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Kitchen Conundrums

April 11, 2012 by  
Filed under Food


Kitchen ConundrumsChefs need routine, and when they are taken out of their habitat (the kitchen) to an off-site location without the proper equipment to execute their dishes, it causes immediate panic. Catering is all about preparation. Sometimes caterers may be viewed as second-hand cooks when compared to restaurant chefs, but that’s certainly not the case, especially with The Food Dudes. After opening our first restaurant concept, I know now more than ever that high-level catering is just as challenging as cooking at a fine dining establishment.

A few years ago, when we first branched out into nuptials and large functions, we were hired for an event that continues to stand out amongst the rest. It was a wedding for 150 guests, a reasonable number. It took place in a school with no kitchen on the grounds of a cemetery.We had three tables to work off in a hallway. Our strategy was to have a driver constantly bring food from our kitchen, which was 20 minutes away. The main problem was that to get to the school, you had to walk through the cemetery. As the bride

and groom took pictures and their guests enjoyed our delicious appetizers, our cooks and support team ran through the cemetery with the main course. Now, if they had decided to go with braised meat that we could leave in a hot box in its natural reduction for a couple hours, that would have been the icing on the cake. However, the main course consisted of beef tenderloin and crispy skin chicken supreme. How, without an oven on-site, can I guarantee a medium-rare cooked steak and a tender juicy chicken that still has crispy skin? How can we carry this product through a cemetery without stepping on the deceased? Somehow, we made it happen. At our kitchen, we cooked the steaks until they were rare, knowing that wrapping and resting the steaks in the catering van for 20 minutes would bring them up to medium rare. So far so good, until the father of the bride talked for an extra 20 minutes and the steaks went from perfectly cooked to medium in the chafing dishes. Better that then a cold steak on your wedding day, and it turned out that the guests preferred it medium anyways – lucky me! The chicken was more challenging; we decided to roast it off in its own juices and then pan sear it on a portable burner at the event. It turned out perfect! After this event, I knew anything was possible. When I received a call for a 400-guest wedding in Muskoka in the middle of summer and was told we had to set up a kitchen out of a garage, I replied, ‘As long as we have an oven, no problem!’


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