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Borgata Buffet in Atlantic City, N.J.

A 560-seat buffet restaurant at the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa emphasizes fresh menu items prepared in front of customers. Supporting a FOH display kitchen and buffet line are BOH production, cook-chill and garde manger facilities, as well as a full-service bakery. Designed by Dougall Design, a Pasadena, Calif., firm that also designed Las Vegas' MGM Grand Hotel and Casino, the Monte Carlo Resort and Casino, and Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, Borgata was the first resort of its kind to be built in Atlantic City in 13 years. This $1.1 billion joint venture between Boyd Gaming Corp, and MGM MIRAGE houses 2,002 guest rooms, a 125,000-square-foot casino, 11 destination restaurants (five fine-dining and six casual-dining operations) and five bars, 11 retail boutiques, a 50,000-square-foot spa, 70,000-square-feet of event space, a 1,000-seat theater and parking for 7,100 cars. The gaming space includes 145 tables, 3,650 slot machines, keno, a racing book and other attractions.

Among the 80-item menu choices served at the Borgata buffet are Asian dishes. A Mongolian barbecue range, a wok range and a deep-fat fryer are used by chefs to prepare foods such as sea-food stir fry, vegetable spring rolls and mango chicken. “We designed individual, electric-powered heating units for woks to sit in,” said John Egnor, principal, JEM Associates, Linwood, N.J., who provided consulting and design services for all the Borgata's foodservice operations. “Their electrical element provides direct heat to the woks, which were constructed with flattened bottoms in order to provide maximum contact with the heat.”

Dieters must beware of temptation at the Borgata buffet. Flanking both sides of the service line are identical dessert stations that display pastries made in the hotel's BOH bakery. In addi-tion, many selections of freshly made gelato are offered.

The pizza station is especially appropriate for guest entertainment as chefs demonstrate their pizza dough-making skills while customers look on. Once the dough is prepared and shaped, sauces, cheese and toppings are added and then the finished pies are cooked in a deck oven. “We selected a model with a vertical door because it allows chefs and customers to see more of the products cooking in the equipment,” explained Egnor.

The full-service bakery provides breads, rolls, cakes, pies, pastries and other baked goods for the entire hotel. This well-equipped area includes a “revolving tray” oven, a rack oven, a proofing box, a sheeter and bakers' racks. In addition, the bakery is equipped with walk-in coolers, a freezer, dry storage, worktables, a batch freezer, a microwave, a chocolate melter, two 20-gallon steam kettles, 40-, 80-, 140- and 250-quart mixers, a four-burner range and exhaust hoods. 

In the buffet restaurant's main BOH production kitchen, kettles are used to prepare menu items such as mashed potatoes. Also in this kitchen are a tilting skillet, a stationary skillet, a four-burner range, a bain marie, two pressure steamers, three double convection ovens, a water wash exhaust hood, a griddle and a charboiler, pan racks, a fish fryer and pressure fryers. A large “ro-tating tray” oven is used to finish prime rib, other meats and turkey.

The rustic, 18th-century Tuscan villa motif in the buffet restaurant is extended to the buffet serving line, which surrounds an array of display production equipment. Tile-rimmed front sur-faces of the buffet equipment are juxtaposed against contemporary stainless-steel equipment posi-tioned in the 3,000-square-foot display kitchen to produce an Old World-meets-New ambiance. Containers holding food are placed on black-glass holding surfaces. Equipment that is visible be-hind this section includes a rotisserie, a sauté range and a charbroiler. “We designed the buffet to feature all-day-long cooking, so customers would know the foods being prepared are fresh,” said Egnor.

The charbroiler, undercounter refrigerators and other equipment in the buffet restaurant's dis-play kitchen are positioned so staff can produce large quantities of food within a compact cooking area.