I am still new to the caterering business only been in business a year. I have my first request for a carving station for our roast beef and pork tenderloin. Normally we pre-cook, pre-cut, carry in hot boxes and serve in chafers. We are feeding 150 people next week and I am not sure how to do an on site carving station with no kitchen facility. We will be setting up in the hallway of a business building to serve the meal. Do I need to change the cut of roast beef we serve? Will it need to be different from what we would normally take precut in a hot box and serve in a chaffer? When on site carving how thick do you cut the meat? We are in S.W. Oklahoma and N. Texas where people like a large serving of meat. We normally cut our pork loin 1/2" thick would we do the same at a carving station? Please tell me how to make a professional presentation. We have also been asked to do a pasta bar at this event any insight? To see what we normally do our website with photos is www.simplydelectablecatering.com.
Off site with no facilities CARVING STATION
I've only seen carving station in restaurants and on sites. For 150 people, I'd want at least 2 people to carve to reduce traffic jam. It's not a bad idea to have other proteins available that is not on carving station. When carved items are the only protein served, it seems that lines get really long, people get hungry and food runs out.
You can do any meats, really but you might want to stick with something that's larger in size because they not only look better but also hold better. Presentation is pretty much that meat on the cutting board.
Generally, you'd want to slice thinly and people would expect that. If someone wants thicker slice, they will ask for it. If someone wants three slices, they will ask for it. Thin slice is the best way to minimize the waste in that setting and prevent running out.
Even when we're doing in on-sites, we charged $20 an hour (I think) per chef (carver) for carving stations. Something to think about, if you haven't already. Same idea for the pasta station and other interaction stations.
$25-30 an hour around here for staff.
make sure you have a setup where the juices are caught otherwise you'll have a HUGE mess.
heat lights not necessary. Someone who knows how to carve is very necessary. Make sure to check temp of meat....nothing like serving cold meat.
You are right about those Oklahoma boys liking their meat! Carving station is always a big draw when we've done them. I have a heat lamp and a stainless serving tray that I keep under it then a carving board with rim for catching juice and a ton of extra towels handy. Depending on the crowd, you can slice some a few minutes ahead and hold it on the tray under the lamp - this usually helps with the first rush of guests and gives you a few minutes to size up the crowd. We usually hold the meat in a hot box before slicing, too. This seems to work well.
DO NOT be intimidated by a carvng station. This is the easiest and most popular of any 'action' station you can stage for an event. I have pulled dishwashers from the pot room and made them into carvers in 10 minutes. The pork loin is the perfect cut work with. You will get a great yeild from it and will be amazed at how much less meat you end up serving, Oklahoma or not. Use a very sharp knife and try to slice thin a possible. I tell my carvers that I like the slices thinner than the blade.
You don't say your usual beef cut, so I'm not sure where to start. Inside rounds are a mess on a carving board, especially for the inexperienced. Depending on what names different cuts have in your region, a pealed knuckle or clod heart cut are inexpensive cuts that are not too hard to slice. You could use a eye of round roast, but would need a bunch of them and they cold dry a little, but they are easy to slice and yeild really well. We recently got a great price on whole strip loins and carved them on a station. We often but small, sliced rolls on our carving stations to encourage people to make mini-sandwiches, with some mustard and horseradish sauce. They fill up on bread that way.
Pasta stations are not bad, but depend on the equipment you have available. What to have to work with, butane burners? Induction cooker?