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Banqueting is a stressful form of catering - serving top quality food to hundreds of diners at the same time is a logistical nightmare.

Banqueting expert chef Neil Moore-McCarthy of the Royal Armouries, Leeds, uses Moffat's Chillogen trolleys to deliver

E&R Moffat has enormous expertise in equipment for banqueting and has developed the Chillogen trolley, an all-in-one rapid chiller, fridge, regen oven and hot cupboard - and it's mobile! It means chefs can plate up a cooked meal, put it in the Chillogen trolley and leave it until it's time to serve the food. The trolley automatically looks after the chilling, storing and regenerating. The Chillogen technology helped Moffat win the FCSI manufacturer of the year award in 2006.

Neil Moore-McCarthy is head chef at the Royal Armouries, Leeds, one of the UK's top banqueting venues, where 25,000 meals are served around Christmas and New Year alone. Neil is a big fan of Moffat's Chillogen technology - the Royal Armouries has twenty of the banqueting trolleys. When the Royal Armouries opened its new conference and banqueting centre, Neil again selected Chillogen Trolleys to deliver the top quality food the venue will serve.

Neil is a hugely experienced banqueting chef - here are a few of his top tips for chefs who are new to big event catering.

If you're serving fish and you're using a cook chill system, then cook it just underdone. Fish is delicate and it's easy to over do - if it's slightly undercooked, the heat from the regen will finish the cooking to perfection.

Dietary requirements
In the current climate of dietary requirements always prepare a few meals that are gluten- and dairy-free, even if they are not pre-booked. In my experience, nine times out of ten you will need them!

Know who you're cooking for
When you're planning your menu, think about the customers you're cooking for and adapt the food to match. For example, older people like their vegetables cooked a bit more; you can be sure you'll need extra potatoes for an all-male sportsman's dinner; and ladies who lunch will like delicate portions. Every event is different, so treat it that way and you won't go wrong.

Ordering food
When ordering food for banqueting try to work a couple of days in advance - ordering for large numbers may take more than 24hrs to source.

Green bean bundles
If you're using green bean bundles such as Bonduelle, then plate them up straight from the freezer. (The regen will cook them just right).

Wet, wet, wet
Moisture can be a serious issue with any regen system. Use mashed potato or couscous as a bed to garnish meat, as this helps soak up any moisture. If your regen oven has a water well, experiment by varying the amount of water in it - for some recipes, you may want to empty the water well completely.

Small banquet, big regen oven?
If you have a large regen oven but you're only doing a small function, fill the empty shelves with empty plates, as this helps distribute the heat evenly.

E & R Moffat is one of the UK's leading manufacturers of quality foodservice equipment, designing and manufacturing in-house. Based in Bonnybridge, Scotland, the company manufactures standard and bespoke servery, regeneration and storage equipment with a full nationwide after-sales engineering team. E & R Moffat is accredited to ISO 9001:2000 and many of the products have gas approvals and are EMC tested. For more information on E & R Moffat visit the website on

Posted on Sun 10th Jun 2007