Cold foods can either be pre-plated or served from large dishes and bowls. In both cases presentation is important: the food should appear fresh,neatly arranged and not over-garnished. Cold food is is popular in every kind of food service operation for at least three good reasons:
- Visual Appeal
When the is attractively displayed, carefully arranged and neatly garnished, the customers can have their appetites stimulated by seeing exactly what is being offered.
Cold food can be prepared in advance, allowing a large number of people to be served in short period of time. Self service is also economic in terms of staffing.
If cold food is being served from a buffet, the range of food can be simple or complex and wide-ranging, depending on the type of operation.
Cold Preparation means the preparation of raw and /or cooked foods into a wide variety of cold items. Cold food must look clean and fresh. Its presentation should be appealing to the eye.
Preparation of Cold Food
Well-planned organisation is essential to ensure adequate pre-preparation (mise-en-place), so that foods are assembled with a good work flow and are ready on time. Before, during and after assembling, and before final garnishing, foods must be kept in a cool place, cold room refrigerator so as to minimize the risk of food contamination. Garnishing and final decoration should take place as close to serving time as possible.
Techniques used in cold preparation includes:
- peeling, chopping and cutting.
- seasoning:the light additional of salt, pepper and possibly other flavoring agents.
- dressing: this can either mean an accompanying salad dressing, such as vinaigrette, or the arrangement of food for presentation on plates, dishes or buffets.
- garnishing: the final addition to the dish, such as lettuce, quarters of tomato and sliced cucumber added to egg mayonnaise.
- marinade: a richly spiced pickling liquid used to give flavour and to assist in tenderising meats such as venison. Simple marinades (e,g. olive oil with herbs or soy sauce with herbs and /or spices) can be used with cuts of fish, chicken or meat.
- Be aware of the texture and flavour of many raw foods that can be mixed together or combined with cooked foods (e.g. coleslaw, meat salad).
- Understand what combination of foods- for example, salad- is the best suited to be served with other foods, such as cold meat or poultry.
- Develop simple artistic skills that require the minimum of time for preparation and assembly.
- Provide an attractive presentation of food at all times.
- Because of the requirements of food safety. Cold foods are often served straight from the refrigerator. However, falvours will be better if the food ia allowed to stand at room temperature for 5-10 minutes before serving.