What is a chafing dish?
In a professional kitchen, you may regularly have to prepare food for large groups of people. It is during these situations that it becomes very important to keep every dish and ingredient at the right temperature. This minimises any possible bacteria growth and ensures that the food tastes great when being served. Chafing dishes have been specially developed to keep food at the right temperature without cooking it any further so that the food's taste is not altered. The appliances consist of a base that contains a heating element and a large metal container which can be placed on top of the base in order to keep the food warm. Moreover, a chafing dish is an excellent way to present meals during a buffet dinner or lunch.
How does a chafing dish work?
A chafing dish is very easy to use. Simply make sure that the appliance is connected to an electrical supply and select the desired operating temperature. The temperature can be set via a rotary knob that is located on the side of the chafing dish. The selected temperature is determined by the food that you will be serving; should the meal be piping hot or is 40 degrees Celsius warm enough? The appliance can keep a meal warm at any temperature between 40-80 degrees Celsius. Filling the metal dish with food before you place it on the base will prevent any food particles from getting onto the heating elements and causing problems when cleaning the device. Last but not least, place the stainless steel lids on the containers and you are ready to serve your dish.
What types of chafing dishes are available?
When buying a chafing dish, it is important to know which options are available. These convenient appliances are available in two different versions: models that operate with gas and those that are powered by electricity. Choosing a gas operated model will allow you more control over the temperature but they present a greater risk when being used due to the open flame under the chafing dish. Electric models are safer since they have no open flame and only require an electrical outlet in order to be used. Electrical models are also more portable which makes them a better choice if you have to move the appliance around regularly.
What should you look out for when buying a chafing dish?
Because a chafing dish is a fairly simple appliance there are not many choices involved when choosing which model to buy. However, it is important to choose the size of your chafing dish carefully. You want to make sure that the device is large enough to serve all your guests when cooking for a group or when using the device during a buffet. If you will be using the device often for buffets it might be wise to purchase several smaller chafing dishes to keep more than one dish or ingredient at the optimal temperature.
How do you clean a chafing dish?
Because a chafing dish is made up of a small number of parts, it is very easy to clean the device. Before starting, remember to turn the device off and unplug it for the electrical supply. Remove the large metal tray and place it and it's lid in your dishwasher for easy cleaning. You can use a damp cloth to clean the base of your chafing dish, remember to work carefully around the heating element and to remove any remaining food residue. Do not skip cleaning the outside of the appliance regularly since food debris can often be found here. Lastly, dry the machine off using a soft cloth and store it until its next use.
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