Off-Premise Equipment

Discussion in 'Professional Catering' started by mdecklever, Dec 23, 2014.

  1. mdecklever

    mdecklever

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    I Just Like Food
    Hello everyone,

    I am hoping that a few of you might be able to help me out. I'm trying to get a feel for some of the equipment that you use for off-premise events. Specifically, I'm interested in some of the holding and transport equipment for both hot and cold food. I'm wondering what you see as the best things out there, the "I-can't-live-without". Is there anything not worth the money? Anything you wish you had but either doesn't exist or is a bit too expensive?

    Thank you in advance for any and all replies. 

    Happy Holidays!

    Michael
     
  2. mikeswoods

    mikeswoods

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    I've been out of the business for 20 years---

    This should be interesting---we had a large stock of Cambro hot boxes--along with some electric ones.

    Come on gang--jump in and add some brand names---I just don't know who is the best any more--

    We owned and wore out many BIG JOHN charcoal grills--good tough units--they also had 'Antique" cast iron table top stoves--with a big burner--hot enough for a wok---they were a fine company to do business with---good solid professional equipment and fast shipping.

    We owned most of our off premise equipment---including linen---
     
  3. chefedb

    chefedb

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    I had 2 or 3 alto shams plus cambros, portable stoves 1  4 burner 1 6 burner gas pastry stove portable ice cream freezers and so on , Everything on wheels , All dishes wrapped in plastic wrap 10 per package shipped in milk boxes
     
  4. meezenplaz

    meezenplaz

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    I always used Cambros, but find the best product warranty. And these can be used for hot OR cold,

    but stay consistent--they come in different colors, I used black or brown for cold, red, blue etc for hot.

    Get the single height ones that can also stack together. I also highly recommend getting a wheeled

    cart for the thermal boxes--there are just times when you have to wheel them a bit off a ways for access.

    Electric boxes are nice too, but I don't know any brand names. The nice thing about the metal holding boxes

    is that in a pinch with no power you can drop a sterno in the bottom of one to keep things pretty warm.

    Works nice for holding stuff like 200 baked potatoes.  They can also serve as a steam box with a tray o

    water in them.  
     
  5. mdecklever

    mdecklever

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    The Cambros seem to be popular. Do they work even if there is no power? It looks like they heat up, but if you have to leave them unplugged because you are out in a vineyard or something, do they keep things hot and/or cold?

    I hadn't heard of the alto shaams. Will have to take a look.
     
  6. chefboyog

    chefboyog

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    You can get hot and cold inserts for cambros.

    The grey is hot one you heat it in the oven first.

    I havent used either but plan to.
     
  7. chefedb

    chefedb

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    I never owned a Cambro that required external electric power.
     
  8. hproctor

    hproctor

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    I always used Cambro too, that brand seems to be a staple in the industry. I have used alto shams as well, they are electric stand up boxes with inserts that accept sheetpans. They can also be used as a makeshift oven if all else fails. My last suggestion is to make sure you have a good supply of quality service tools, including a road box for knives. You don't necessarily want to haul expensive forged knife sets with you to events.
     
  9. meezenplaz

    meezenplaz

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    I concur completely. I take a good sized batch of knives to events. But only one or two decent ones I keep hidden away in case I need some

    faster more precise work. Then they get put away again. I've learned the hard way that the knives people seem to want to "borrow"

    are your best ones--and you're damn lucky if you get 'em back, so most of what I take and let the help use cost 5 bucks or less. .  
     
  10. foodpump

    foodpump

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    Oh they've got 'em, huge units that accept 18 x 26 sheet pans, very expensive though.  Usually meant for institutional holding and serving.

    The way I "preheated" my cambros was with bricks.  I kept a couple of foil wrapped bricks in the garland oven all the time.  When I needed to pre-heat a cambro, I drop a hot brick or two in a shallow pan, lock the door, and then maybe 15 mins later take the bricks out and pop the food in.  Standard maintainance/hygiene with those (we had 5 of the 300 mpc) was to slide the doors off, remove the rubber gasket, and run both through the dishwasher after every use.  They were always stored with the doors removed but nestled inside the unit.  Bad things happen if you don't.......

    **Caveat with beverage cambros:  


    Keep one--and only one reserved for coffee (ours was black).  You'll never get coffee flavor out of it. Ever.  For tea service we had another cambro with only hot water and a selection of tea bags on the side. 
     
    mikeswoods likes this.
  11. mikeswoods

    mikeswoods

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    We bought a lot of good equipment used---look for ads or auctions---our heated stainless steel hot boxes were all bought used--

    Cambros--those were all new and replaced when they became scuffed and unpresentable.
     
  12. meezenplaz

    meezenplaz

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    Really hot water works okay in a pinch. As long as you don't mind "steaming it up" at the same time.
    Don't I know it-- I have TWO bev-cams and Ive tried EVERYthing to get those damned coffee stains out--from soap to boiling water

    to bleach. Nada. They were originally used for regular and decaf coffees. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/frown.gif I swear they use the wrong plastic for those things.
    Haha, the first guy I worked for in Catering had like 4 Cambros, all totally shot. One was so bad--had a huge split in it that

    collected all forms of germs both known and unknown, you could see the insulation clearly beneath the plastic--so bad,

    that we had to wrap it in vinyl to make it presentable enough to take anywhere. Cheapskate just couldn't pop for another one. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/mad.gif
     
  13. mikeswoods

    mikeswoods

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    We looked on our equipment as our advertizing---all was clean and in top shape--

    all of the bigger items had our logo on them---trucks were always rust free and shiny--

    the insides were painted at least twice a year.

    We served food---clean and shiny sold the next job------the logos helped guests remember who the caterer was.
     
  14. meezenplaz

    meezenplaz

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    Oh jeez, don't even get me started on his transport vehicle. LOL

    I of course agree with everything you're saying... he didn't. He was what those

    like him call "old school" . Aka, get things done as cheaply and as lazily as

    possible. Yet through all that I can honestly say I always served healthy food,

    and that was because of MY diligence, certainly not his.
     
  15. meezenplaz

    meezenplaz

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    Well I agree, that's definitely the right way to do it--open and honest, everything foodish readily visible.
     
  16. mikeswoods

    mikeswoods

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    We had some unexpected customers--I am sure it was because of our clean and shiny facility--and equipment.

    The local heath department used us for employee parties---

    We also did the demonstration cooking for Sysco--

    and many food service companies that you might think would do their own catering--

    Marriot--McDonalds--Dennys--and a bunch of others---