Cook & Hold ovens are a low temperature cooking and holding solution that every kitchen can benefit from.
Designed for built-in savings, these ovens provide a labor-free cooking solution to significantly lower costs and increase yields.
We sat down with Robert Simmelink, senior corporate executive chef, to discuss why Cook & Hold ovens are such a valuable asset for every kitchen.
What can operators achieve with a Cook & Hold oven?
Unlike conventional ovens, Alto-Shaam's Cook & Hold ovens can be used for long-term food cooking then holding, which helps maximize labor and production time. Because Cook & Hold ovens max out at 325 degrees F, these units are not designed for convection oven style cooking or for use as a production oven like combi and convection units. This equipment is best used to cook low and slow, which provides higher yields and greater tenderization. For this reason, one of the cook and hold ovens’ biggest benefits is being able to cook and hold overnight, significantly reducing labor.
While Cook & Hold ovens are often used for roasting large proteins, like prime rib and turkey, it’s important to remember that these units are extremely versatile. In addition to roasting and braising, Cook & Hold ovens provide low-temp culturing and fermenting and long-cook sous vide. The menu extension possibilities are endless with these units.
For operations needing to stage food prior to plating, these units also are commonly utilized as retherm ovens on the cook line. Food holding length in these units is subjective to the type of food and its density. For example, while a large roast can be held for as long as 24 hours, holding times for more delicate meats, like chicken breast, will be shorter.
How do Cook & Hold ovens maximize food quality?
Radiant Halo Heat® technology evenly surrounds food without the use of extremely hot elements, added humidity or fans that typically degrade food quality.
With the option to cook and hold by probe, operators can achieve even greater consistency. Presets and probes are worth paying extra for because quality and consistency will be locked in, no matter what the variables are or who the operator is. The food will be exactly the same every time, and that’s what all operators strive to achieve. Operators also will have a HACCP data logger to record temperatures and ensure food quality and safety.
How much can I save with a Cook & Hold oven?
Cook & Hold ovens save costs significantly in three key areas: operation, labor and food. These ovens are economical to run, even overnight. Energy usage rates for the units range from $1 to $2 for 24 hours of use. Since this equipment doesn’t require a hood, ventilation costs are also eliminated.
Cook & Hold ovens can be placed anywhere with a ventless and waterless design. No traditional oven hood or outside venting required. Reduce installation and operating costs with no plumbing, drains, filtration or associated maintenance.
Labor-free overnight cooking and holding allows operators to reclaim 12-16 hours of non-productive time. These units provide a better distribution of workloads and relieve multiple pieces of equipment.
Cook & Hold ovens also significantly improve food yields, providing 15-20% less protein shrinkage compared to conventional ovens. They reduce the overall amount of food waste commonly found in the kitchen, and allow you to serve more portions from the same cut of meat.
As an added bonus, Cook & Hold ovens have no moving parts and are designed so food moisture cannot penetrate the insulation or controls—improving reliability and equipment lifetime. Designed for the busiest of kitchens, these units are built like tanks and are very strong and reliable.
Do you have any other tips for using a Cook & Hold oven?
Cook & Hold ovens need to be preheated to cook properly and work off the proper calculations. Also, the initial warm air of a pre-heated oven sterilizes the food’s surface before the heat begins cooking.
To ensure food safety and a long service life, Cook & Hold ovens should be cleaned after every cooking load. For Alto-Shaam units, the drip trays and side racks are easily removed and can be washed in a dish machine. The oven’s interior also can be cleaned with hot, soapy water. The cleaning process for this equipment is typically five minutes or less.
To learn more about Alto-Shaam’s latest Cook & Hold ovens, talk to an expert today.