The Best Methods for Prepping Plant-based Meats

prepping plant-based meats
prepping plant-based meats
beyond meatballs

Ah, prepping plant-based meats. Despite murmurs to the contrary, plant-based meats are expected to continue gaining popularity. Experts say that by 2027 the plant-based meat market is expected to reach 15.7 billion USD globally.

With a growing number of operations adding plant-based dishes to their menus, we wanted to test the best way to cook these no carne creations.

We tested two product brands:

All product packaging included cooking directions, which were universally to cook in a skillet. We wanted to test and compare the recommended cooking method to cooking in a CVap® oven. Per the instructions, Beyond products were cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F. Impossible products were cooked to 160°F.

We used an induction burner and a preheated non-stick skillet for the traditional prep.

Our CVap oven was an RTV7-05UV, preheated to Vapor 200°F / Air 350°F. We used parchment-lined sheet pans.

Prepping Plant-based Meat:Products

  • Beyond Sausage – Hot Italian
    Recommended Skillet Cook Time: 10 minutes, turning frequently
    Actual Skillet Cook Time: 15-20 minutes
    CVap Cook Time: 15-20 minutes
  • Beyond Sausage Brat Original
    Recommended Skillet Cook Time: 6 minutes, turning halfway through
    Actual Skillet Cook Time: 15-20 minutes
    CVap Cook Time: 15-20 minutes
  • Beyond Meatballs Italian Style
    Recommended Skillet Cook Time: 7-8 minutes, turning continuously
    Actual Skillet Cook Time: 10-15 minutes
    CVap Cook Time: 10-15 minutes
  • Impossible Sausages – Italian
    Recommended Skillet Cook Time: 10-12 minutes, turning every two minutes
    Actual Skillet Cook Time: 15-20 minutes
    CVap Cook Time: 15-20 minutes
  • Impossible Burger Patties
    Recommended Skillet Cook Time: cook two minutes per side until the level of doneness reached
    Actual Skillet Cook Time: 10-15 minutes
    CVap Cook Time: 15-20 minutes
prepping plant-based meats
prepping plant-based meats
prepping plant-based meats

The Cooking Results



  • Great seared aesthetic. The product appearance matched what consumers would expect from “real” meat.


  • Skillet cooking took much longer to reach the internal temperature than indicated on the label.
  • Searing created a bitter taste that was not expected.
  • Mouthfeel was much drier compared to CVap-cooked products.



  • We were able to prepare everything in CVap within 30 minutes, from panning, to cooking, to holding.
  • Actual cook time was comparable to skillet cooking in most cases.
  • Product integrity held up through the cooking and holding processes.
  • Each product retained more moisture compared to skillet-cooked products.


  • Lack of browning, compared to skillet-cooked products (but that may not be a “bad” thing).

Holding Plant-based Meats

  • All products maintained integrity, regardless of cooking method.
  • CVap-cooked products held their moisture much better than the skillet-cooked versions.
  • Skillet-cooked products got increasingly bitter over time.
  • It would be safe to assume that the CVap-cooked products could have held another hour without quality degradation.
prepping plant-based meats

If your operation offers plant-based products at any scale, the CVap-cooked method is the obvious way to go. Not only can you be prepping plant-based meats in much higher quantities, but it also brings out the product’s best qualities, juiciness, mouthfeel, and flavor. Most notably, CVap-cooked products didn’t develop the bitter taste that was so noticeable with the skillet-prepped products. Although CVap-cooked products didn’t brown like their skillet-prepped counterparts, this could be overcome with a quick finish on a grill (so long as it doesn’t linger long enough to turn bitter).

Regardless of the cooking method, product quality was solidly maintained in a CVap warming drawer. The same could be expected from a CVap holding cabinet.

prepping plant-based meats

Dulce de Leche in CVap®

dulce de leche overnight
Dulce de leche

Dulce de leche, or caramelized milk, is a popular Latin American confection. When prepared old-school, sugar, and milk are slowly heated for several hours. The resulting substance has a spreadable, sauce-like consistency. Dulce de leche derives its rich flavor and color from non-enzymatic browning. It is typically used to top or fill other sweet foods.

