Steam table foods!
Gear mentioned in this thread:
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.
Are you using a binder? Roux or cornstarch?
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.
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?
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.
The OP was two years ago and the post seems never to have returned.