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Holding baked chicken & pasta

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
We're catering a open house this weekend. The client has requested baked chicken (mix of white and dark on the bone) and plain pasta w/sauce on the side. The food will be sitting for 4 hours not including the 1 hour to transport it to the client's home. Planning on using chafers at the client's home and keeping remaining chicken warm in their oven.
Ditto for the pasta. Has anyone kept chicken and/or plain pasta warm for 4 hours? I'm going to test this at home but I would be greatful for any advice.

Tks in advance.
post #2 of 4
Reheat in batches, as needed, no need to keep it all hot all the time, that way nothing is kept reheated for 4 hours
post #3 of 4
There are few worse choices for holding than white meat chicken and plain pasta. Heck, most people overcook white meat to begin with. In any case, reheated dark meat cannot be held for long, and reheated white meat can barely be held at all. Your best bet, is to hold the chicken well covered in a Cres-cor or a cooler prepped for holding hot. Next best, is to transport the chicken in covered hotel or disposable pans and simply hold them at room temperature. In either case, add to the chafers as needed. Finally, if the chicken must be served "hot," and you don't have hot-transport equipment, reheat only to the lowest serving temperature you can get away with (just above room temp, say 110 degF, and then only as needed). It's suicide to try and hold chicken in the oven. Unless, that is, you're catering a party for people who find the slogan, "Now with extra stick-to-your-teeth goodness" appetizing.

It's embarrassing to admit it, but the best results I've had reheating chicken have been with the microwave, at reduced power, with several warming and resting cycles.

Pasta should seldom be served plain -- even if plated with sauce on top. Saucing is usually the last part of the cooking process -- both for the sauce and the pasta. Assuming you cannot talk your client into allowing you to cook the noodles on site; or to allow you to at least lightly sauce the pasta before transport, there is no good way. You'll have to choose from a very narrow range of bad options. Not good, but best is to oil very generously with extra virgin olive oil immediately after cooking, and reheat in the microwave. If you must hold in a hotel or disposable pan, you're pretty much screwed. Not to put too fine a point on it.

I don't know the client, and whether or not it's possible to tell her, even very diplomatically, that her choices are not good, or talk her into better ones. You simply cannot guarantee success with hers.

Lots of luck,
post #4 of 4
Why not do it the old restaurant way by dipping the cooked pasta in boiling water for a minute to reheat? I have no ideas for the cooked chicken, other than to try to convince her to do something else. How about chicken served cold with a pasta salad?

I'm wondering why she'd want to serve chicken and pasta at an open house in the summer anyway. There are so many more exciting choices.:confused:
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