Post # 1
Our wedding venue is a couple hours away from where we live (and much of anything – very rural), and since we’re on a pretty small budget, we’re considering getting food (for about 90) from a restaurant (braised things that will hold up well) to serve at a buffet.
Does anyone know what the best way would be to hold or reheat the food safely? Do we have the restaurant cool it (or even freeze it) and then pick it up and transport it in coolers, then reheat it? If so, do we need to rent a warming box, or rent an oven to heat it and then put it in a warming box? Or do we just put it in a warming box at the restaurant and keep it warm for a couple of hours while transporting it (assuming we can find a vehicle that can hold a warming box)? Then transfer to a chaffing dish?
Or is this all way too complicated and we should just suck it up and DIY at the venue (which has a great stovetop, but isn’t a commercial kitchen) or even hire a caterer? Thanks.
Post # 2
moonbeanjo: when would you get the food? same day? If so it shouldn’t be a problem….
Post # 3
You can only keep food between 40*F and 145*F for about 2 hours if you don’t want to risk food poisoning. It’s probably going to be best to hire a caterer since it doesn’t sound like you have enough time to transport and serve everything or enough space to safely reheat things.
read more about food safety: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Danger_zone_%28food_safety%29
Post # 4
I think you should really get a caterer or DIY. To me, aside from the ceremony itself, the food is the most important part of the wedding day. Not all guests enjoy drinking and dancing, but everyone will be eating. “Thanks for coming to our wedding, here’s some rubbery chicken we heated up for you!” does not seem like much of a thank you. Will you even be sure it’s hot enough in the end, instead of a lukewarm? My exerpiences thus far are catered food is always hot, our DIY BBQ was hot and delicious, my best friends cheapo catering was mediocre at best. Food is not a good thing to skimp on at weddings.
If you do DIY, be sure you plan carefully… timing everything was pretty challenging!
Post # 5
skunktastic: I definitely wouldn’t want to do the reheating rubber chicken thing. The thought was to do something braised and delicious that holds well (or is even better later), like a stew or tagine.
RosaBride: Yep, we’d have someone pick it up the same day.
Horseradish: I wouldn’t leave it out. I guess I was thinking we’d rent a cambro hot box to keep it hot or have the restaurant cool it and then bring it to the wedding site in coolers.
Caterer is definitely the best option if we can find one priced reasonably! Trying to figure out if there’s any way to half cater, half DIY. Thanks for input.
Post # 6
moonbeanjo: even in the warming box, though, you’ve only got 2 hours from when the food is cooked, and that’s just too short a window when you’re talking about a 90-person wedding. You could ask the restaurant to chill the food but firstly you would be assuming they would do it properly– it is not as straightforward as it may seem, so unless the restaurant does this Kind of thing often, you’re really rolling the dice– then you gotta figure out how to heat it back up in what you call a not-commercial-level kitchen. Reheated food is the most dangerous when it comes to sanitation. If you don’t have the right equipment, you really should only be considering a caterer.