Keeping food warm is very important for a catering professional. Not only does this serve enjoyable meals, it's also essential to prevent food poisoning. If you run a catering service, what are the most reliable methods of keeping your products warm? What containers are suitable for keeping food warm?
Caterers: use containers that keep products warm
In recent years, home meal delivery has gained ground. The closure of restaurants and the various confinements due to the health crisis have accentuated this trend. Since the pandemic, 6 out of 10 French people have got into the habit of having meals delivered.
To serve hot meals to take away or deliver, nothing beats the aluminum tray. Unlike the plastic tray, the aluminum tray allows you to respect the hot chain as well as the cold chain. Aluminum sheets have good thermal stability. These containers can even extend the shelf life of your dishes. They are also ecological items, as they are infinitely recyclable. For catering services, if you want professional quality aluminum trays, know that there are different models.
To keep your products warm in your restaurant, you can opt for the stainless steel gastronorm tray, commonly called stainless steel tray. It is resistant to temperature variations and can be used for hot or cold storage. This container is light and easy to transport despite its metal structure and great resistance. The stainless steel containers with cover are the most practical for keeping your products warm. This container is compatible with virtually all professional heating devices and can withstand temperatures up to 300°C.
Appliances and equipment to keep food warm
There are many devices for keeping products and dishes warm.
The slow cooker
It is an appliance for keeping a wide variety of preparations warm, including more liquid dishes and specialties such as soups, stews, purées, soups and sauces. In general, slow cookers can keep warm up to 80°C.
Convenient if you serve a fairly limited number of guests, cookers, including steamers, keep products warm for about an hour after cooking. For steam cookers, lift the lid for a few seconds to allow the steam to escape and to prevent the products from overcooking.
The solution most used by professionals, it keeps several dishes warm, up to 120°C without burning them. Just be sure to transfer food to oven-safe containers. If you need to keep dishes warm for more than an hour or two, stir them occasionally to preserve their textures and flavors.
The chafing digh or professional dish warmer
The chafing dish is a must in professional kitchens and the favorite equipment of demanding cooks. It keeps your dishes warm evenly. Models with halogen lamps are capable of heating up to 110°C. There are also models that can accommodate several containers to heat different dishes at the same time.
Heated cupboards and showcases
These devices allow you to keep a large number of dishes at the right temperature. Heated cabinets have larger capacities and are suitable for events with hundreds of guests, while heated display cases are more aesthetic and more practical for dining rooms.
Other more specific devices
These are not the only devices or equipment to keep food warm. There are other more specific devices such as soup dispensers, chip stations, thermal bridges, insulated containers or even condiment boxes.
What is the right temperature to keep food warm?
When you keep a dish warm, the ideal temperature is 70°C. At this temperature, you do not risk recooking the products or dehydrating them. This temperature level will also prevent the proliferation of bacteria. Cover containers or containers without lids with aluminum foil.