it's not required by my studies, and I'm not getting paid do to this.

The apple cider does sound like a good idea, since there are plenty of apply orchards in the area. But I always thought pasteurizing affected the taste, and I'm pretty sure I don't have the equipment to UV pasteurize anything. Although the engineering school might have one. I could ask.

Right now, I'm leaning towards a Latin-influenced breakfast. Pan dulces, champurrado, pastries with guava or mango, maybe dulce de leche crepes (I don't know how well crepes will hold, or if I can get a crepe machine).

For savory dishes, I'm thinking about doing a cornbread muffin with cheese and jalapenos. I also still want to do a cured meats and cheeses display, even though I can't think of any cured meats or cheeses from Latin America that're available here. Also, my supervisors are making my event a little bigger, so they're letting me do a few hot foods. I'm thinking of huevos rancheros or breakfast burritos/quesadillas.
post #6 of 8
Kevin, sounds like you're doing a great job.

[QUOTEBut I always thought pasteurizing affected the taste, and I'm pretty sure I don't have the equipment to UV pasteurize anything][/QUOTE]

It comes from some apple farms like that, raw and already UV sterilized. This seems to be a new development this year in my area. I have seen it at farms in Maine and Massachusetts, and I just bought some at my local farm stand this morning. Now I bought one with wild blueberries added, they had plain, apple and raspberry and apple and blueberry. I tasted the raspberry at the stand and bought the blueberry, but the raspberry was actually a little more exciting in flavor, though I guess the plain is a classic too.

I like to cut fresh corn off the cob into corn muffins like the ones you discussed. We actually still have sweet corn locally due to the warmed climate, that's why I stopped at the farm stand. If you want to consider this, maybe as a burrito stuffing, I make an omelette where I saute onions well, then add a little sweet red or orange pepper and fresh hot pepper and cut fresh corn off the cob and tomatoes (only if they're local and good), add a decent quantity of chili powder to taste, sea salt, pepper and beaten eggs, and set in the pan in a low-ish oven. It's quite yummy and simple and has a nice "Mexican" influence. You can even put a little fresh cilantro.
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
Sounds delicious. I was thinking about doing something like that, but to scrambled eggs. I don't think an omelette would hold well in a chafing dish.
post #8 of 8
yeah, I wasn't picturing you holding it as a perfect omelette or anything, I even pictured you stuffing it into your breakfast burrito.

On the juice I was thinking with your theme a mango blend might be nice, and there are some handy ones at Costco last time I was there.
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