For many caterers, business picks up when summer and wedding season arrives. One of the challenges of a wedding is that many of these events happen off-site and in unfamiliar locations. Some occur in rental halls with limited or no kitchen space and many take place in every caterer’s biggest challenge, the great outdoors. These types of events stretch catering supervisors memory of food safety certification training and require extra careful preparation.
Food Safety Certification Guide to Outdoor Weddings
Knowing your off-site venue helps you prepare for efficient and safe food service. Multiple reconnaissance trips give you insight into your challenges and help you plan accordingly. Whether transporting menu items of monitoring buffet line, you must remember certain rules to prevent food-borne illness from ruining the couple’s big day.
- Food must be handled hands free
- Ample utensils must be available if no dishwashing station is present
- Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold
Any staff members preparing food must follow hand-free regulations. Having food-service gloves or serving utensils present offers a readily available solution. If there are no restroom facilities, a mobile hand washing station may be required.
Keeping hot and cold foods out of the danger zone reduces the risk of spreading contaminates. Chafing dishes or a portable warmer to keep food hot is essential, and frequently replenishing the ice keeping cold food displays below 40 degrees goes a long way towards giving guests an enjoyable experience rather resulting in memories of the sickness of the day after. If there is a passed appetizer reception, food can only be served for any hour before being replaced with fresh items.
When catering an outdoor wedding or any event, notifying guests to potential allergens such as dairy, nuts and shellfish is important. Having a menu placard in front of each dish that contains allergens alerts those who cannot consume these items to their presence.
If you’re a caterer, do you have any tips for preventing the spread of illness at large outdoor gatherings such as weddings? If so, feel free to share.