Extended Meal Service

• Customers eat at different times.

• Often called à la carte cooking because customers usually select items from a written menu (carte in French).

• Examples: restaurants, short-order counters.

Individual items are cooked to order rather than cooked ahead, but pre-preparation is extensive, down to the final cooking stage.

The short-order cook, for example, must have everything ready to go: cold meats, tomatoes and other sandwich ingredients sliced and arranged, spreads prepared and ready, hamburger patties shaped,garnishes prepared, and so on. If the cook has to stop during service to do any of these things, orders will back up and service will fall behind.

A steak that takes 10 minutes to broil may be cut and trimmed in advance, but broiling should be started 10 minutes before it is to be served.

Obviously, if the last step in a recipe is to braise the item for 112 hours, one cannot wait until an order comes in before beginning to braise. An experienced cook can estimate closely how many orders will be needed during the meal period and prepare a batch that,ideally,will finish braising just when service begins.

Note the differences in these two methods for Chicken Chasseur. In both cases, the final product is chicken in a brown sauce with mushrooms, shallots, white wine, and tomatoes.

1. Quantity method—Chicken Chasseur:

Brown chicken in fat; remove.

Sauté shallots and mushrooms in same fat.

Add flour to make a roux.

Add white wine, tomatoes, brown stock, seasonings; simmer until thickened. Add chicken; braise until done.

2. À la carte method—Chicken Chasseur:

Prepare Sauce Chasseur in advance;hold in bain-marie. For each order:

Brown chicken in sauté pan; finish cooking in oven. Deglaze pan with white wine; reduce.

Add one portion of sauce; add chicken and simmer briefly; serve.

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