Speaking of meals and guests, the ambiance or the service can influence the mood of the party. If you are throwing a party for your friends, a rustic counter table service can set the mood. Planning an over-the-top dinner for your boss and his family? A silver table service might impress him, and get you your promotion. Redesigning your kitchen? But are confused how to style the breakfast table? Ditch the traditional table and chairs, spruce up your dining area with a breakfast counter table, and recreate an American diner right at home.The ideas sound interesting, but you are still not sure what a silver table or a counter table service is, are you? Every service style is unique, and is characterized by a distinct style of its own.
The highlight of this type of service is the use of the 'gueridon' or a mobile cooking trolley, which has a burner, cooling store, provision for storing cutlery and crockery, and other fundamental cooking utilities. The dish to be served is half-cooked in the kitchen, and is finished in front of the guests at the table. The Gueridon service is practiced at select hotels and restaurants, and can be used to serve starters, main courses, as well as desserts.
It is characterized by complete silverware laid out on beautiful, silk dining linen. Each course, starting from soups to desserts, is served in appropriate bowls and plates, and needs to be eaten with separate sets of forks, knives, and spoons. The waiters go around serving the guests in a clockwise direction. Other norms like serving food from the left, but drinks and meals that have already been plated from the right, need to be strictly followed.
Just like the name suggests, food is served like it is served in cafeterias at schools, universities, airports, hospitals, bakeries, or industrial canteens. Food is either refrigerated in glass cupboards so that the customer can see through and choose from what is available, or is lined up in containers that can keep the food hot for longer periods. Since this kind of service caters to large groups, the food is cooked in bulk at one time.
A type that encourages self-service, it requires the customer to come up to the tables where food is served, and help himself. The crockery and cutlery is arranged at one corner of the serving tables, and the food is served in bain-maries lined up across the tables. Food served at parties, weddings, and business lunches use this kind of service.
A favorite in sushi bars, this service has counters over which the guests can be seated on one side, and the food is being cooked on the other side. The counters are lined up with tall chairs or stools. This design is often implemented in fast food chains or at homes as breakfast bars or breakfast counters.
The American style of service doesn't plate up the food or serve it to the customer in front of him. The food is served in plates or bowls in the kitchen itself, and brought to the customer at his table. So, the portions of food that go onto a plate are not decided by the customer, but by the chef in the kitchen.
The host of the meal plays a very important role in an English table service, and is therefore, called 'host service'. The food is brought to the table by the waiters straight to where the host is seated. The host is either served first, or he divides the food into sizable portions and serves it to the guests (first to the main guest or guest of honor, if there is any.)
Anyone who has ever stayed at a hotel would be familiar with this kind of food service. Guests staying at a hotel order for food and meals, and ask to be served in their rooms. Smaller orders like snacks or dinner for one or beverages are brought to the guest's room in trays, while bigger orders like group lunches are brought down to the room by the waiter in food trolleys.
Since you are now familiar with the different ways in which you can serve food, the next time you organize a party, may be you can use one of the above mentioned styles, and take the fun element in the party up a notch!