Staging Lobster Tails for Catering

Lobster Tails

So you’re hosting a big catered event and want to impress your guests? There is nothing more impressive than lobster…if it’s done right.
We set out to show that CVap® ovens can stage lobster tails for catering right.

Staging Lobster Tails Process


  • 4-5 oz Lobster Tails
  • Melted Butter
  • Paprika

Allow the tails to thaw overnight in the refrigerator, per label instructions. Lobster (and all shellfish, for that matter) is unforgiving regarding safe handling. Make sure to only thaw in the refrigerator, and cook promptly once it has thawed.

Preheat the CVap oven.

Staging Lobster Tails for Catering

The product we chose was Greenhead frozen lobster tails.




  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Vapor: 136°F
  • Cook Air: Sous Vide


  • Hold Time: 2 hours
  • Hold Vapor: 136°F
  • Hold Air: Sous Vide

Prepare the tails by “boxing” them. This simply means to make an incision with scissors along the top spine of the shell. Crack the shell to carefully pull the lobster meat almost all the way out – BUT NOT COMPLETELY. Leave the end tail meat in the shell and lay the meatier portion on top, see image.

Douse raw tails with plenty of melted butter. Evenly sprinkle with a touch of paprika for color.

Staging Lobster Tails Results

To be honest, I LOVE crustaceans! But usually lobster is just meh. It probably has something to do with being hundreds of miles from the nearest coast. (yep, I’m a bit of a fresh seafood snob). Lobster is too expensive for the experience of chewing on rubber bands. Or at least that’s what I thought before cooking them in CVap. 

Lobster Tails
Lobster Tails
Lobster Tails

We reviewed these babies after about an hour into holding. The texture was tender and juicy. The flavor was buttery, briny, and sweet. They would be perfectly fine to serve in this state. But if you wanted to give them a little more texture or snap, you could finish them in a high-temperature convection, broiler, or even with a blow torch. This gives the lobster meat a toothier bite

CVap gives you so much flexibility and peace of mind. It ensures that all your hard work isn’t wasted by overcooking these tails and turning them tough and rubbery! Don’t shy away from utilizing them as a surf-n-turf option on your catering menu! CVap allows you to serve lobster with sous vide precision, but at a scale to feed scores of people.

What to do with all those lobster tail leftovers? Vac-packed and freeze them for later use! Or turn them into that New England favorite – lobster rolls!
That’s what we did.

We prepared two versions of lobster rolls:

OMG!!  So effing good!

Staging Lobster Tails for Catering
Staging Lobster Tails for Catering

Certified Angus Beef in CVap

certified angus beef

Certified Angus Beef - Culinary Center

If you ever have a chance, visit the Certified Angus Beef Culinary Center in Wooster, Ohio. There you will spend the day experimenting with new techniques and sampling flavors. At the Certified Angus Beef (CAB) Culinary Center, you can meet the Meat Experts. The CAB team of chefs, butchers, and ranchers is passionate about beef. They are eager to share their expertise. It is a one-of-a-kind experience for any chef or foodservice professional. Winston had the pleasure of visiting our friends at Certified Angus Beef®. The entire CAB team gave us a warm and enthusiastic welcome. Read more below to get an idea of what to expect when you visit the Culinary Center. 

certified angus beef

Cutting-Edge Butchery

The Meat Lab is a hands-on experience offered to CAB guests. In this fully equipped butchery, you can identify meat cuts, create grinds, make sausage, and examine dry-aging and other techniques.

certified angus beef

Culinary Possibilites

Take beef from the butcher table to the dinner table. In the CAB kitchen, you will experiment with different tools and techniques to bring flavors to life. You can test menu ideas and sample culinary creations.

certified angus beef

Beef Business

Learn the science behind the beef quality, uncover business solutions, and learn about beef production from farm to table. Use this knowledge to boost sales and maximize business profits.

Certified Angus Beef in CVap

CVap ovens are perfect for preparing Certified Angus Beef, especially steak. Prepare the steak to your liking with whatever marinade you wish. Set a CVap Cook and Hold Oven to 130°F vapor, 131°F air. Place the steaks into the oven and hit start. Cook time will depend on the type of steak and the amount of steak you are cooking. Once the steak reaches 130°F it will hold without overcooking until you are ready to pan sear.

Heat your grill pan on high heat for ten minutes. Pat steaks dry on both sides and then season with salt and pepper.

Sear on each side for 30 to 45 seconds. Pull off and let rest. Slice and serve the seared steak.

