The question of serving temperature.

The       The EOL Marketplace Chefs Food Fight: The question of serving temperature.
By Timothy Banning (Cheftim) on Tuesday, April 13, 1999 - 01:14 am: Edit

Sunday Night we did a wine dinner for 150. the third course was squab breast (served rare-med rare) accompanied by the braised legs.
The dinner was a success but for a large percentage of the guests were put off by the rare-med rare breast of squab.
I always consider what I think will be a groups preference for meat temp when serving groups. Some people like there meat well done an I'm am not one to judge, but when serving what should be a some what of a "foodie" type of group wouldn’t you think using classic temps for high end cuts would be correct.
I know I can't please everyone all the time but when over 50% of a group turns there noses up, I feel I'm doing something wrong.
What's the answer?

By George Cook (George) on Tuesday, April 13, 1999 - 08:34 am: Edit

I think that it is the association your guests are making between squab and regular chicken. With the whole salmonella issue they mistakenly make the assumption that the squab also has to be cooked until well done (yuk)

Its a shame that Chefs are being forced over cook or even eliminate great dishes (steak tartar etc) from their menus. It's the lack of control by the governing bodies that allow the food producers to infect their products with harmful bacteria and then require Chefs to over cook it to make it safe to eat.

There is definitely something wrong with this picture.

So Chef it's not that you are doing anything wrong, it's a basic problem with the food manufacturing lobby in the US.

By mike swaim (Mikeswaim) on Sunday, April 18, 1999 - 10:20 am: Edit

Mabye a way to avoid some problems would be to provide the temp. in the menu description so the people know that it wasn't a mistake. This reminds me of when I started my present job. Duck breast was on the existing menu and the dining room manager was constantly getting complaints on it. When I saw the cook prepare the duck he cooked it to 165-170 because the f&b guy thought it had to be cooked like chicken.(they both have feathers you know!)

By Martym (Martym) on Wednesday, September 01, 1999 - 06:44 am: Edit

I know the frustration these things can cause. I have become more cynical. If they won't eat it medium rare as it should be then they won't appreciate it anyways. I just stay away from issues like these for large groups knowing that most likely there will be a substantial group of scaredy cats out there. If I know the group of people well then I might put something like that on a banquet menu but not without a lot of reassuring.

It is so hard to be trained, experienced and knowing right from wrong and then come head to head with a public or F & B guy who is living in the middle ages. I can forgive the public. Food is our fetish not theirs, but I have to worry about food and beverage managers who don't know a thing about food and often have power over our working lives. Seen it about a million times, now a million and one!

By Martym (Martym) on Wednesday, September 01, 1999 - 07:01 am: Edit

Oh one last thing. ChefTim says "what should have been a somewhat type of foodie group" who gave them that lable? Some people still think that because they eat surf and turf with frozen lobster tail that they are gourmets. Also living in New York where you might think that everyone is so up to date, you would not expect to see so much med, med well, and well requests. It just plain grosses a lot of people out to see blood no matter what there experiences have been. I have a friend who has been the vice president of Vouge Patterns, an expert on antiques she writes articles in Southern Accents Magazine, has lived in Paris and Florence and Travels 3 months out of the year. She has eaten in all of the best restuarants in Europe and will not touch any meat not well done, stays away from fish and always wants the piece of chicken that is the most burnt and dry. She knows her stuff but I guess you have to call her squeamish. Poor thing, you can't talk her out of it.

By Kai (Kai) on Thursday, September 02, 1999 - 03:02 am: Edit

Marty, I can sympathize, and add this: most Americans (USA) are slow to adapt (sadly). Chefs like you will help reverse this trend :)

By Chefk (Chefk) on Thursday, September 09, 1999 - 12:41 am: Edit

A way to sidestep this issue is to not only put the suggested temp. on the menu, but to instruct the servers to give a pre-emptive "the chef suggests that med rare..." when taking the order. That gives fraidy cats an out to order it more done or to order something else...

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