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Catering Party for 100

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

 

I will be catering a friend’s company party; approximately 100 people will be coming.  This is a coffee company so I am trying to incorporate coffee into some of the dishes.  I plan on making 2 proteins (beef tenderloin and chicken), potatoes au gratin, 2 vegetables (roast cauliflower and asparagus), and a salad.  I plan to do as much as possible at home and then finish and/or reheat in the ovens at the party.  I will only have access to a (large) oven and a microwave at the party.  The food will be served buffet style and there won’t be a set dinner time; people will be serving themselves over a roughly 2 hour timeframe.       

 

I have several questions:

 

1.        For the beef tenderloin, I plan to buy about 35lbs of partly-trimmed tenderloin; I will pre-sear the tenderloin at home, chill in the fridge, and finish cooking to 125 at the party.  My questions is what is the best way to serve the tenderloin?  Preferably I would like to keep it hot after slicing it, but a I imagine a chafing dish would continue to cook the meat and bring it above medium rare which I don’t want.  Could I possibly just serve it on a few hot serving plates (as long as I remove the food before 2 hours after it is cooked?) – and serve the tenderloin at room temperature?  The other option I imagine would be a warming lamp?  Also, if I am serving a sauce (thinking a port and beef stock reduction) – should this be served separately and what type of vessel (again does this need to be kept warm, and how?) - or perhaps a cold sauce if the beef is served at room temp (horseradish cream).

 

2.       For the chicken, I am planning on buying 40lbs of skin-on chicken breasts (I think serving breast with the skin on is more elegant).  I plan to pre-roast these at home (perhaps not bringing them up fully to 165) and then finishing them in the oven at the party.  My concern is if I reheat the breasts – how can I ensure that skin remains crispy.  Also, how should I serve these to keep them warm – i.e. will a chafing dish create too much steam and therefore make the skin soggy.  Also I am planning on serving a red eye sauce – should this be served on the side?

 

3.       Potatoes gratin – planning on using about 40lbs of potatoes.  Cook 3/4 of the way and finish at party.  Serving in a chafing dish.

 

4.       Cauliflower:  15lbs.  Roast at home, store in fridge, and bring to room temperature at the party and serve at room temperature.

 

5.       Asparagus:  15lbs.  Steam at home, ice bath, store in fridge, bring to room temperature at the party and serve with vinaigrette.

 

6.  Salad:  10lbs of arugula; 3 quarts of dressing

 

How do my quantities look?  And how should i serve the beef and the chicken, along with the respective sauces?

 

Thanks!

post #2 of 29

Um, it is fairly unusual to hear about a licensed, inspected, commercial kitchen in a home. May I inquire as to where you are located?

 

Second, you must have a fairly large kitchen, including refrigeration, to handle such quantities.

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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post #3 of 29
Thread Starter 

I'm really just a friend doing a friend a favor.  I am an experienced home cook and have cooked for dinner parties up to 50 people, but never up to 100.  

 

I was hoping to fit everything in my standard size fridge, or perhaps store some pre-prepped items on location if need be.

post #4 of 29
Thread Starter 

Any advice on my questions re: how to serve the proteins, and the quantities?
Thanks!

post #5 of 29

Are you a guest or are you strictly working the party?

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #6 of 29
Thread Starter 

 

My other question is how to transfer the potato gratin into the chafing dish(es).  I.E. I plan to bake the  grain in aluminum pans as I can’t bake them in the chafing dishes themselves (correct?).  So once the gratins are ready for service what’s the best way to transfer into an 8-quart chafing dish?

post #7 of 29
Thread Starter 

I am a guest; I will have one person (perhaps one more) to help me with prep, setup, and cleanup.  My hope for the party was to have everything setup prior to guests' arrival, keep an eye on the serving table (in case need to restock serving platters with more protein, or perhaps a second chafing dish for the potatoes).  I want to leave a 2 hour window for people to eat (for food safety's sake) at which point I would remove most of the food.  

post #8 of 29

I would rent cambros to keep the food warm so that you can replenish as needed with proper temp food already in hotel pans ready to slip directly into chafers. I would use chafing dishes for the proteins and put sauce in bottom of pans and then some over top of proteins which will help prevent drying out. You can also put additional sauce on the side.

 

As to the gratin, you can bake it in the hotel pan and then put them directly into the chafers. The only downside is that the edges will probably have a baked on look. If you have access to commercial refrigerators I would bake them a day ahead in hotel pans and refrigerate it overnight, then portion it and transfer it using a turning spatula to a clean hotel pan which I would reheat for service.

 

Quantities sound fine but hard to say without knowing price of party and cost of food, not to mention desired profit margin.

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #9 of 29
Thread Starter 

Thanks - how do you feel about serving the tenderloin at room temperature, with a horseradish cream sauce on the side?  I would pre sear the tenderloin at home, refrigerate, then finish at party until 125.  Let rest of 30mins, slice and serve (warm to room temperature)?  