A much less labor-intensive method of making dulce de leche is by boiling an unopened can of sweetened condensed milk for two to three hours on the stovetop by placing the cans in a large pot and then covering them with water. Although this method is easier, it can also be risky. If the boiling water level drops below the can line or evaporates altogether, the can may explode. Your kitchen will be showered in shrapnel and magma-like dulce de leche sprayed across the room. 

A Safer Dulce de Leche

To make dulce de leche the easy (and safer) way, without the danger of boiling cans in pans, make it in a CVap® oven. CVap technology uses heated water vapor as its primary heat source. This heated vapor carries the same thermal energy as boiling water, cooking just as efficiently. If there is water in the oven’s evaporator pan, there’s vapor in the oven’s interior environment, creating a cushion of safety.

Dulce de leche

We tested three different brands of sweetened condensed milk: Eagle Brand, Kroger Brand, and Baker’s Corner (Aldi’s brand).

Although the three brands listed the same basic ingredients (milk and sugar), the results varied a bit. Eagle and Kroger developed a shiny, thick custard consistency, and had similar flavor profiles. On the other hand, Baker’s Corner had a noticeable loose consistency and was highly granulated near the bottom of the can. Based on these results, we advise doing a little testing with the condensed milk brands available in your area, to determine which brand delivers the most satisfying results for you.

Dulce de Leche Cooking Method

Preheat the CVap oven to cook for 6 hours with Vapor 200°F/Air 200°F (this setting will produce 100 percent relative humidity inside the cabinet).

setting the cvap controller

Set cans on a sheet pan (perforated ones works best) and place them in the oven. DO NOT FORGET to press the lighted “Enter ü” button to start the timer.

canned milk

Allow cans to sit in the oven until cool. The CVap Overnight Cooking Process is an outstanding process for this method. Load the oven and go home.

dulce de leche overnight

Our dulce de leche was rich and creamy and made an excellent base for some delicious flan. This is also an excellent method to produce dulce de leche in bulk, unlike the stove top method where only a few cans be made.

If you’re not using the auto-water fill function on your CVap, check the oven’s water level periodically to ensure the evaporator doesn’t go dry. Transparency Note: we have never tested cans of sweetened condensed milk in a dry oven. But since the cooking temperature (200°F) is well below the boiling point for water (212° F), there is little concern about a safety hazard. However, the consistency of the ending product may be affected.

Once cooled, the cans may be stored at room temperature indefinitely or for about a month once the can is opened and refrigerated.

dulce de leche dessert

Commercial Food Warming Cabinet Best Practices to Use in Kitchen

warming cabinet best practices

Warming cabinets prolong the time you can hold hot and fresh food before serving it. When high-volume demand requires a short window of service time, like school lunches or banquets, preparing ahead and holding the food hot becomes critical. Likewise, operations that serve high food volumes that require longer cooking times, like barbecue joints or quick-service restaurants, need the ability to cook in advance.

As is the case with any tool, there are warming cabinet best practices that will help you take full advantage of your equipment while keeping your staff and customers safe.

Keep it Hot, But Don’t Try to Cook

Warming cabinets are designed to maintain hot food at a specified temperature. But don’t let the name fool you. Food must already be hot before placing it in a warming cabinet. Although the cabinets are heated, operators should not use holding equipment for cooking or retherming. That’s a big no-no for health codes. You risk sickening your customers if you misuse holding equipment to heat food.

Don’t Overshoot the Holding Temperature

Warming cabinets are usually insulated to hold foods above the temperature danger zone for extended periods. Food products must be maintained at or above 141°F to ensure food safety. Some operators set the internal cabinet temperatures about ten degrees higher (or more) than the desired internal food temperature to compensate for door openings and normal heat loss. However, this hack isn’t necessary if the cabinet is well-designed.

For instance, CVap® warming cabinets utilize heated water vapor as the primary heat transfer medium. Water vapor is much more efficient at heat transfer than heated air. This helps CVap cabinets to recover temperature quickly, even with frequent door openings.

On the other hand, operators who try to compensate for inefficient cabinets by setting them at higher temperatures will find that this hack backfires and dries out food. The higher temperatures accelerate the loss of food quality.