If you haven’t tried CAB products yet, you don’t know what you’re missing. To learn more about Certified Angus Beef®, visit their website, and be sure to check out their blog. Want to arrange a visit? Drop them a message on their contact form.

CVap Southwestern Frittata Wrap


Naturally, we love experimenting with trends, blending techniques and flavors to come up with new creations. In fact, this recipe combines two enormously popular ingredients – eggs and wraps – and gives the dish a Latin twist. Although these ingredients probably bring breakfast to mind, the dish is hearty enough to serve any time.

We prepared our eggs in the style of an Italian frittata. According to Wikipedia, the Italian word frittata derives from fritta and roughly translates as egg-cake. This originally was a general term for eggs cooked in a skillet, anywhere on the spectrum from fried eggs, to omelets, to an Italian version of the Spanish tortilla de patatas, made with fried potatoes. Outside Italy, frittatas were considered equivalent to omelets until the mid-1950s.

In fact, our preparation of the eggs is a form of staging. In this case, an operator could prepare the frittata components in hotel pans well ahead of service and hold the eggs beautifully until assembly, saving time during the rush. The cooked eggs will maintain their texture and the exact right amount of moisture as if they were cooked to order.

frittata finished


  • 1 Dozen Small Tortillas
  • Melted Butter
  • 2 Dozen Fresh Eggs
  • 2 Cups Half & Half
  • Chopped Green Bell Peppers, Red Bell Peppers, and Onions


  1. Place tortillas in preheated CVap® Holding Cabinet (vapor temp 140°F/air temp 140°F).
  2. Next, prepare one full-size 2-¼ inch hotel pan with melted butter.
  3. Mix and add eggs and the half & half to the pan, and sprinkle chopped veggies over the entire pan.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Cook in a preheated CVap Cook & Hold Oven set to vapor temp 200°F/air temp 200°F for 12 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven and place with the tortillas in the CVap Holding Cabinet.
frittata on tortilla

Wrap Assembly:

To assemble, we cut the cooked eggs into 2 x 3-inch strips and placed one piece in a warm tortilla. Next, we topped with black beans, shredded colby-jack cheese, fresh pico de gallo, and cilantro, giving the dish a Latin flavor.
frittata with pico de galo

You could dozens of different spins on this preparation. For example, change the vegetables or stir-ins that you add to the egg mixture prior to cooking. Vary the type of tortilla or bread you serve it on. Or finish with different toppings and garnishes. Moreover, there’s no limit to the variety of dishes you can quickly crank out!


Expecting Thousands at the Lunch Canteen? No Problem!

tencent canteen
tencent canteenMany Chinese corporations provide lunch for their staff. Often the companies build the canteens themselves. Later, they contract with an outside foodservice company (e.g., Compass) to manage the canteen. Lunch periods at most of these companies are about 1 to 1.5 hours, much like many companies in the United States. One big difference, however, is the volume required of the dining facilities. Some Chinese canteens are catering up to 10,000 meals per day! As you can imagine, providing mass meals within a limited time frame can be quite a challenge. This is why preparing food ahead of meal periods, then keeping it hot in quality holding cabinets is very popular in China. CVap® Holding Cabinets use Controlled Vapor Technology, which holds food – especially Chinese food – extremely well. Traditional Chinese cuisine utilizes a lot of vegetables. When vegetables are held in typical dry holding cabinets, they lose color and quality. However, CVap uses both moist heat and dry heat to control the temperature and moisture content of the food. This preserves food color and quality. CVap holds food fresh much longer than dry cabinets. tencent canteenThe photos in this post are from the Tencent corporation. Tencent is the top internet service portal in China. It offers internet, mobile, telecom, and online advertising services. Tencent is growing fast, opening branch operations in several Chinese cities. In Tencent’s Shenzhen headquarters, CVap Holding Cabinets are being used in the canteen. Consequently, their staff can enjoy quality hot meals every day!
tencent provides canteen for employees

Plating Perfect Pork Chops with CVap

Pork Chops

One of the best things about CVap is having the ability to use it to handle precision cooking of center of the plate (COP) items without monitoring. You don’t even have to check on it. We got some beautiful Berkshire pork chops from Fossil Farms. They were brined in a 5% salt solution with honey and fresh thyme for two hours. The plan was to have the pork chops done and ready for plating later in the day. I set up my CVap Cook and Hold Oven to 145°F vapor and 145°F air. Once the oven came to temperature I seared the chops and placed them on a rack inside a hotel pan.

pork chops
seared pork chops
probing pork chop

The internal temperature of the chops after searing was 85° F.

