Feeding the masses

Feeding the masses

Us Kiwis are a communal lot. We like to get together and enjoy one another’s company.

Putting on a meal for a large gathering can be a bit daunting, so here’s a few tips to help with catering for a large group.

1. Don’t try anything new.

While the quality of the food is important, this isn’t your opportunity to try out a new fashionable recipe. Stick with a menu that is well liked, reliable and that you feel comfortable cooking.

2. Prepare early

Preparing food beforehand will save time when it gets busy at serving time. Prepare salads and cold dishes well in advance and place in large food-approved plastic bags for easy serving, then refrigerate. It’s also worthwhile having a short discussion with the team before it starts to get busy, to talk through the menu and where everything is, and any potential hazards or problems.

3. More food needs more heat

Normal domestic ovens will often struggle to cook large quantities of food in the required time, so give the oven a head-start by partially cooking some items (such as vegetables) in a microwave first. It’s best to go for larger cooking appliances such as commercial barbeques as they are designed to produce enough heat to cook large amounts of food quickly.

4. Ensure you’ve got enough

Consider the appetite of your patrons; is it a post-match meal for the senior rugby team or a gathering of school kids? Spend time calculating the meal portion sizes, and allow up to 10% more as a buffer. One trick might be to draw a picture of the entire meal on an A4 piece of paper, including all the different components and calculations; there’s less chance you’ll forget something and everyone in the kitchen will have an idea of what’s being served.

5. Keep it safe

Ensure everyone helping with the preparation and cooking of food understands the basics of food hygiene, such as keeping uncooked and cooked food segregated and how to correctly wash their hands. All foods should be cooked to a minimum of 75°C, and then held either below 4°C or above 60°C; food should spend the minimum time in the dangerous 4°C – 60°C temperature zone. Food serving equipment such as Bain Maries and Pie Warmers are great for safely holding food above 60°C for the duration of service.

And above all else, enjoy! Do it well and they’ll love you forever. Have a look at our catering page for details on our range of catering supplies http://bit.ly/2g6NM9I .

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