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The Hospitality Guru (cooking) Back to Basics: Cocktail/starters

Updated on October 12, 2015

Presenting Hors D’oeuvres/Cocktail Starters

  • Cold hors d’oeuvres should be served chilled. Hot hors d’oeuvres should be served hot, on hot plates.
  • Cold hors d’oeuvres must be served on polished trays or plates.
  • Deep-fried foods should be drained completely of fat and be presented on hot plates or platters.
  • All sauces should be appropriate.
  • For the best presentation effects, variety hors d’oeuvres should be served in crystal raviers on polished crystal trays.
  • Plates, glasses and bowls for single serve hors d’oeuvres should be spotlessly clean, polished and of a simple design which does not detract from the appearance of the food.
  • Caviar is commonly served in a socle, a decorative container carved from ice. It makes for good presentation, and also keeps the caviar at optimum temperature.


Perishable food items should not be kept in the danger zone for too long and be stored under refrigeration at 1C – 3C degrees.

Dry goods are to be stored under sanitary dry store conditions.


  • Nowadays, hors d’oeuvres are referred to as starters.
  • The function of a starter is to stimulate the appetite.
  • Starters are divided into the two main categories of appetisers and entrees. Both can be served hot or cold.
  • Appetisers are served before the soup and entrees are served after the soup.
  • Cold starters can be served as either single portions or multiple portions
  • Cold hors d’oeuvres should be served chilled. Hot hors d’oeuvre should be served hot, on hot plates.
  • Deep fried food should be completely drained of fat.
  • Hot starters usually consist of a single item.
  • All plates, bowls, trays, raviers etc used for service should be spotlessly clean and polished.
  • All accompanying sauces should be appropriate.
  • Store perishable food items at 1C to 3C degrees and do not keep in danger zone for too long.


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