Once all the chops were seared and in the pan, they were off to the oven.

more seared pork chops
pork chops in a pan

Sous Vide Pork Chops

With the CVap oven set to 145°F, all I had to do was wait for the moisture inside the chops to equalize with the moisture in the water pan. The differential was 0, so the air temperature was 145° as well. I was using a sous-vide method without putting the chops into a bag. Consequently, when the pan was pulled out of the CVap, all the chops were precisely 145°F.

The chops varied in thicknesses and weight, but all equalized to the temperature of the water inside the CVap. Wouldn’t it be nice to have the ability to do this with a large banquet where the party was delayed? When you use CVap to make your proteins this is a no-brainer.

Burger Season is Upon Us. Prepare to Gobble!

Asian Burgers

Memorial Day is upon us. It’s a time to reflect on the sacrifices of our men and women in uniform. It’s also the official start of the summer season and burger Season. Here’s a delicious twist on burgers – made better with CVap® (of course).

Not only does Memorial Day begin summer, it also immediately precedes June – a.k.a. National Turkey Lovers’ Month. So what does that mean? That’s right – turkey burgers! But not just any turkey burgers – these burgers started with CVap® Staging.

No Dry Turkey Here

First a question: is it frustrating when someone describes turkey burgers as being dry, flavorless, or dull? With the abundance of techniques we have at our disposal, and the enormous variety of flavor combinations to choose from, there’s just no excuse to ruin burger season! And of course, we love turkey as a starring protein because it is a lean, versatile option.

For this post, we experimented with two different approaches, though our base mixture was the same for both. We combined ½ lb. of ground turkey with two beaten eggs, ¼ cup of Bourbon Barrel Soy Sauce, ½ of an onion (minced), One minced garlic clove, and one cup of Panko bread crumbs. Once the mixture was gently combined, we formed 3-ounce patties and put some on a parchment-lined half-size sheet pan.


Eggs, minced garlic and onion, Panko, and soy sauce.

Ground Turkey Raw

Ground turkey. Gently knead other ingredients into meat.

Patties on tray

Ground turkey mixture formed into 3-oz. patties. Half were placed on parchment-lined tray.

Smoke into bag

The other half of the patties were vacuum-sealed with a little added smoke.

Preparing for Burger Season

We took the other half, placed them in pouches for vacuum-sealing, and then added a little smoke for an extra dimension of flavor. It was just enough to give the burgers a subtle smokiness without it being overwhelming.

All of the patties then went into a CVap Cook & Hold Oven with Constant Cook ON, a Food Temperature (Doneness) setting of 145°F and a Food Texture (Browning) setting of 0 (new CVap 145°F Vapor Temp/145°F Air Temp), for 30 minutes.


To finish the patties, we pan seared them for texture and brought them to a finished temperature of 150° to 155°F (though tossing them on a grill for quick finish would work equally well). CVap® Staging and then finishing in this manner yielded extremely well-textured, moist, and flavorful burgers.

The patties that were vacuum-sealed wound up being the perfect size and shape for the toasted ciabatta rolls we were using. We dressed those simply, with fresh torn cilantro and a chipotle salsa (fresh pico mixed with pureed chipotle peppers) that complimented the slight hint of smoke in the patty.

Open Face Sandwich

Pouched turkey patty, finished by searing on grill.

Latin Cut Burger

Patties CVapped in a pouch fit perfectly on ciabatta buns.

After pan-searing the more traditional patties, we treated a ciabatta bun to Sriracha mayonnaise on one side and an explosively delicious mixture of pureed onion, Bourbon Barrel Soy Sauce, and minced ginger and garlic on the other side. We finished it off with a mixture of tender baby lettuce and torn, fresh cilantro.

Asian Dressed

Asian-influenced traditional patty with Sriracha mayo, onion, soy sauce, minced ginger and garlic, baby lettuce and torn cilantro.

Latin Cut Burger

Traditional patty dressed with Asian flavors. Note the even doneness – a hallmark of CVap cooking.

While the first, Latin-inspired burger was extremely tasty, the Asian-influenced burger was off-the-charts delicious. We can’t wait to make it again!

So what exactly is CVap® Staging? Using this process, food is brought to the exact internal temperature desired and then held there – without overcooking or drying out – until it is time to finish and serve the dish. This means that the final flavor-enhancing and texturing touches can be made just moments before the food is served. Imagine how much faster you could push plates out of a kitchen!

Learn more about the complete line of CVap products.

