This is my approach to kitchen duties and I hope it helps.
Enjoy it, after all you only have to do two a year. It’s a chance to be Jamie Oliver or Elizabeth David. (Gordon Ramsay or Fanny Craddock are not recommended as role models.)
Plan it, etch the date in your memory and onto your diary. A no show is the ultimate faux pas.
Communicate. If your name is top of the duty list, about a week before your duty phone the others on the list. If your name is bottom of the duty list and you haven’t heard from the others give them a ring. Work out who is going to do what.
Recipes, Google ‘growlies’, loads of advice here.
Shopping. A bit of planning can save you a load of work. For example:If you are doing a summer sunday, you can order a ham from Hamiltons Butchers a week before your duty. They will cook it, carve it, and vacuum bag into 10 or 15 slice packs. All you need to do is collect it the day before you need it.For potatoes, buy pre-washed spuds or baking potatoes. This will save an hour of peeling.
Buy good ingredients. You are giving your time for free, so you don’t want to be cooking rubbish food. So choose steak mince, butchers sausages, fresh butternut squash.
Chips, I hate the deep fat frier, so I don’t do chips…Cook what you enjoy.
How much to buy???
Sundays, work on the basis of 60 people, of which 10 will be vegetarians. So for meat that will be 5kg of mince or diced meat, 100 sausages or a medium sized ham. For the lunches the menu can be mixed with a mixture of a plated cooked meal, or baguettes or soup.
Wednesdays, often busier, so say 75 people. Proper meals are more popular for evenings.
Buy the food the day before and quickly get it stored properly. Keep receipts.
On the day, get there in good time, it always takes longer to prepare than you expect.
Food safety, there are over 60 members trained with food safety certificates, so you are likely to be on duty with someone who has some experience. Follow the start up procedures. Check temperatures in fridges. Clean the worktops. Wash hands. Prepare food avoiding contamination. Don’t use anything that looks suspect, if in doubt chuck it out.
Dishwasher, this takes time to heat up so put it on early.
Baguettes, light the oven and get some baguettes cooking. Smells great. make some coffee and enjoy a cup while it is quiet.
Cooking. You can ease the pressure by cooking meals that can be kept simmering, things like soup, stews, curries, spag bol, sausages, bacon can be cooked and kept hot for serving for 40 minutes without problem.
Rice, I can’t cook rice in large quantities, but pasta is easy, so I do pasta. Spuds keep warm.
Serving. If you have 3 on duty, get one to do the counter and take the money, but not handle food. The other 2 can prepare and plate up.
How much to charge? Value your effort, charge £3.50 to £4.00 for a main meal. For 60 people that should make a profit of about £120.00 after paying £60.00 for ingredients.
Waste, if you don’t sell it all, don’t worry, some days are better than others.. If it is just a few portions left, give it away or bin it. If it is a dozen or more servings then it can be frozen for another day. Make sure it is quickly cooled, half a bag of ice around the cooking tray as a good way of getting the heat off before you put the food in the freezer. Mark it clearly with contents and date.
At the end of the session, wash up, clean the surfaces and cash up.
Have another coffee and relax. Chuck the filter away.
Drain down the dishwasher.
I hope this helps. Feed back welcome.
Simon Bean. 22nd. Feb 2009