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Catering, Vending and Cooking For The Masses. this forum is OnTopic. A resource to help with catering, vending and just cooking for large parties. Topics to include Getting Started, Ethics, Marketing, Catering resources, Formulas and recipes for cooking for large groups.

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Old 09-29-2008, 10:33 AM   #1
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Join Date: 05-16-08
Location: Madison, WI
Default Question for the caterers out there

I don't do catering at this point in time so I'm looking for some feedback from those that do. This is a situation that could have posed huge problems in someone else's hands.

I helped a friend of mine out this weekend by serving food for an all day party he hosted at his bar. The food came from a caterer in a town a couple hours away from where the party was held. The agreement was for the caterer to deliver the food and service needs (plates, forks, sauce, nescos, etc) to the party and we would serve the food. The caterer provided pulled pork for 650 and potato salad. A very basic setup.

The food arrived in two cambro like vessels. One really was a cambro with two hotel pans in it and the other was actually a Rubbermaid container with 4 hotel pans in it. When we took a pan of pork out, the pork was perhaps 90 degrees. We didn't have a thermometer at that time to test it, but it was nowhere near hot.

I do compete and am aware of the unsafe food zone of 40-140 and have an understanding that it isn't good for pulled pork to sit in that range for a long time and even worse to serve it to the public. We did get two Nescos plugged in, tossed a pan of pork into each, and cranked them up to 350 to get the pork back up to a safe temperature. The pork did temp out at 165 in about forty five minutes so we started to serve it.

My question is this. If this had been your gig, would the pork have arrived at full serving temp or would you have delivered it below 40 and heated it up from there? I would be concerned with an unknowing person receiving a shipment like this and just serving it straight away at the temp it arrived.

Thanks in advance for your response. I'm using this as a learning lesson for me down the road if I start catering on my own.
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Old 09-29-2008, 10:47 AM   #2
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Personally, on a job that size (PP for 650), I would have had to cook, then bring down the temp. Then, reheat to 160 at the site.

I know another Brother, Dive, has really no problems driving three hours with food in his Cambro, and keeping it up to s afe temps.

If he doesn't chime in, give him a PM.
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Old 09-29-2008, 12:56 PM   #3
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Food should have held temp in cambros. Sounds like they cooked days before tried re-warming it perhaps and did not make temp. Whoo knows?
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Old 09-29-2008, 01:06 PM   #4
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650 people is 162.5 pounds. That is 8 full hotel pans.If it were hot, it would have stayed hot for 8 hours in a cambro, had it been 200 when it went in. I would have dropped of screaming hot.
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Old 09-29-2008, 05:39 PM   #5
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Sounds like it was prepared way way in advance. I think your friend has a legitimate reason to ask for at least a discount on the price.
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