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Guidance for Catering at Chilbolton Village Hall

posted 15 Mar 2009, 12:10 by Chilbolton Players
By Pam Mason.
Chilbolton Players events are generally set up to entertain & cater for tables of 8 people – generally a maximum of 10 tables per performance. Normal practice is for the food to be served to the tables.
NOTE: Do not consider serving from the kitchen hatch – it is out of use when the stage is set up.
Planning:
  • Plan to serve food per table, i.e. in multiples of 8. This makes it easier to calculate the quantity of food required.
  • Keep the food as simple as possible. Either dishes that cook quickly, or can be prepared off-site & brought hot to the hall on the night.
  • Ensure you have a vegetarian alternative – and over-cater, as someone is bound to forget to tell the Box Office!
  • ASSUME kitchen has no equipment other than crockery & cutlery; take your own cooking pans & utensils. There are serving dishes, but check there are sufficient.
  • It is almost certain, if you are serving a hot meal, that you will need further equipment to keep the food warm. Either two hostess trolleys (Jennie Pope has one), or ask Julie Connor if her Rubbermaid is available. This is a free-standing insulated cabinet that will keep food hot for up to an hour.
  • Cooker – although fairly efficient, both ovens are only standard size & have a total of 5 shelves between them, plus the oven bottoms. The warming drawer is very small. The hobs are also a bit slow to heat up.
  • It is very useful to have a long table in the kitchen – for serving, placing dirty dishes, etc. This is in addition to the stainless steel worktable in the kitchen.
NOTE: that re-heating food from cold for 80 people is not feasible, unless it can be done on the hobs. There is just not enough oven space for more than 6-7 dishes in one go.
NOTE: that the crockery cupboard is kept locked – you will need to borrow the key from Chris Halliwell (Hall bookings lady).
Helpers:
  • Three to four people will be required in the kitchen for the duration of the evening.
  • In addition, 4 - 5 servers to take the food to the tables. Allocate the servers their tables in advance, so that they have some idea of where they are heading with the food!
On the night:
Pre-lay tables with dinner plates & serving spoons – this will save valuable time later. The guests will help themselves from dishes served to the table by the servers.
Ensure each helper is assigned their kitchen tasks for the evening; draw up a table plan & allocate tables to the servers. Although this may change once serving is under way, it is useful initially if only to give them confidence that you have everything under control!
Agree a time for serving food. Discuss with kitchen & serving staff how to manage the serving; it will become very hectic, so it is vital that everyone knows what they will be doing at this time.
After the meal:
Have washers-up ready for when the dirty plates are returned – once the performance re-starts, you will not be able to make a noise in the kitchen. Try & clear up as much as possible as the meal is in progress, otherwise, you will be clearing up well past the end of the evening’s entertainment!
Make it clear to the Players that the kitchen is out of bounds during the interval – you don’t need the distraction. Tea / coffee etc. can be served to them via Thermos jugs. Make sure that someone has arranged to do the Players’ refreshments in the interval.
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