One of the least used food serving tools is the chafing dish. The chafing dish may seem daunting, because it is usually pretty large, and has holes and compartments that a typical serving bowl does not have. Unlike other serving dishes, however, the chafing dish can help to keep your food warm over long periods of time. Here’s how you can use a chafing dish.
- Choose the occasion. First of all, you need to determine the occasion during which you will use the chafing dish. Make sure that you only use the chafing dish when you are serving foods that require slow cooking, such as dishes that are cooked through flambé. Or, you can also use the chafing dish if you need to keep food warm like when you are serving buffets. The chafing dish is usually not used when having simple dinners at home. The chafing dish is also best when serving large amounts of food.
- Prepare the dish. Next, start preparing the dish that you want to put in the chafing dish. If you only want to use the chafing dish for keeping certain types of foods heated, you need to fully cook the food in advance. If you are using the chafing dish to slow-cook the food, on the other hand, make sure that you already assemble the food and place it in the pan so that it can slow cook in the chafing dish.
- Add some fuel. When the food is already prepared, start to add some fuel to the chafing dish. The chafing dish usually has a small compartment where you can add some wax fuel. There are also some chafing dishes that allow you to place small candles in them, to keep the food warm over long periods of time. Make sure, however, that you have placed the fuel before you place the pan of food on top of the chafing dish. Once the food is placed on top, the fuel compartment will be difficult to reach.
- Add water. Next, take some clean water and pour it in the bath pan on top of the flame and just below the rim where you will place the dish that holds the food. The chafing dish will not heat the food directly, but instead relies on heated water to keep the food evenly warm. This is good, since it prevents your dishes from being burnt or over-cooked.
- Wick adjustments. After adding the water, take a look at the wick and make sure that it is just right. When the wick is too long, it will burn faster, and make use of more fuel than necessary. This may mean that your fuel will run out before the end of dinner and make your food turn cold.
- Setting. After the wick has been set, light it and place the bath water pan. Allow it to heat, and then add the pan filled with food on top.
With these steps in mind, you should be able to easily use a chafing dish. If you are in the catering business, or if you are preparing food for a major dinner party, the chafing dish is especially useful.