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Need help keeping pasta warm for event

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hello.. This is my first time posting but I have used this forum as a helpful resource for previous occassions. I am providing three pasta dishes for a friend this weekend. The event is for 50 people. The dishes will accompany other dishes. I live 5 min away from the location. The event will be for 5 hrs. My question is how do I keep the pasta warm and from drying out for the entire time? I plan to use the cheffing dishes that you can get from Costco. Should I purchase a certain type of cheffing dish brand to prevent the food from drying out? Also what type of dishes will hold its taste and form for that period of time? Finally, if I am serving these dishes as sides, what is the amount of pasta and sauce I should prepare for this crowd? Here is the menu I put together. I welcome your suggestions. Thanks in advance.

Penne pasta with diced tomatoes (hot)

tortelini in mushroom (hot)

pesto bowtie pasta (cold)

another optional cold dish- bowtie pasta with olives, yellow, red peppers topped italian dressing and parmesan cheese

another hot dish was fettucini with alfredo sauce. I would have mushrooms in this dish as well
post #2 of 10
No food is going to look good sitting in a chafing dish for 5 hours.
What you want to do is heat and refill as needed throughout the event.
Pre-cooked pasta put in a strainer and dropped into hot water, combined with sauces held on the stove in bain maries (I imagine crockpots would work too).
You alfredo will want to dry out and congeal in the chafers faster than a tomato based sauce.

All chafing dishes are created pretty equal, with exception of style.
You'll want plenty of fuel. Most common are the 2 hour gel fuel canisters, although you may be able to find 4 hour.
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
thanks. Now as far as quantity how should I configure the amount to serve? Again its for 50 people but pasta dishes will serve as sides.
post #4 of 10
If it's pastas only and 5 hours figure 1 Pound for 5 people. Try to stay away from fettucinni or spaghetti it will get gummy . Use rigatonni or any wide large pasta. Try a tomato vodka sauce and rigatonni. What Jim says is right 5 hours under fire is a long time.:peace:
CHEFED
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CHEFED
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post #5 of 10
Renique,
from your profile it looks like you are not a professional caterer...
I can't remember EVER having a savory only buffet out for 5 hours. Most are set up so that appetizers come out, then dinner is 1.5ish hours.....50 is not a big number they should be able to get through it in 30 minutes and come back for seconds. Then it gets removed and there's dessert. This way your food stays in a quality safety zone (or at least there is more of a chance of that happening than 5 hours of hot food.)

Knowing how to preserve food safely is one of the big parts of being a caterer. That's why people hire us. Thanks for you questions, welcome to Cheftalk.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
shroomgirl,

Thanks for responding. Obviously I am not claiming to be a professional chef, hence my profile. I was looking for advice, from professionals, not smart #@#comments from non-professionals. In the future you should try to stick to the topic at hand when commenting and leave your smart comments to yourself i.e. "that's why they hire us". Thanks again.
post #7 of 10
renique,

Easy.
The one difficulty I see with the boards is newcomers wanting to get opinions from professionals, and the natural inclination is to pose their question in the professional section, even though the rules are clearly listed.
I'll admit that I would probably do the same.
Some here are somewhat hard-nosed about the policy, others not so much.
Being hard nosed isn't a put down, rules are rules.
Moderators especially will bring this up when noted, it's their responsibility.

You may have received the same help in the non-professional section just as readily, but maybe not, as some pro's don't post much in that section.

shroom did include useful information for you.

Ease up a bit, the holidays are going to be stressful enough.
Good luck to you on your project.
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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post #8 of 10
Renique,
as moderator I could have moved your post but chose not to.....this forum is for professionals.....you wanted our input you got it. 5 hours of hot food has got safety issues all over it.

"Professional Catering Forum Professional caterers can share their experiences and ideas here."
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #9 of 10
5 hours at the proper temperature isn't that big of a safety issue, more of a quality issue.
But, keeping in mind that renique isn't a pro, very possible that the proper temperature will not be maintained.
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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post #10 of 10
IMHO, there are two questions: food safety and edibility.

There is the additional question of "non-pofessonals" posting in the "professionals only forums".

Food safety wise, at least in Tulare county, California, as long as you keep the food temperature above 135°F, you've met the food safety requirement.

Whether it will be "edibale" is an entirely separate question. IMHO, that is a lost cause.
Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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