Q: I have just started a mini-catering service for a discerning client and need durable serveware that is both reusable and transportable en-masse. I have seen Pyrex portables for one or two casserole dishes, but I need something that will easily transport six or more.
Does this exist? Have you ever heard of such a thing?
Sent by Zom
Editor: Zom, that sounds like fun! But listen — you need to bypass Pyrex completely and get yourself straight to a restaurant supply shop! Start looking into Cambro portable systems and metal sheet pans with lids that slide on securely. There are entire systems of servingware built around this very kind of business, and we strongly suggest investing in some good pieces rather than cobbling together an assortment of consumer-level cookware.
Professional equipment is more expensive, but it is practically indestructible. We are thinking specifically of the systems of hot boxes that will hold three or four full sheet pans (and keep them hot for hours), as well as a good set of industrial-sized pans and lids. Depending on how you are transporting the food, a reliable set of transportation gear is priceless; it only takes one dumped out pot of soup in the trunk of a car to ruin your day (we have direct experience with this!).
Go to your local restaurant supply store, have a chat with a manager there, and see if they can custom-fit a package to your needs. Also ask about used equipment, and check Craigslist too for catering equipment being sold off.
Readers, any other advice for Zom and a new small-scale catering business?
Related: Good Question: Spill-Proof Containers for Leftovers?
(Image: Restaurant Source)