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Feed Town of Erie Colorado, 1600 people

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
We were asked to feed the town of Erie, Colorado. This was a large event as we expected 1200 to 1800 attendees. Two hard things, the whole town was invited, but who would come? And the park has no water this time of the year. The second was easy to solve as we have self contained water with hot water heaters. The first? That was a little problematic as we have to cook to cover it all.......
And so we find ourselves at the normal first stop of any catering! The fueling station, Zane is hauling the supply trailer and I am hauling the newly received Southern Pride Cooker, this is a 1000 model which we added to our line up next to the 750 model we have owned for several years.
We have already both worked a full day, it is 8 PM and Erie is about 300 miles north east. We will be there and we will wow them. Along for the ride our helping hand, Calvin... no pics of Calvin but he is a typical high school student.






We drive through the night and arrive in Longmont Colorado at the hotel. Check in and drop to sleep immediately. 5:30 AM comes early and we are up and around, a quick stop for breakfast and then the work begins. To give you an idea of the event staff:

Food......Zane, Bob and Calvin Tents and site set up.... Don and his crew of six hands...... serving staff will be the CSU band doing it for a fund raiser. About 16 young adults... two of which have worked for Zane and I since they were in High School. A long run of pictures here as the set up is explained best in pictures. The kitchen and prep tents are first as Beef Brisket, Pulled pork and smoke sausage served with Slaw, Fruit salad, and potato salad all take time to prep for 1800 people.







The crew starts to set the site for the party.... we need our kitchen and prep tents up first so we can get started when the food arrives. So they start to hammer out the area by laying the framing for the tents in the areas they will be erected. As the time goes by the place gets to looking like an event will happen. We begin positioning equipment in its final spot for the next days event. It will take all of Friday to prep and cook the foods.









The weather was fantastic and stayed that way for the entire weekend. That was really great... a problem with the Sysco truck. Suppose to be on location at 9 AM.... 10:30 AM no truck... fire up the phones, heads are gonna roll!





This kind of work has the crews hungry, I have been working on getting lunch ready as we work on locating our Sysco truck. I have worked many time with Florian Wehrli of Chefs Basket....I know he uses Sysco regularly as we do, but he uses this Sysco House out of Denver, we are normally serviced out of Salt Lake City. I place a call to Chef Florian and ask if he can get his rep to help us out. "Any thing you need Bob" as I expected the answer would be.. I love that guy! I continue on with my lunch making for the crew... Zane continues to find butts to chew about the missing grocery truck.
Nothing fancy for the crew, just working food!!! Polish Sausage, rolls, baked beans and Kraut! Plus chips and gatorade.





With lunch over I would see the crew again at 7 PM to feed them New York Strip Steak, but I was to tired to take pics of that part of it. Sorry.
At last my grocery truck! I know you are all wondering... what about refrigeration for the food? The beauty of order this much food from one vendor is:


They leave the reefer trailer for you to work out of during the event.


And so I now have a walk-in and a nice place to prep the cold stuffs.


So I get to it and set up my prep station for making the salads. Sanitize the prep table and sharpen my knives... lets start to turn food into money!



I sell a lot of salads, they are labor intensive to build from scratch, but with three people on food we are already over staffed compared to some of the things Zane and I have pulled off. Hand cut and hand plucked.



I put together several tubs of potato salad as well, but I bring in Sysco tater salad and just add pepper and smoked paprika to save time. So no pictures of that assembly.
We are at the time when we must prep the meat and fill the cooker....... this will take us through to about 11 PM we will get the beans and sausage in the morning along with the Slaw build. The Sysco trailer was holding a great 36 degrees F for me..... I was about half frozen and ready to get out and be in the sun. I don't really ***** about the prep in the trailer, it has to be done and bitchin' don't get it closer to done!




And as the meat will cook through the night we must return at 5 AM to tend to the meat and get the beans started as well as the rest of the set up complete for an 11 AM feed.
Very very early start:

Being in a remote location does not exempt us from food safety so we continue to run the sanitizing procedures as required!




The Finish will be tomorrows blog!
Chef Bob Ballantyne
The Cowboy and The Rose Catering
Grand Junction, Colorado, USA
I am a reduction of my youthful mistakes mixed with the roux of a few adult successes
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I am a reduction of my youthful mistakes mixed with the roux of a few adult successes
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post #2 of 9
Wow! Pretty impressive. Would you mind letting us in on what you charged for the fundraiser? Normally school fundraisers are low budget events, but you've got out of town staff, tents, etc.

Bet Sysco's ears were burning.....nothing like backing everything up several hours, makes for a very long, stressful day.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Yep Sysco's ears were on fire.... but we had the rep out and will continue to train him.

It is common when we have to use a different house.. reps think of catering as another resto... which is wrong... I think the rep understands our operation now and knows why my trucks must be on time.

The event charge was around 70,000.00 dollars.
I am a reduction of my youthful mistakes mixed with the roux of a few adult successes
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I am a reduction of my youthful mistakes mixed with the roux of a few adult successes
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post #4 of 9
As a fundraiser for HS? $35pp your cost + their kids as backup staff.
I'm in the wrong area of the country......first thought was how does this work on $12pp. It makes more sense now.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
It was not a fund raiser for a high school. My service staff was paid by me as a fund raiser for their college band.

It was an appreciation barbeque for the town of Erie. We actually do a lot of these all over the state.
I am a reduction of my youthful mistakes mixed with the roux of a few adult successes
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I am a reduction of my youthful mistakes mixed with the roux of a few adult successes
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post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
I don't even start the fire burning for less than $18.50 per person with a 50 person minimum. Got tired of working for nothing about 10 years ago. Never looked back.
I am a reduction of my youthful mistakes mixed with the roux of a few adult successes
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I am a reduction of my youthful mistakes mixed with the roux of a few adult successes
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post #7 of 9
Love the volume, the equipment and most of all the ORGANIZATION. this is the most important part, and at the end its rewarding to see it all come together. To feed that many you have to know your onions. Good Job
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post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
The conclusion has been posted.....

On this thread
I am a reduction of my youthful mistakes mixed with the roux of a few adult successes
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I am a reduction of my youthful mistakes mixed with the roux of a few adult successes
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post #9 of 9

two of which have worked

Zane, Bob and Calvin Tents and site set up.... Don and his crew of six hands...... serving staff will be the CSU band doing it for a fund raiser. About 16 young adults... two of which have worked for Zane and I since they were in High School. A long run of pictures here as the set up is explained best in pictures. The kitchen and prep tents are first as Beef Brisket, Pulled pork and smoke sausage served with Slaw, Fruit salad, and potato salad all take time to prep for 1800 people.
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