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Food and Cakes

How to keep buffet food warm?

We plan on having a buffet style dinner. We will be buying large pans of food from a local italian resturant near my home. The problem is WE have to pcik it up. Im worried the food is going to get cold really fast. Especially since the ceremony is at 4 and reception at 6- so we wont eat til about 630 or 7. Do those food warmers with the flame underneath really keep the food warm? Will it keep the top of the food warm or leave parts of the noodles and cheese hard? Any suggestions? Food is very important at any event and we really want delicious cheesy italian food that stays nice and warm! Thanks
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Re: How to keep buffet food warm?

  • i think those thing with the flame underneath will do the job as i have seen lots of restaurant or hotels use the same thing. or you can allocate the task to someone reliable to pick up and set up the food, and ask the restaurant if you can pick up the food later /nearer to the time of dining
  • You don't say where the reception is, and that info may help to get better answers.

    I've used the pans with sterno cans under them. They are good for about 2-3 hrs, but you are right, the quality may suffer.

    If your ceremony is at 4 pm, and the reception at 6 pm, that's quite a bit of time between them. I'm assuming you are taking pictures after the ceremony before the reception. That is plenty of time for someone close to you to go pick up the food and bring it to your reception venue. Most reception venues have an oven to store food until it is served. Even if there is not an oven, it would be closer to the start time of your reception so the food would not be in chafing dishes with sterno cans for such a long time.

    You can rent chafing dishes from a rental company, and they usually supply the sterno cans. I recently used Hotz Catering for my daughter's graduation party and their prices were reasonable. They drop off the day before and pick up the next day (or Monday if the party is Saturday). If you are outside their normal delivery area, check around, there are many in SE Michigan.
  • I'd definitely find someone to pick up the food closer to 6. I think you're looking at food safety issues if you try to make it from 3:30ish to after 6 before eating. At best, the food would be dried out from being kept warm enough for too long. At worst, the food will be at a dangerous temperature for well over 2 hours.
  • you might honestly, be better off picking the food up in the morning or the day before, keeping it cold and arranging for it to be reheated right before the reception.  This could help with any food-borne illness issues with food being left out too long. Just get some extra sauce though, in case the reheating dries anything out. 
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