All establishments will have a standard size for the portioning of meals. You will need to check with your immediate supervisor as to the expectation of your workplace in this regard. A Certificate III in Commercial Cookery will introduce you to portion controls.
A portion is the amount of food commodity allowed per diner or per meal. Portion control is important for presentation, consistency and costing.
Portion control enables the establishment to accurately cost meals and to determine what the customer should be paying for the meal.
Careful control of the amount of food served to every customer – or portion control – is essential if you are to stick to the profit margins. Sound portion control can save an establishment hundreds or even thousands of dollars every year.
Food style, service and quality of food served must be designed to meet customer needs. If these needs are not met and customers do not perceive that they are receiving value for money, they will make their future food purchases from your competitors. Therefore it is important for consistency in the portion sizing.
Standard recipes are used in many restaurants to assist with portioning. A recipe is a formula which lists all the ingredients required and the method necessary to prepare a dish. They provide the basic information on preparation, cookery and service of dishes. You will also need to refer to the workplace standards in relation to instructions for portioning, plating and garnishing the food.
Generally the meat, fish or poultry component of the meal is considered the main item on the plate. Therefore this should be larger than other items and it should be presented so that it is obviously the main feature.
Many organisations have standard sized utensils for food service, limiting the amount of food per portion to the size of the utensil being used (e.g. if a dish has mashed potato then the portion sizes could be 2 scoops – this scoop would be the standard serving size for the venue, gravy could be one ladle per meal).
Organisations also use photographs which can be enlarged and placed on display above the plating area. These are intended to provide staff with examples of the amounts of food to be placed on each plate, plus any garnishes that are required.
Portioning out meals correctly is a key component of Certificate III in Commercial Cookery.