Warming Cabinet Best Practices - Preheat, So It’ll Be Safe to Eat

It may seem obvious, but it’s important to preheat holding equipment, whether a cabinet or a drawer. Placing food in a unit that hasn’t preheated will allow the food temperature to drop quickly. Although the food may eventually warm back up, it may have slipped into the temperature danger zone. And rewarming in the warming cabinet isn’t what the cabinets are designed to do.

Humidified cabinets need a little extra time to preheat. They utilize water vapor as a thermal transfer medium. For example, CVap equipment holds about 2.5 gallons of water in its reservoir (or evaporator). That’s a sizeable mass to heat up. A good rule of thumb is to allow approximately 45 minutes for CVap units to preheat fully. This primes them to be ready to hold food at the proper temperature and texture.

Don’t Damage the Stainless

Most holding cabinets are built with stainless steel. Although stainless steel is tough, it doesn’t take kindly to abrasion. Once the surface of stainless steel has been damaged, the steel is subject to corrosion and rust. Don’t use abrasive cleaners or cleaning pads on stainless. Use mild food-grade cleaners and pads recommended by the manufacturer.

Keep Rolling, Carefully

Most warming cabinets are mounted on casters, making them easy to move. Keep an eye on the condition of the casters. Be aware of debris on the floor. A tiny bit of schmutz can cause a wheel to get stuck, making the cabinet harder to move or even tip over if it’s a tall cabinet moving at a good clip. Likewise, if a wheel develops a flat spot, it should be replaced.

When Good Warmers Go Bad

Following warming cabinet best practices is best for maintaining your equipment’s electrical systems. The majority of holding equipment is electrically powered. Should a unit act up, check the power cord to see if it is loose or frayed. If that doesn’t resolve the problem, contact the manufacturer’s customer service department for advice.

If a cabinet is not holding food at the proper temperature, faulty temperature sensors could be the culprit. Check the sensors for debris and clean them if needed. If that doesn’t resolve the problem, contact the manufacturer or a certified technician.

Some manufacturers use thermostats that need periodic calibration. CVap warmers, on the other hand, don’t utilize thermostats and never need calibration.

Misconceptions in Heated Holding

A common misconception is that food cooked to a higher internal temperature will hold longer. This isn’t true. Cooking food to a higher-than-necessary temperature means more moisture evaporates from the food. Moisture loss causes temperature fluctuations and reduces both holding time and food quality.

Of course, if you’re cooking in a CVap oven, moisture loss isn’t a concern. CVap technology allows the operator to dial in the desired food consistency, from crisp to moist.

Some holding cabinets instruct you to open vents to hold crisp foods longer. This isn’t necessary with CVap cabinets. 

Unlike other technologies, CVap allows the operator to control food texture independent of food temperature. Let’s be honest; no food can be held indefinitely. And crisp foods like fried chicken will inherently have shorter hold times (compared to more moist foods). But CVap still offers a more extended quality hold than the competition.

Winston had culinary experts on hand to answer any questions about hot holding. Just fill out our Ask Winston form. We’re happy to help.

Chef Sam’s Award-Winning Rainbow Vegan Chili

vegan chili

Winston’s Chef Samantha Brown loves a good challenge. She is passionate about food and serving people. When she came across a contest sponsored by Campbell’s Foodservice, it was right in her wheelhouse. The contest, Campbell’s Can Do Recipe Contest for Healthcare, challenged entrants to develop new recipes using one of a select variety of Campbell’s Condensed Soup as a key ingredient. Because the contest was specifically aimed at healthcare, ingredients, and nutrition were major factors.

Chef Sam not only entered the contest…SHE WON! Sam’s first-place entry means she’s earned a sweet $2,000 prize.

One might assume that Chef Sam prepared this award-winning dish on a stovetop. But because she is always looking for ways to demonstrate the versatility of our CVap® ovens, she did it all in a CVap Cook and Hold Oven.

Winning the Campbell’s Soup contest has inspired me to keep following my intuition and harnessing my experiences in creating meaningful connections through food,” said Chef Sam. “This Rainbow Vegan Chili is a cold-weather comfort food with a twist that uses plant-based beef, a mélange of veggies, and Campbell’s Classic Tomato Soup to tie it all together. Can you believe I created this recipe in a CVap oven?