 

If I rent a cambro will the tenderloin continue to cook inside, or can it keep meat at medium rare?

 

Also, if i put the chicken breast in the chafing dish and cover it, will the skin lose its crispness due to the steam?

 

Thanks!

post #10 of 29
Thread Starter 

and when you say bake the gratin in the hotel pan - you mean the pan that comes with the chafing dish I will be renting?  (I asked if you could bake directly on the pan that it comes with and they said you couldn't for some reason)

post #11 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by winegod View Post

and when you say bake the gratin in the hotel pan - you mean the pan that comes with the chafing dish I will be renting?  (I asked if you could bake directly on the pan that it comes with and they said you couldn't for some reason)

Probably because they do not want their pan exposed to the heat of the oven as well as baked on food.

 

From my experience, for 100 people, you are going to need four (4) hotel (chafer) pans of each food item, figuring 25 servings per each 2 1/2" hotel pan and you will need five (5) chafers for each buffet line, one for each food item.

 

I have very serious reservations that any normal residential refrigerator can store 20 hotel pans nor that any normal residential oven has the capacity to cook standard hotel pans, let alone heat more than one or two at a time.

 

I personally, would not attempt such a job without access to a commercial kitchen, in fact a party of 20 is pushing limits for a conventional residential kitchen, IMHO.

 

BTA, WTHDIK, I've only done a few dozen buffets for more than 100 and a multitude of dinner parties as a personal chef.
 

 

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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post #12 of 29
Thread Starter 

The attendance for the party was just reduced to 75.  There are 10 vegetarians - so I need to think of a veg dish as well.  I will adjust quantities accordingly.  Any other thoughts on 1) how to serve the tenderloin (i.e finished in the oven at the party and served in a chafing dish with restocks kept in a cambro?  or finished at the party, rested, sliced, and served at room temperature with a cold sauce?).  If I served at room temperature, starting from the time out of the oven,  I only have two hours before food safety becomes an issue correct?  and 2) if I put skin on chicken breasts in a chafing dish, will the steam cause the skin to lose its crisp?

Thanks!

post #13 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by winegod View Post

...starting from the time out of the oven,  I only have two hours before food safety becomes an issue correct? ...

Thanks!

AFAIK, you have a total of two (2) hours in the danger zone!, i.e. above 40°F and less than 135°F (in California). Now, if I understand you correctly, you are not planning to ever reach 135°F for the beef, so I would plan on holding in 125° F water bath, obviously sealed or water-proof wrapped, and slicing as needed, saves one chafing dish and 3-4 hotel pans as well!

 

Chicken has to be heated to 165°F unless you have sous vide facilities.

 

Drop your animal proteins from four pans each to three pans, keep the vegetables and potatoes the same, possibly a bean/legume salad.
 

 

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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post #14 of 29

Ok, so here's the deal.  If no one else is going to say it, I will.  You're not going to get a lot of responses here because you are a non-pro that is asking for professional advice.  I am a professional caterer, but before that I was a guy who loved to throw parties and make food, so I feel for you.  But keep in mind that I would charge between $3500 and $4500 to cater a party like this and if someone like you is doing it for less, then you are taking money out of my pocket.  I have expenses that you don't have because I have a licensed kitchen, thousands of dollars in equipment, liability insurance, payroll taxes, worker's comp, hood cleaning, vehicle insurance, and the list goes on...

 

I recently did a buffet style event in a private home for 25 guests and that is about the max I could imagine doing with a limited kitchen.  Now mind you, I used the grill and the stovetop and residential oven (lamb chops, mahi, grits, short ribs, grilled veg, etc.).  But I also had a couple of cambros as well as huge coolers.  Oh, and everything was prepped, chopped, marinated and packaged for me by my kitchen staff.  All I had to do was show up and cook.  IMHO, you can't cook for 70-80 guests in a residential kitchen.  Measure it.  Trust me.

 

Honestly, I wish you luck and would love to give you some advice.   My advice is find a friend in the restaurant business that will loan you some cooler space.  I really don't know what else to say.  Parties for 100 are nothing to a professional caterer with the right equipment.  Who knows, you may end up being a professional one of these days.  And then you'll look back on this party and see how far you've come and how much more you have learned.

 

-Kevin

 

post #15 of 29
Thread Starter 

Thanks!  You're scaring me now!!!

A couple of things.  The party is at a coffeeshop - I will have access to a walk in fridge - so I can drop food off a day or two before which will free up space at home.

I will have access to at least one and maybe two (commercial?) ovens when I am there.  I need to check it out in the next couple of days to see what I'm working with.

 

I plan to do all the prep in the preceding days before the event at home.  Again I can bring food to the event space as needed.

 

So my main concern is timing and keeping food warm.  The potato gratin and vegetables should be easy (veggies will be served at room temperature, potato gratin will be pre-made, reheated in the oven prior to service, and kept warm in the chafing dish).  The chicken will be finished on site as well - my only concern there is if I keep it in a chafing dish will the skin turn soggy?

