Catering and Banquets: Action Station
In the new setup in our cafeteria, we have a pasta and rice bowl action station. An action station is a station at a banquet where a cook demonstrates a particular dish in front of the guests. In our version, we set up a station with ingredients for a fresh pasta or rice dish, and cook it all in front of our diners.
This is my station set up for a mushroom and spinach risotto. I’ve pre-cooked the risotto until the rice kernels are almost cooked through. I cube butter, shred parmesan, and collect spinach for my station.
Here’s a wider shot of my station, from my point of view. You can see the burners on the left where I have set up my pans, some oil, wine, and salt and pepper for seasoning.
Once the diners arrive, I start re-heating the risotto, cooking the rice all the way through, adding some wine for liquid. Then, I add spinach, salt, and pepper. The spinach will wilt quickly, so I add butter and cheese to finish the risotto. Then, I pour the risotto directly onto the plate of the diner to serve it!
Action stations can be really fun if there are enough, but not to many customers. It’s great interacting directly with the diners, something we as cooks don’t always get to do. Getting to see the reaction of the diners to the sounds, sights, and smells of the food is great.
Another great way to have an action station is to have someone make you fresh crepes with a dessert sauce, or bananas foster, etc.