One thing that essentially every foodservice provider is familiar with is hot holding.
Unfortunately, most chefs are also familiar with the let down they experience when they grab their once perfectly cooked food from the holding cabinet, only to find it overcooked and dried out. This unavoidable, traditional hot holding is considered by many as a necessary evil.
The reason food is drying out and overcooking is because of the way it is being held and heated. Traditional holding cabinets use fans and air motion to distribute heat that is frequently too hot and harsh for food to handle. Many holding cabinets feature a harsh heating element that can reach temperatures up to 20 times hotter than the food itself. This powerful heat and forced air system causes evaporation within the food. Evaporation then leads to degraded food quality, overcooking and lower yields.
“These are the two negative elements acting on food that causes it to dry out,” says Alto-Shaam corporate chef Andy Mayeshiba. “Dry blowing air is the biggest downfall of most food being held.”
There Is a Better Way
Say goodbye to overcooked, dried out food and protein shrinkage. Experience better food quality and higher yields with Alto-Shaam’s Halo Heat® technology. This gentle, radiant heat evenly surrounds food without the use of extremely hot elements, added humidity or a fan. Instead, Halo Heat features a low-density thermal cable that is wrapped around the sides and bottom of the holding cavity. The cable emits even temperatures and pulses on and off throughout the holding process. This cable provides precise, low temperatures with minimal intensity, leaving food full of moisture and flavor. There is no forced evaporation or harsh heat to degrade food quality.
“With these units, temperatures don’t fluctuate like in a traditional holding cabinet,” says Mayeshiba. “For this reason, food won’t overcook, since it’s not exposed to too high temperatures. The heat also is being distributed more evenly and gently throughout the holding cavity.”
Whether holding food for an upcoming service or for merchandising, Alto-Shaam’s hot holding equipment is designed to make time stand still in terms of product quality. This allows for food preparation outside of busy service times, flexibility and less waste. When meat is placed in an Alto-Shaam heated holding cabinet, it still comes out juicy and naturally tenderized.
Cook & Hold Ovens and More
Halo Heat isn’t limited to holding cabinets. Halo Heat technology is used in other Alto-Shaam products including cook and hold ovens, food wells, warming drawers, merchandisers and display cases, smokers and carving stations. Whatever the size and need of a kitchen may be, Alto-Shaam’s Halo Heat equipment can provide a solution to best fit any hot holding need.
The History of Halo Heat
Halo Heat was invented in the late 1960s when Jerry Maahs, owner of a Chicken Delight franchise, was struggling to keep his chicken hot during cold Wisconsin winters. As an entrepreneur and innovator of the foodservice industry, Jerry set out to find a solution for this problem. A solution was actually discovered while watching a Green Bay Packers football game in December of 1967. Because of freezing weather and immensely cold conditions, this game is known in history as the Ice Bowl. Jerry discovered that an electric thermal cable was run under the surface of the field in order to prevent it from freezing.
“I found out about thermal heating cable. The heat was gentle and even,” Maahs said. “We quickly realized we had something special.”
Jerry took inspiration from this technology and created his first hot box featuring a thermal cable. Halo Heat made its debut at a National Restaurant Association show in the 1960s.
After Jerry created his holding cabinet using Halo Heat technology, he began experimenting with extended holding times. When he held meat overnight, he discovered that the food was naturally tenderized. Jerry then invented the first cook & hold oven that would automatically switch from cooking temperatures to holding temperatures, which saved time and labor for foodservice operators.
Additionally, cook and hold ovens with the fanless technology results in significantly higher yields compared to cooking in a convention oven. These higher yields allow for more servings, creating a cost savings in the kitchen.
Since then, Halo Heat has been used in foodservice operations around the world in order to keep food hot while still maximizing flavor and quality without overcooking.
See how much you could save! Test out Alto-Shaam’s yield calculator today.