Reheating Food On Site

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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
 
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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.

Or

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.
 
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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
 
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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..
 

phatch

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IP numbers indicate Tim is from New Zealand. Might they have different standards than elsewhere?
 
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Joined Nov 9, 2020
I guess so... not. Bacteria and Food Borne Illness doesn't pay too much attention to national borders... Also, whay is the process of cooking? Heating up food. :emoji_rolling_eyes: "Non-professionals" don't heat up food?? :emoji_laughing:

Food safety says food has to be held at or below 4ºC or above 60ºC... There are on-line food safety classes (some free) that will tell you how to keep food safe. And if you're doing this in a professional situation, upi need a way (as mentioned above) to either hold your food at a safe temp OR a way to hold it at a lower safe temp until you get to the venue then prepare it on site.

And no - you can't heat food in chafing dishes... someone doing that can make people pretty ill. I don't know any PROFESSIONAL who would even attempt such a stunt. A mom and pop trying to cater by themselves, maybe, but it will be an event remembered in not a good way.
 
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Joined Apr 25, 2021
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.

Or

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.
Thank you for this post foodpump foodpump .
I just started my catering service and also selling prepared meals at a local farmers market. Have had customers wanted to buy a meal but thought it was hot. So I started exploring a solution to have 35% of my products at the market hot. Get a
1. 3400 watt generator
2. Vollrath 40703 Half-Size Countertop Convection Oven (1600 watts)
3. Skyfood FWD2-22-4P 22 1/2" Full Service Countertop Heated Display Case (600 watts)

The Vollrath is pricey but the con I saw with the vollrath was the price... other brands about $500 - $600 But need help to pick
agu guidance or recommendations on a good portable convection oven for outdoor use powered by a generator.
also any recommendations on a warm for display case?

My goal of to take
1. 35% of products hot in Cambrio
2. If I run out, be able to heat up more fast.

what ever is not heated and used I put back in refrigerator or freezer to minimize waste.

I do
- grilled chicken thighs
- Oven roasted chicken
- Puff balls
- Oven roasted whole fish (sea bass)
- Roasted salmon fillets
 
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Joined Apr 26, 2012
IP numbers indicate Tim is from New Zealand. Might they have different standards than elsewhere?
They may have different standards, but food safety is the issue.

Anything between the temps of 40 degrees F and 140 degrees F (4.44 C - 60 C) is breeding grounds for bacteria that causes foodborne illness.
 
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Joined Dec 29, 2019
IP numbers indicate Tim is from New Zealand. Might they have different standards than elsewhere?
No, the very act of trying to get food hot in a warmer leaves it in the danger zone, never gets it hot enough to pasteurize. NZ has the same salmonella and botulism as everywhere else.

Classic case is the convenience stores that try to warm cheese dip in the warmer, they put cold sauce in it and turned it on, result was severe food poisoning, thats why theres a safety label on every warmer.
Its botulism roulette. this happened to a chef.
 

phatch

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Which wasn't exactly my point, more that other equipment or techniques may be in consideration, not that biology was different.
 

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