CVap® Advantages

CVap@ Cooking and Holding Processes

There are advantages to preparing this chili in a CVap oven. It can be cooked and held in the oven, which allows a much longer serving time. Likewise, you can hold a large quantity without worrying about scorching the pan bottom or reducing too much. The last bowl you serve will be as fresh and hot as the first.

Want to try this recipe? Chef Samantha cooked it all at 200°F Vapor/350°F Air in a CVap oven. But if you don’t have a CVap oven handy, a stovetop will do.

Rainbow Vegan Chili Recipe


  • Plant-Based Beef 48 oz (4-12oz packs)
  • Sweet Onions 4 large (1 ½ quart) – Cleaned and diced.
  • Sweet Peppers 6 large (1 ½ quart) – Cleaned and diced
    (red, yellow, and orange)
  • Carrots 1 ½ pounds
  • Whole Garlic Cloves 3 cups (Cleaned, peeled, and minced)
  • Chili Powder 4 Tablespoons
  • Coriander 1 Tablespoon
  • Cumin 1 Tablespoon
  • Smoked Paprika 1 Tablespoon
  • Chipotle Peppers 4 Tablespoons – Pureed
  • Kidney Beans 62 oz (4 – 15.5 oz cans) – Drained
  • Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes 58 oz (4-14.5 oz cans) – Liquid Drained
  • Petite Dice Tomatoes 58 oz (4-14.5 oz cans)
  • Campbell’s Tomato Soup 70 oz
  • Water 128 oz

The Process

  1. Brown the plant-based beef.
  2. Add onion and peppers to the pan and allow to sweat until onions are translucent and the peppers have softened.
  3. Add minced garlic and carrots to the pan and toss until fragrant.
  4. Add chili powder, coriander, cumin, smoked paprika, and pureed chipotle peppers to the pan, and mix thoroughly. Allow to sauté for a few more minutes.
  5. Add drained beans, all the diced tomatoes, tomato soup, and water, mix thoroughly and bring to a boil, stirring frequently.
  6. Simmer for about an hour.

As you can tell from the ingredient quantities, this recipe is intended to feed a bunch of people. You’ll get about five dozen eight-ounce servings. And while it’s dang tasty, it’s amazingly healthy, with just 128 calories per serving.

Want more chili ideas? Check out Sam’s recipe for Beer Chili!

Ways a Cook and Hold Oven Can Be Cost-Effective for Restaurant Owners

cost-effective commercial oven

CVap® Cook and Hold Ovens can save you a chunk of change. Inflation is putting the hurt on all of us. CVap commercial ovens can help you hold on to some of that hard-earned cash. Read on and reap the benefits.

No Vent Hood, No Problem

CVap Cook and Hold Ovens don’t require vent hoods. That’s not a brag. We did independent testing, and it’s confirmed. CVap ovens’ maximum temperature is 350°F, under the threshold that mandates a hood. But don’t let that low max temperature fool you. CVap uses a dual heat system of dry air heat and moist vapor heat. Together, the two independently controlled heat systems cook food with spot-on precision. Vent hoods cost a ton, both to install and to operate. If you don’t have to have one, that’s a bunch of money that stays in your pocket.

Where Can a Cost-effective Commercial Oven Go?

CVap ovens give you the flexibility to stick’em just about anywhere. They don’t need vent hoods and don’t have to be plumbed to a drain (compare that with a combi oven). You’re ready to roll if you’ve got a place to plug’em in. Speaking of ready-to-roll, CVap Cook and Hold Ovens are built on heavy-duty casters. You can move them across the room or across the building. You can even stack them to save space.

transport kit

Efficiency Out the Wahzoo

CVap stands for “controlled vapor.” That’s hot water vapor. If you’ve ever put your hand near a venting kettle, you know how much punch hot water vapor has. Hot vapor carries tons more heat energy than hot air alone. We say “controlled” because our ovens control the exact vapor temperature. 

It’s similar to sous vide, but CVap doesn’t require bags or vacuum sealing. Thermodynamics being the bitch it is, hot vapor forces food to equalize in temperature with water vapor. That means you don’t have to set the oven hundreds of degrees hotter than your desired final food temperature.

