A la minute plate-ups can be challenging but they allow the chef to add his or her signature finish to each dish.
Maintaining flavor, freshness and a personalized touch are some of the largest challenges when serving banquets and large evnets. Every plate that heads to the dining room must receive the approval of the chef without slowing down the rushed pace of service.
A live plate-up is when the chef chooses to build every dish on the plate the moment before it heads out to the table. The process requires intricate coordination to bring all the prepared ingredients together at the right moment without sacrificing visual appearance, temperature, or flavor.
This process, often known as à la minute or cooked-to-order preparation, takes the place of high-quantity cooking when the meals are prepared and kept in warming boxes until they are served. In this alternate scenario, meals may be prepped, or even fully cooked, before service begins and with minimal room for substitutions. While this option may make service for larger events run more smoothly, the chef has less control over the plate when it heads out to the table.
Popular choices for live plate-up menu items are homemade pasta with freshly prepared sauces, a protein cooked in a pan sauce, or any dish that shows off a creative presentation. The chef has the opportunity to personalize every plate in the moment it is made, as opposed to preparing with the hotbox in mind.
For many members, life plate-ups add an extra level of luxury to their event or dining experience. The meal has clearly been prepared specifically for them, allowing for greater variation, optimum heat, and pique freshness. At a club, this is yet another way for a member to get to know the unique style and talents of the chef.
While this personalized method of prep may not be appropriate for all meals and events, the draw of the live plate-up provides an excellent opportunity to impress guests and ensure the finest dining experience.