There are a number of ways a caterer can set up your catered event, from standing receptions to formal seated dinners. When reviewing your catering options, you might wonder, “What is French Service?”
French service is a method of serving food where the food can be partially cooked in the kitchen and cooking is completed tableside, or the ingredients are assembled, prepared or presented right at the table.
It is the kind of personalized service you might expect at a Five Michelin Star restaurant or a high-end resort. However, it is available to you at your catered event even right here in metro Washington DC!
Let’s look at some examples of French Service.
French Service: Food Prepared Tableside
In this method of French Service, foods can be cooked or reheated on a small hot plate that is brought out on a serving cart, also called a guerdon. The final preparation is done tableside and guests are served their plates from the cart. These are generally foods that take a short time to prepare and can include a flambéed item or a Caesar salad, for example.
Certain procedures can also be performed tableside, including slicing, deboning, mixing and garnishing.
French Service: Banquet-style Serving
For another type of French Service, large trays of food are prepared in the kitchen and taken by servers to the guest table. Holding the tray in one hand, and using two large silver forks in the other, the server transfers servings of food onto the guest’s plates individually. Items added to the plate by a server, like a sauce, dressing or soup ladled into a bowl are also considered this type of French Service.
What Experience is Needed for French Service?
Because of the intricacies of French Service and the expectations of our clients, a caterer must provide only the most well-trained and highly-experienced servers. At Maison Culinaire, we have schooled our best servers in all the methods of French Service so that we can offer this elegant option for weddings and special events.
Since French Service requires more time and room to be performed most effectively, it generally works best for smaller gatherings, rather than a 2000-person banquet. This way, guests receive the utmost in personal attention without feeling crowded or rushed.
Is French Service More Expensive?
More servers per guest count are needed to carry this service off with élan, so it is generally a more expensive option than a seated and plated catering service. In addition, the food preparation and service is different and more intricate when the need to prepare or serve it tableside is there. That may be another reason to reserve French Service for a more intimate special occasion.
How did French Service Begin?
True to its name, French Service had its beginning in the royal French courts as a way to impress the royals and guests. Foods were presented in large trays with impressive amounts and presentations. Guests could select the foods they wanted from these trays, and elaborate trays of food kept coming out to the delight of the guests. Cooking foods in front of the guests added to the amusement.
What is French Service? Ask Maison Culinaire!
French Service is just one of the ways Maison Culinaire can design the perfect catered wedding or special event for you. In addition, we can provide catering service in the style of standing receptions, grazing stations, buffets, sit-down plated dinners, picnics, box lunches, barbecues, and almost anything you can envision. We provide catering for individuals, corporate businesses, GSA/Government events, non-profit organizations, and more.
If you would like more information about French Service or any of our catering services for your wedding or special event, please contact Maison Culinaire. We’ll be glad to review the many options with you. Contact us today.