A Special Louisville Endeavor

Winston Foodservice Louisville Endeavor

We had the pleasure of participating in Endeavor – The Louisville Food & Beverage Tour. Notably, Endeavor Louisville led 18  entrepreneurs from ten countries on an F&B tour of the city. Additionally, the tour featured site visits, panels, and discussions with Endeavor Louisville members and other industry leaders. Critically, it provided an opportunity for these industry pros to deliver firsthand knowledge about scaling up, going big, and succeeding.

Showing Off CVap

Winston Industries‘ late Chef Barry Yates partnered with Chef Space, Louisville’s original kitchen incubator, to demonstrate how community leaders can partner to accelerate others’ ideas. Barry demonstrated staged New York Strip in the newly-equipped Jays 120 space at the west Louisville incubator. Critically, staging is a technique that allows QSR operators to drastically reduce service times while maintaining extraordinary food quality. Surely one of the aspects we loved about this event was that guests got an up-close and hands-on feel for how CVap technology can optimize their operations. Great food fast every time!

Winston was a natural partner for the tour,” said Barry Yates, “innovation and ideas are in our DNA.” 

Thank you Endeavor and Chef Space for allowing us to participate. In fact, we’ve received great feedback from attendees and can’t wait to do more of these events! Surely, if you would like to learn more about Winston or want to have a hands-on experience of your own, schedule your CVap demo and cook with us! Visit our website for more info or call 502.495.5400.

Chef Barry demonstrates at Endeavor Louisville
Endeavor Louisville was a success
Louisville's own Chef Barry

Takeout Trend, Here to Stay

takeout pizza

The trend of ordering takeout isn’t going away. Clearly, Americans want convenience – number one on the list, even above price (Washington Post). Virus lockdowns, longer working hours, nontraditional learning, and the hustle of everyday life make it hard to sit down in a restaurant or pick up dinner. Consequently, a delivery service is now on many folks’ speed-dial. According to recent data, 60% of Americans admit to ordering take-out at least once a week (Statista).

In fact, from fast-casual to top-end restaurants, customers want the option to dine on your food in the comfort of their own homes. They don’t just want to take your menu home. Undoubtedly, they expect to get it now.

takeout tray

What’s a restaurant to do?

Some requirements are obvious. For example, provide quality takeout containers that hold the foods’ temperature. Establish separate areas for takeout diners to order, pay, and wait. Most importantly, develop the ability to quickly and efficiently fill these takeout and delivery orders.

Staging can mean the difference between quick turnaround time (happy, repeat customer) and slow service (frustrated, hungry customer). If your side dishes are ready, and your proteins just need a quick sear to get the main course ready for takeout, your carryout and delivery customers can order and receive their food in rapid succession. Foundationally, this means getting them in and out faster.

staged pork chop for takeout
staged plated pork chop for takeout

How Does Staging Work?

Staging allows you to prepare the protein the same way you normally would (seasoning, marinade, etc.) and then cook in a CVap® oven set to the appropriate temp and texture levels. Once the protein has achieved the desired doneness, it can hold at that temperature until your customer orders. Next, it would move to the final stage in the cooking process: searing, grilling, etc. Consequently, this gets the order finished much faster than the traditional method, without compromising on quality or taste.

Take advantage of this latest dining trend by offering takeout meals. And let staging in CVap help you make them the best meals your customer has ever had.

CVap Staging in Ukraine


Spencer Cole, a Winston Global Accounts Manager, had the opportunity to visit Ukraine. Moreover, he trained several chains and chefs on CVap® technology. Notably, he provided cooking demonstrations and caught up with loyal Ukraine customer, Star Burger. They use staging, with great success. According to TripAdvisor, their customers agree!

“Best burger and ambiance in Kyiv.” 
-November 2018

Had a double cheese burger with onion and chips, also had a large Heineken with corn Parmesan. All was very good and clean. 

Star Burger – Burgers on the left bank

There are two things that make their burgers different. First, Star Burger was introduced to staging burgers from Winston’s YouTube Channel, specifically the video of John Tesar at The Commissary.

Second, Star Burger finishes their burgers on charcoal grills. Consequently, they capture that “fresh off the grill” flavor. Ukraine’s Star Burger uses a CVap Holding Cabinet (HA4507) stacked with a CVap Cook and Hold Oven (CAC507). Accordingly, they can adjust to the flow of business. Once they cook the burgers in the oven they move them to the holding cabinet. As a result, this configuration allows them to stage new burgers when business flow dictates. Ultimately, this allows maximum flexibility.

Naturally, Star Burger loves the CVap platform. For that reason, they are considering staging other proteins. For example, chicken and salmon. In short, it’s the best food in Ukraine!

Star Burger in Ukraine is tops