Also known as food warming equipment, these are important for organisation because chefs can prepare food ahead and keep them at safe temperatures until required, cutting down time between each meal served.
Heated Holding Cabinets
Used to keep extra food looking good and maintaining its taste until the time to refill orders or re-supply a display unit. This allows cooking before the peak hour and by cooking during off-peak hours, energy cost is reduced and when it gets busy, employees get to focus more on service to take more orders. By cooking more and storing them in a holding cabinet, better utilisation of cooking equipment is achieved and saves more money. Proper preservation of food helps them stay fresh and cuts down wastage.
On the flip side, a holding cabinet can rob food of its moisture, thus reducing the quality. This is due to the circulating fans, although distributing warm air to keep food moist; it also plays a part in drying them out. Also, steam can rob flavours by further diluting what is left. Therefore, a competent holding cabinet ought to have an even application of heat in a sealed environment to ensure food is good for serving later. Some cabinets are incorporated with automated systems to enable users to set the precise control for temperature and humidity to hold items for a long time, plus timers to help in tracking holding times for individual trays of food. Also, for operations that bake, cabinets can provide holding and proofing capabilities in one machine, providing better use of space and cost.
For banqueting use, cabinets are fitted with wheels for ease of moving and users can opt for two separate insulated compartments in one cabinet to hold different food at optimum temperature (hot or cold). In the hot compartment, convection heating is the standard for uniform temperature in the whole cabinet, for a quick heat up time and recovery of heat after door openings.
As for production material, aluminium has an edge due to being lightweight yet strong enough for heavy-duty holding task with excellent ability to transfer both heat and chill for increased efficiency by using less energy to heat up or cool the unit. Its impermeable surface is a thought towards hygiene matters and is corrosion resistant, like stainless steel but aluminium is 100% recyclable, adding to environmental benefits.[box style="rounded" border="full"]
“Holding cabinets are meant to do exactly what they are named after – hold. When doing your inventory at the beginning, you have to know how many you need. Know your maximum capacity and compliment with the right number of units. The ideal holding unit is on castors, so you can transport the hot food to your dining/serving area. It is important to have a holding cabinet with adjustable temperature setting, so the food is held at the correct temperature. For ease of operation, the weight and the size of the castors are important. Most people remember the hot holding cabinets, but the cold is equally important, as a combined hot and cold transport cart can be the ideal solution for some applications”.[/box]