How To Keep Food Fresh for an Entire Catering Event

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Keeping food fresh for an entire catering event is critical for meeting your guests’ expectations. Generally, a caterer will prepare the food before an event and transport everything to the party while keeping all foods within the correct temperature ranges. With that in mind, you must be extremely careful with how you handle the food in order to keep it fresh for as long as possible.

Consider the following suggestions for preserving your food before and during a catering event. Using these methods will result in the greatest satisfaction from guests.

Keeping Food Fresh at the Event

When you are at an event, it’s crucial for your staff to handle the food in a way that keeps it fresh for the entire duration of the occasion. When you have both hot and cold food, what should you do to preserve everything? Utilize the following tips to present the freshest food possible to guests.

Cold Food Preparation

Is the event you’re catering planning to have frozen or cold food, such as ice cream, on the menu? The best way to keep this dessert from melting is to place the ice cream in a cooler with adequate layers of ice. Ensure the cooler you use has great insulation that will keep the ice cream frozen for quite some time—it would be disappointing to find out everything melted on the way to the party. The colder you can keep the cooler, the less likely the dessert will melt, meaning the better it will taste.

Cold Food at the Event

Once you arrive at the event, don’t take the cold food off the ice right away. It needs to remain thoroughly chilled until dessert time to keep it in excellent condition. The best practice is to keep the food on ice until you’re ready to serve it. The event space might have a fridge, but you should still keep your cooler stocked with ice. This way, you will have a backup in case the appliance breaks or doesn’t preserve your food correctly.

We recommend setting up the dessert table with frozen items only a few minutes before you plan on serving guests; this will keep the food frozen as long as possible. Transition the ice cream from the cooler to bowls of ice on the serving table to avoid melting the dessert before guests can enjoy it.

Hot Food Preparation

When you’re preparing warm or hot dishes, how do you plan on retaining that temperature during the event? If the party does not have a kitchen with ovens and warmers, use insulated containers and bags to keep these foods at the correct temperatures until it is time to serve them. Stainless steel containers usually work best for hot foods because the material adequately traps heat inside.

Hot Food at the Event

Again, if the event venue does not have a kitchen with appliances that can keep your food warm, you will need to bring your own food-warming equipment. A chafing dish buffet set is one of the best ways to keep food heated while guests serve themselves. You could also use this option to keep food hot if you and your staff are individually serving guests.

Nobody wants to bite into a piece of cold chicken that was made days beforehand. You should cook the main course the day of the event—or the day before at the earliest—and prepare your staff with the correct equipment to rewarm the food once the event starts.

Outdoor Events

When the event you’re serving is not an indoor party, the methods you utilize to preserve food might change to accommodate the weather and being outdoors. Consider using disposable dessert trays with lids to keep pests and debris away from the food; as a bonus, this option makes for a more straightforward clean-up process. Because the weather can change in an instant, bring plenty of extra equipment, like lids, warmers, canopies, etc., to keep food from being ruined by the elements.

Preserving Food in the Kitchen

A major component of keeping your food fresh for an entire catering event is to preserve your most frequently used ingredients before the day of the occasion. You can do this through freezing, canning, drying, and various other methods.

Freezing Your Ingredients

One of the easiest and least complicated ways to preserve your ingredients is to freeze items. Some caterers might be wary of this practice because the longer the food stays frozen, the lower its quality may be once you thaw it. However, you can avoid a drop in food quality if you use the proper temperatures and methods for freezing.

Food that freezes too quickly can develop crystals on the outside, which could cause freezer burn and ruin the ingredient. Consider placing the food in the fridge to slowly bring the temperature down before placing it in the freezer; this will ensure that it freezes correctly. Additionally, give yourself enough time to properly thaw these ingredients before using them in a dish to provide the freshest food.

Canning Your Ingredients

Canning is a great way to preserve food for many months, but you must use a suitable method for canning in order to preserve your ingredients correctly. If you use the wrong equipment, the food may quickly become inedible. You can choose to use a boiling water bath for canning fruits and vegetables, or you could utilize pressure canning. Either way, you need to ensure the seal on the can is not broken, or the food might become contaminated. Always make food safety a top priority in your kitchen.

Drying Your Ingredients

Drying your ingredients is an ideal way to remove moisture from the food that could eventually lead to bacteria growth. This is an excellent choice for herbs since you’re more likely to have leftovers after using them in a recipe. Consider using a microwave to quickly dry your herbs, or leave them out to dry while you prepare other dishes.

As a caterer, things can go awry very quickly if you do not keep food safety at the top of your priority list. Ignoring proper food temperatures and storage methods will allow food to go bad quickly. Use the above techniques to preserve your food and keep it as fresh as possible, which will allow you to provide satisfactory service to guests.

How To Keep Food Fresh for an Entire Catering Event

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