The traditional way of serving hot food at a self-service hot buffet or carvery is to use chafing dishes. Like hot cupboards they should be gastronorm compatible to allow for a full tray of food to be inserted over the water bath. A spirit lamp underneath the unit keeps the water hot, but it is possible to get electrically heated chafing dishes. These are potentially safer, but there is less mobility with the need for a power socket or trailing power leads to consider.
Chafing dishes will have lift-off lids, which can be awkward for the customer, whilst others have a roll-over lid allowing the customer to hold a plate with one hand and a serving spoon with the other.
Electric heat pads
These are flat pads with an electric heating element inside their base should be insulated to prevent undue heat loss. The advantage of these is that food that has been prepared in an oven dish that cannot easily be transferred into a chafing dish can still be on your menu. While standard electric heating elements are the more usual you can get heat pads which work using induction heating.
Continue reading … page 1