Now, you might think all that water vapor is gonna result in soggy food. Nope. CVap also has hot air circulated by convection fans. Long story short, hot air evaporates water from the food surface before it can make things a soggy mess. Like the hot vapor, CVap lets you control the hot air temperature. Combined, the hot vapor and hot air let you pick the food temperature and surface texture you want. 

Crispy and crunchy? No problem. Moist and tender? Also, no problem. CVap’s lower operating temperature and good old-fashioned thermodynamics mean you’re putting more energy into your food and venting less into your kitchen.

Overnight Cooking is da Bomb

We know good help is hard to find. Use the oven that needs no help. CVap Cook and Hold Ovens are excellent for overnight cooking. Load it up in the evening, hit start, and go home. It will cook unattended through the night and automatically switch to hold mode after the cook cycle. When staff arrives the next day, they’ll find an oven full of food cooked just right, ready to serve. CVap is your third-shift worker that loves to work alone.

Higher Yields = Higher Profits

Since CVap ovens don’t cook at high temperatures, they let food retain its moisture. Cooking low and slow dissolves meat’s connective tissue. That means the collagen shrink that occurs at higher temperatures doesn’t happen. Less shrink equals higher yield. And higher yield means more servings per cut. Add up those extra servings over time, and you’re looking at a significant improvement in your bottom line. Meats cooked in CVap ovens are noticeably better consistency. CVap cooks uniformly, end to end and top to bottom, with no burned edges or bullseye. It’s juicy and cut-with-a-fork tender: better food, yield, and bottom line.

beef roast recipe

Staging for Success

Imagine serving a burger that ordinarily takes eight minutes to cook in just two minutes. It’s possible if you stage ahead of time. This involves using CVap to cook food under the desired doneness temperature and holding it there. When an order arrives, the food is pulled from the oven and finished on the grill or skillet. The customer gets a fresh, hot, cooked-to-order meal in a fraction of the time it takes to cook from raw. This process will blow your socks off. Turn tables faster and sell more products!

Delayed Start

Preheating a CVap Cook and Hold Oven takes about 45 minutes. But you don’t have to wait around for it. Use the Delay Start and have that sucker ready when you walk through the door. You can program the oven to start up to 99 hours ahead of time.

Touch Screen

Good Help is Hard to Find

cost-effective commercial oven

Labor is a pain point for everybody. Hiring is a bitch. And finding skilled people is an even bigger bitch. CVap Cook and Hold Ovens can ease your labor pains. An automatic hold feature kicks in after the oven’s cook cycle. This means food holds at the desired temperature without drying out or overcooking. You’re free to do other stuff – no need to babysit the oven and no need to move cooked food to a holding cabinet. Wireless programming makes setting your oven as simple as tapping an Android phone near the oven’s NFC sensor (Series 7). Settings can be loaded so that all your staff needs to do is press start. And settings can be locked, so nobody accidentally (or maybe not accidentally) changes the settings.

Consistent Quality

CVap Cook and Hold Ovens produce reliable, repeatable results. If your customer has a favorite meal, she wants it to be just as good every time she orders it. CVap makes that happen. No matter who is running the kitchen, CVap delivers the same precise results. Happy customers are repeat customers.

cost-effective commercial oven

It Can Do What?

Kitchen equipment that only does one thing can be a waste of space. But a tool that can handle many things has earned its keep. CVap Cook and Hold Ovens are a jack of all kitchen trades. Sure, it’s an oven. But it’s also a proofer, a steamer, a roaster, a holding cabinet, and even a sous vide circulator (well, that last one’s a bit of a stretch – it’s excellent for sous vide, but there’s no circulating involved). All that in a small footprint. It’s your own personal Inspector Gadget in the kitchen.

Want to learn more? Contact us today!

Essential Commercial Kitchen Equipment Needed for Chicken Recipes

chicken recipes

Chicken is a ubiquitous protein. The average American consumes over 100 pounds annually. In an increasingly health-conscious world, chicken is considered healthier than most red meat. If you’re a foodservice operator (or planning to be), you should consider expanding chicken options on your menu. Chicken is nutrient-dense, relatively inexpensive (at the moment), and can be prepared in many ways.

The equipment you’ll need to prepare the chicken depends on what kind of chicken you plan to serve. Operators should consider three categories of equipment when expanding their chicken offerings: fryers, ovens, and holding cabinets.


