Steam table foods!

Discussion in 'Professional Catering' started by chefsherry23, Feb 22, 2014.

  1. chefsherry23

    chefsherry23

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    Started working at a new restaurant. Or well one that has been taken over. They have steam tables. The food never looks good! Other than meatballs what lunch foods are good for steam table service?

    Thanks!
     
  2. raytappy

    raytappy

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    Almost any food is good for the steam table. You should shy away from fried foods, although i do oven fried beer battered shrimp and oven fries that hold up well. It is all just a matter of rotation and using the freshest possible food, and whatever you do don't cook directly in the pans.

    What we do is cook, chill, retherm for the steam table. we use combi ovens which inject moisture and we also heat as close to serving time as possible not letting it sit in the steam table or holding cabinet for more then 10 to 15 minutes. The Gourmet shop that I am Chef in has 16 wells and we do about 6,000 to 7,000 a week in steam table sales at a 45% food cost and this is between the hours of 10 and 3 Monday to Friday. 

    I feel like we are successful at it and it is easy money.
     
  3. grande

    grande

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    Most places i've worked, steam tables are just used for holding mashers, rice, sauces, soups, shredded bbq type meats. An unused well makes a good ice bath for garnishes. Are they not set up for cooking to order or just don't want to?
     
  4. smoodz1

    smoodz1

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    at our restaurant we use steam tables however i seem to be having a problem with the cream based soups breaking down.  we tried double panning them and have the table set between 3 and 4 to not over heat...any suggestions
     
  5. grande

    grande

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    Check your actual holding temp... in the states its 140; you don't *need to hold hotter than that. Also, when actually heating them you don't need to go over 165°. So don't set yourself up for failure. Als, don't expect to get more than a day.or two out of them
    Are you using a binder? Roux or cornstarch?
     
  6. smoodz1

    smoodz1

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    we use a roux however some such as our clam chowder if from a bag and just add milk...sill separate by the end of the same day
     
  7. grande

    grande

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    Check your heating and holding temps with a thermoter, regularly. Make sure you're making the bagged soups right, as weird as that sounds
     
  8. raytappy

    raytappy

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    Try Culinary Cream by minors, it is a stabilizer.  I use it to hold butter sauces, hollandaise and to keep my chicken and egg also tuna salad moist. It works great.
     
  9. edward mercedes

    edward mercedes

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     Hello Raytappy What kind of food do you display on the steam table that holds up well, can you give me some ideas please.?
     
  10. tralfaz

    tralfaz

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    Bone in skin on chicken thighs can keep for 2+ hours as long as there's 1/4 - 1/2 cup liquid in the bottom.  Home style casserole dishes work pretty well (lasagne, tuna noodle, chicken and dumplings, tamale pie) as long as you occasionally add that same 1/4 - 1/2 cup water so that the bottom doesn't get all crusty.  Soft polenta.   Green things are tricky, we do green beans with walnuts and tamari,  collards with bacon and chard with  brown butter and sage.  Those only keep for 1-1 1/2  hrs, but sell pretty fast.  Root vegetables (parsnips, carrots, sweet potatoes and red onions) in butter and dried herbs.  We use a steamer for all those vegetables and set them out slightly firm.  The veggies go from slightly firm to slightly soft in that 1-1 1/2 hours but it's a range that satisfies most customers... and we sell a lot.
     
  11. chefross

    chefross

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    Welcome to ChefTalk chefsherry23:

    You don't tell us the serving situation with your steam tables.

    Are you a cafeteria?

    The key word in any steam table like place is attention to detail.

    We have all walked up to a steam table line to see the shingles slices of meatloaf doused with brown gravy that has a skin.

    The pan looks like the gravy has lumps of gathered skin mixed into it because someone came along and stirred it up.  Yup....Lovely isn't it?

    ANY FOOD THAT SITS IN A STEAM TABLE TOO LONG SUFFERS QUALITY WISE!!!

    I have witnessed cooks who put pans of food in the warmers so they can go outside and have a smoke.

    The food cooks in the warmer even before it goes out to the line.

    When I worked in college food service, I wouldn't allow the pan to go below 1/8 before it was changed to a fresh one.

    Steam table service  depends on time.

    How long is service? Is it all day or for one time deals?

    Do you have in place, a system to monitor the quality of the food while on the line?
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2016
  12. jimyra

    jimyra

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    Steam table pans come in many sizes.  I would suggest using smaller pans so that your food spends less time on the table.  Also you should have someone constantly monitoring, stirring, and replenishing so you don't develop a skin on that meatloaf.
     
    flipflopgirl likes this.
  13. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

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    This works for any situation where food is involved.

    One of the first rules of entertaining that used to be passed down from mom to daughter...

    My Gma Van put it nicely...." never take the last portion from a dish" was her way of letting us know if the guests are still eating the dishes needed to be replenished.

    If the kitchen is running low start using smaller dishes.

    If you cannot fill the smallest dish from your cabinet then remove it completely and either sub something else yummy (and there was always something waiting in her kitchen for this sort of situation) or rearrange the table to make it less obvious that you are being eaten out of house and home lol.

    The sign of a good cook is to have to make a huge grocery run the day after a party.

    Sorry rambling...this time of the year makes me a bit sentimental.

    Merry Christmas to all.

    mimi
     
  14. phaedrus

    phaedrus

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    The OP was two years ago and the post seems never to have returned.