Reheating Food On Site

Joined May 9, 2019
I hope you don't mind my question, I am a professional event manager working medium size events.

I have searched and searched online with no answers. I am based in the UK, but I see the rules in respect of reheating are quite the same everywhere.

Are wedding and event caterers just using chafing dishes to reheat food?

I'm seeing lots of mobile event caterers with hot food serving from the table, no ovens and it appears they do not have enough hot holding boxes for all of the dishes they have.

If they are reheating at the table before serving, is this safe and more so is it common?

Can anyone tell me if this happens a lot, and if so what should be happening instead. Presumably not all carry a mobile oven when there is no kitchen facility.

Any replies appreciated. Thank you
Joined Oct 10, 2005
Most health inspectors will tell you it’s illegal ( and really, really stupid) to heat up chilled foods in a chafer or steam table.

Catering for almost 20 years, the two acceptable methods for serving hot food at a remote location are:

Transporting hot (70-80 cel) food in insulated boxes I.e. Cambro or picnic coolers. This works well for anything moist—sauced pasta, sauced meat, mashed potatoes, etc., but is terrible for dry or crispy foods.


Transporting food cold, then heating up at location on butane burners, portable convection ovens, gas/propane bbqs., ( which is really just a giant oven...)clients household stoves, or commercial equipment at catering/church/school halls.

Anything other than those two methods is just asking for trouble.
Joined Feb 8, 2009
I agree with foodpump. The chafer is used to keep food hot, not cook it. In my many off-sit catering's I either cooked and held the food at temp over 140 degrees or cooked on site. This all depends on the menu. You will see people hold and cooking food using all kinds of methods. There are only a few right ways of do it.......Good luck.....ChefBillyB
Joined May 30, 2019
Foodpump is correct, do not use a chafer to reheat or cook food.. You'll want to heat your food up to correct temp as fast as you can without compromising quality. We are required in the states to reheat already cooked foods to 160 degrees Fahrenheit as quickly as possible and hold at 135 degrees Fahrenheit or higher during service. Product can be in the danger zone for 4 hours max but will need to be monitored and logged..

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