And the tenderloin will be finished in the oven before service.  My question here is how to keep the roasts that are waiting to be served warm (or if I can keep them by the stove until needed, as long as they aren't out overall for more than 2 hours).  Also I was thinking of serving the pre sliced tenderloin on a cutting board under a warming lamp with a warm sauce on the side.  Any thoughts on doing this?

 

Thanks. 

 

post #16 of 29
Thread Starter 

Also, any suggestions on what vessel to put a warm sauce (if this is the route i go with) in? Would a 3 quart round chafer work or would this be too big?

post #17 of 29

That's an awful lot of hot food that needs an oven......chix, beef, potatoes....  even with two ovens that's a lot of pans of food.

sliced tenderloin under a heat lamp...not a good option, it'll only continue to dry out and overcook.  Cold with horseradish sauce is a good call

Chix, easier if it's cooked in a sauce....mirabelle or a tomato based....it's more forgiving than just roasted.

potatoes au gratin take a while to cook.....timing is going to be a challenge.

cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #18 of 29
Thread Starter 

Ok - so for the tenderloin can I sear, oven roast at home, refridgerate, bring to room temperature for service and serve with the horseradish sauce?

For the gratin, how long would it take to simply reheat - i.e. if I fully cooked at home, refridgerated, then reheated prior to service?

Thanks!

post #19 of 29

So is this pro bono work, or are you being paid for it?

post #20 of 29

Cook chicken all the way the first time. Most dangerous thing to do is cook and then hold part of the way . You are inviting food poisoning to the function. Cook fully then heat at party. Mushroom girl is right ,you do not have enough oven s to do this gig and get food out all at once. Everything you have is roast. I suggest you rent some Cambros for this gig . Cook all the food then put in cambros to hold. Otherwise you do not have enough oven space. Yes 3 qt round is ok for sauce or gravy. On a party like this stay away from asparagus unless served cold. It will loose color over 2 hours in chaffer if hot.. Rememeber Keep it Simple.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #21 of 29
Thread Starter 

 

Ok thanks.  The asparagus will be served room temperature with a vinaigrette.

 

On the tenderloin - is it ok for me to fully cook (to medium rare) at home, bring to room temperature (not cold though) prior to service, and serve at room temperature (with horseradish cream sauce on side?).  This will be easier for me then roasting on sight and worrying about keeping warm.

 

The company I am renting equipment only has cambros that are for liquids.  They do have proofing boxes (both electric and non-electric, I believe the non-electric is heated with sternos?).  Will this work?

 

Thanks again everyone.        

post #22 of 29

Sterno is a dry heat like roasting . If you must use them put sterno on bottom of cabinet then a pan of water so you don't dry everything out. Sterno will heat watr and you will get a moist heat.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply
post #23 of 29

Good example of  planning a menu to fit your equipment......

Other options would have been having a sauced chix that could be reheated in an electric bain marie....dang,neurons not firing this AM.....church roaster thingies.

Asparagus or actually any vegetable is better cold/room temp, than sitting in a chafer for hours....I hate chafers....jmtpc.

Free up the oven space & what you'll have to do that day.   Just starting out, it's a big job to juggle timing if everything is hot.

 

cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #24 of 29
Thread Starter 

Thanks everyone for the input!

I am going to do a skinless chicken breast in a sauce now instead of the roasted chicken.  

 

Question about serving the tenderloin at room temperature:  it will be fully roasted (to medium rare) and refrigerated; I plan to take them out 45mins-1hr or so prior to service to take the chill out, then slice as much as fits on the platter, then slice more when I need to replenish.  So how do I think about how long the product will be in the "danger zone" - i.e. from refrigeration to resting whole for 1hr, then sliced and served, how much time do I have to serve the beef?

 

Thanks again.

 

post #25 of 29

Adhere to the 4 hour rule. It will hold better if unsliced till right before service. I am sure you are in an air conditioned enviorment.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply
post #26 of 29
Thread Starter 

ok four hours, even including 1 hour to take the chill off, should be fine...i guess thought i thought it was a 2 not a 4 hour rule?

Also, I need to make a vegetarian main; cold or room temperature would be best.  Any suggestions?

Thanks all.

 

post #27 of 29

Cot circles out of Tofu brown them , place on top of miro greens and  balsamic vinagrette. diced roasted red pepper and chives

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #28 of 29

you have enough with cauliflower, asparagus, potatoes and salad....jmtc

cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #29 of 29

Why don't you simplify the menu and include more chilled items?  I am having a hard time imagining how you're going to cook/reheat everything on the day of the party.  Maybe you mentioned it and I didnt' notice the date of the party, but if it's spring, summer, or early autumn, why not serve fewer hot items that you have to fuss with?  You can get really creative with the menu and reduce your stress level at the same time.  I feel stressed for you just thinking about the logistics of cooking/holding/reheating  beginning in your home kitchen.
 

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