Action Stations Are an Exciting Win-Win for Everyone
By Robert Trainor Exec Chef, Hilton | September 02, 2010
Although catering has always been an important factor in the success of hotel food and beverage departments, today it has evolved to share focal point status with the other outlets. Food quality and service is expected to equal, if not exceed, what you would find in the restaurant. Clients want creativity and variety. They are savvy, they hold numerous events in many different venues, and they are constantly challenging operators to come up with new ideas.
Action stations are still a great way to spice up any catering event. Advances in portable equipment have made it possible to put a wide range of foods into action. The opportunities are limited only by your creativity.
Carved Meat, Omelets and Made-to-Order Ice Creams
There will always be a place in the hearts of American diners for the carving station. There's just something about watching succulent cuts of turkey, beef, ham or even fish being tenderly, lovingly sliced to your personal specifications. But today, the carving station is certainly not the whole story - and not even the headliner - in modern action station land. The omelet station may have been the first catering event foray into the concept of made-to-order, but now there are countless ways to wow your guests.
The public's infatuation with chefs, cooking and the action station continues to evolve. Action stations add a sense of theater to a buffet or reception. Cooking in front of the guest entices all their senses - the visual appeal of the colors and textures of the food, the aroma as it is prepared and the sounds of food being cooked. Action stations generate excitement and can be a great ice breaker.
You are no longer limited to putting the action station at the end of a long buffet table. Range them around the room and vary what's taking place at each location. This set up forces movement around the room and helps you control traffic flow. For example, you can have your traditional roast beef carving station, and across the room set up a Peking Duck station. At the Hilton Short Hills, one of our most-requested stations is the Whipped Potato Bar. Creamy whipped potatoes are mixed to the guest's order with various condiments like bacon bits, caramelized onions, braised leeks, fresh herbs and more. The concoction is then presented in a Martini style glass.