ONE PLATE AT A TIME

Sheila C. – April 10, 2016

Have you ever attended a large catering function of say 300 guests?  What about 500?  Heck, let’s get crazy and say 700 – yes, 700 guests.  Guessing a good number of you have attended something of that magnitude, or know someone who has.  Maybe it was a gala for a very special date night, a ball to support your favorite non-profit, a dinner at a trade show, or maybe even a company holiday party.  Regardless of the occasion, hopefully you had a great experience.

If your property is anything like the Crowne Plaza Reading, you were probably in awe of how quickly 700 meals can be served…and seamlessly.  Can you imagine?  How can one person possibly prep, cook, and plate that many meals in a matter of minutes?  Well, I’ll let you in on a little secret… you know the saying “it takes a village”… in the hotel industry it takes 4 sous chefs, 3 engineers, 3 sales managers, 2 banquet servers, and an Executive Chef to pull that off.

Plate by plate we scoop the potatoes, place the meat, lay the veggies, garnish the sides, and do one last inspection before sending the meal out to you!  This modern day culinary assembly line, or Plate-Up Line as we know it, is possibly the single most intense, exhausting and rewarding 1-2 hours of a heavy catering day.  From that first plate that rolls down the line, to the last one that passes by sets of tired hands – those two plates are the most important dishes of the day.  And when all is said and done, we will take the first and last plate and compare them.  Are the veggies still laying at 40 degrees?  Is the chicken still pointing to the left?  Did we remember to clean the sides of the plate for any stray garnish?  Do the plates look identical?

Details, little details, are what great Chefs, great meals, and great hotels are made of.  Though you may now know the behind the scenes secret, I’d still say it’s a little bit of magic.

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