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Jan 18, 2010 11:31 AM

Do you have catering exp? I have a Question.

I am going to be hosting a wedding at my house for my sister's best friend. She really wanted a hot meal and I feel pretty comfortable with prepping and cooking for 50 .. but I need a little advice on a couple of items.

I will be doing a grilled (maybe pan seared) chicken breast topped with a home made chicken gravy along with homemade mashed potatoes. Here is where I need some help .. I will need to have these done before the start of the ceremony and holding in the oven. The wedding starts at 4:00 so I figure I need to have all my prep done at 3:30 so that the kitchen is tidy for guest arrival. Dinner is planned to start at 5:00pm. I will have chaffers for services. I would really like to get the potatoes done ahead of time - maybe even the day prior.

So here is where I need help .. I am thinking I will cook the chicken about 75% to done so that it finishes in the oven with the gravy on top to hold in moisture. The potatoes will be portioned into (2) half sheet pans. I think 1.5 hours on the chicken at 200 degrees will be good to hold the chicken and bring to final cook temp but am worried this could be pushing the limit. On the other hand I think the potatoes may be too dense and cold coming from the fridge to come to temp in 1.5 hours. Any thoughts?



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  1. Take the potatoes out of the refrigerator during the day and let them come to room temperature.

    1. Do I understand it that you will pre-cook the potatoes and scoop them out into portions on sheet pans? Or do you mean that they will be in half pans that will be put into a chafer for a buffet? Speaking of which, will this be a sit down meal or a buffet?

      I guess what I'm trying to say is that you can take them out of the fridge earlier in the day because since they'll be cooked, you don't run the risk of spoilage but they will need to be re-heated with some moisture as in cream or milk to get them to the consistency of being smooth. Keeping in mind that you do need to add some moisture, you can make them the day before. And you can also pre-cook the chicken the day before as well.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Cherylptw

        This will be a buffet. The potatoes will be in bulk in half-sheet pans (3" deep). I will take them out of the fridge and let them come to room temp.

        So with room temp potatoes and chicken off the grill and likely close to room temp - do you think 1/5 hours at 200 degrees will be enough to warm the potatoes all the way through and not overdo the chicken?

        1. re: Bazel

          Couple of notes on the chicken: 200 degrees for 1.5 certainly is pushing it. From room temp I would give them 45 minutes at 300, then turn them up to 450 for 10 minutes to colour slightly. Don't put the gravy on until it is time to serve. yes it will keep them moist but it will also ruin the consistency of the sauce. Use a little chicken stock in the bottom of the tray, cover with foil. Pressing a cooling rack over the top to hold the chicken down, pour off stock when you turn up the oven and leave the foil off. The potato will need an hour at 300. If you can, whilst the chicken has it's final 10 minutes, re-whip the mash in a large pot on the stove with a little more butter and maybe some of the stock if it needs moisture.
          I would not pre cook the chicken in my opinion. You really can tell the difference quite easily, and if this is a gig though your sister you may want to go to extra effort. Of course, that it is hot and seasoned well is the main thing. Good luck, whatever you do.

          1. re: Bazel

            I think if you add your milk to the potatoes, mix them up really well to get any lumps out then cover with plastic wrap THEN foil and keep them in the oven, they should be warm by the time you need to serve. The chicken also....1 1/2 hours should be plenty of time.