Thursday, November 24, 2011

Monday, November 21, 2011

Example Of A Catering Field Procedures Manual

What follows is a sample selection from one of the best policy and procedure manuals I've ever seen detailing what staff needs to know when working at off-premise events. Just thought our readers would like to have a look. Below is just one small section dealing with heating at events. While this is a policy and procedures manual it also teaches those who wish to know how to do things better.
Heat Sources
ABC Catering uses many different methods to cook or heat foods at off-premise events. It depends on the situation at hand. Is there a kitchen available for us to use? What type of menu do we need to heat? Here are some of the ways we accomplish the task when a kitchen is not available for us to use:
1. Portable electric convection ovens. These are used primarily to heat passed hors d’oeuvre. Plug them in as early as possible to make sure that the electrical system in the home or office can take the amps drawn by the ovens. These ovens become very hot on all sides, including top and bottom. Leave several inches of clearance on all sides of these ovens. Protect all counter, and tabletops by placing cardboard under the oven. Always use the ovens at full power since they are opened so many times during the evening. The aluminum half-pans we use are slightly too wide to go easily into the cavity of the ovens. Simply bend up the ends and they will fit. Do not put parchment paper into these ovens. Since the ovens often are jostled about, the doors don’t stay closed all the time. Be sure to watch for this. When breaking down, be sure that the ovens have cooled.
2. Charcoal grills. These are used at large outdoor events to cook large quantities of chicken, pork, steaks, tenders, etc. It is important to light the grills as soon as possible. It takes about two hours for the large mass of charcoal these grills use to burn down to proper cooking coals. Later, coals should be added a few at a time. Only reload one section of the grill at a time, so that three-fourths of the grill area is useable at full strength at all times. It takes careful planning and attention to make sure that the re-coaling remains smooth and consistent throughout the day. The grill takes several hours to cool. As the coals burn down, remove as many coals as possible and deposit them in the steel can provided for used coal disposal. Keep the lid on the can as tight as possible to smother the fire. Do not pour water into burning coals unless all food is packed away and the general area is free of guests. Special Note: When using a grill, or other cooking method, you need to have one of our portable fire extinguishers close by.
3. Cassette burners burn butane gas. The fuel comes in a can similar in size and shape to an aerosol can. The can gives between two and four hours of heat, depending on how high a flame is used. Since there is no obvious indication when the can is empty, you need to check frequently to make sure the flame is still on, sounds silly, but it’s important. These burners are used for pasta and risotto stations on a buffet and for heating sauces in a field kitchen. They also heat pans of oil to be used as deep fryers. Before packing a gas burner, be sure to let it cool completely. Turn the pan support upside down. Disengage the can from the cooker.
4. Electric induction stoves. These are the same size as the butane cookers. They use 110-volt electrical power and are used in the field kitchen and sometimes on guest stations. The tops of the burners don’t get hot to the touch, except when a pan has been on them for awhile. These burners are powerful and cook very quickly. They use special pots and pans that will be in the same packing box as the stoves.

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