The final installment in the “Art of plate presentation”. All the rules and suggestions mentioned previously in sweet and savory presentations, remain true for the buffet. However, now we are dealing with a complete meal presented all at once. I’m sure many people ask….or maybe they don’t, were do you start? At the beginning of course. If you sat down for an al la carte 3 course dinner, you would start with an appetizer, followed by main course and dessert. So naturally it works the same way with a buffet. I’m horrified, when I see people with heaping plates of food on the first go at a buffet. You would think it’s there last supper…lol. Of course you can go back for more, but let’s look at the natural, normal progression of course in a buffet. Here is an example. Soup, followed by perhaps a small appetizer, fish or meat course, salad and of course dessert. If the buffet is presented properly, this is also how the buffet will be set up….to avoid confusion of course. I could go about how this done, a very bright chef over a hundred years ago did the work for us. Google it! Read on below for more information on buffet presentation. Cheers, and happy cooking!
A good design serves a function. The function of a buffet is to serve the guest. Therefore, a properly devised buffet design places foods logically. Guests should be able to identify what they are eating and reach the food easily with appropriate service tools, including plates and silverware, strategically positioned. If there is a chance that a food might cause an allergic reaction, guests should be warned, either through placards, a printed menu or by assigning knowledgeable wait staff on the line. The layout should be designed so as to keep foods properly heated or chilled and safe from cross contamination.
Arrangement of items on a line
Since a buffet line contains more than one offering or dish, give some thought to the sequence and arrangement of those dishes. Arrange dishes on the buffet line so that they are easy to see, easy to reach and easy to serve.
What follows is a collection of general guidelines you can use to determine the best display sequence. Not every one will be useful for every type of buffet, though each of them has a practical purpose. Some of the most popular and creative patterns used in buffets today were arrived at only by creatively disregarding a widely accepted rule.
- Place plates where they are easy to see at the start of a line, and at each independent station where they are easy to reach, and for the wait staff to monitor and replenish. Utensils and napkins are best at the end of the line, so guests won’t have to juggle them as they make their selections.
- Keep foods that might drip or spill closest to the guests.
- Use pedestals and similar devices to elevate platters. This is especially effective when you need to save space or when you would like to control the service of expensive items.
- Keep hot foods near one another; likewise, group chilled foods in their own area.
- Place sauces and condiments directly with the foods they accompany so that guests understand how to use them. Each one should have its own underliner and a serving tool if required.