When we think chicken, most of us probably think first of fried chicken. It’s a large share of the fast food market. In an industry survey, eight of the top 50 restaurants in the United States are fried chicken concepts.

If you anticipate offering fried chicken, you’ll obviously need a fryer. Pressure fryers are a great option. There are multiple advantages to using pressure fryers. They cook faster and more consistently than open fryers. Cooking oil lasts much longer. And customers often prefer the taste and texture of chicken prepared in a pressure fryer, according to some fast food operators.

chicken recipes

 Pressure frying is ideal for breaded bone-in chicken, wings, filets, or tenders with traditional breading. Winston’s Collectramatic® pressure fryers check off all the boxes. They are highly efficient, available in 4-head and 6-head capacities, and have minimal moving parts. They are true workhorses with decades-long lifespans.

Any Winston pressure fryer can also be used as an open fryer by simply removing the lid. An open fryer may be your best option if you primarily serve more delicate or super crispy foods, such as fish, seafood, double-breaded chicken, fries, onion rings, etc. Your specific menu will determine the best choice. Of course, the Winston team will be happy to advise you on your decision.

Commercial fryers are available with either gas or electric power. Your local energy infrastructure will determine which is a better option for you. However, Winston’s Collectramatic Fryer line is only available as electric.

Whatever type of fryer you choose, you’ll need to filter your cooking oil periodically. Some fryers have the filter integrated into the fryer itself. Winston offers a stand-alone shortening filter. The advantage of this is that a single filter can be used to service multiple fryers. The Winston filter is easy to move and has a low profile to make it easy to store out of the way when not in use.

Cook and Hold Ovens

Of course, fried chicken isn’t the only chicken consumers crave. Chicken lends itself to various preparation methods, such as sous vide, roasted, poached, baked, grilled, and more. It can be the main entrée or the base of a delicious stock – the possibilities are almost endless. Fortunately, so are the applications you can accomplish in a CVap oven!

CVap ovens use controlled vapor heat and dry air heat to create the ideal cooking environment for almost any type of food. CVap can replace most of the cooking equipment in your operation. Importantly, CVap ovens allow you to scale up your production. Capacities of up to 14 shelves allow for high production in a small footprint. Imagine trying to match that production scale with immersion circulators, woks, or kettles.

CVap@ Cooking and Holding Processes

Do you serve barbecue? You can add the Winston Smoker Box accessory to your CVap oven to convert it into a traditional smoker. Bear in mind that once you add a smoker to a CVap oven it will no longer be a ventless oven and will either need to be under a hood or rolled to a safe outdoor spot. 

Staging chicken is another great application in CVap.  Simply put, staging is cooking food to a temperature just below the serving temperature and holding it there. When an order comes in, the food can be pulled from the oven, finished on a grill or skillet, and served to the customer in a fraction of the time it would take to cook from raw. This is an effective process no matter what your center plate protein is, but it’s particularly powerful in a chicken program.

Winston Smoker Box
Holding in CVap

CVap technology was initially developed for holding cabinets. Of course, the technology has evolved as an incredibly precise cooking technology. Hot holding continues to be a critical process in most kitchens.

CVap ovens can do double duty as holding cabinets. This prevents food from overcooking and frees staff from constantly monitoring the oven. It also makes it possible to cook overnight, removing the need for staff altogether. Holding serves a double function. It maintains product quality over time, improving service and reducing waste. It also improves efficiency by keeping the high-quality product at hand and accessible.

CVap Holding Cabinets offer the same incredible precision as CVap ovens. CVap cabinets are also a perfect partner for fryers. For example, fried chicken can be held in the cabinets for extended periods, making it possible to build up inventory for rush periods. CVap cabinets offer a superior hold by keeping chicken crisp without making it soggy or drying out, especially when compared to chicken in lower-tech holding appliances, such as heat lamps or dry, hot boxes.

Holding isn’t limited to fried chicken. CVap cabinets are also great for holding more succulent dishes. They can simultaneously hold sides, such as mashed potatoes or mac & cheese, with the same precise hot hold.

chicken recipes
Poultry in a Post-Pandemic World

According to poultry industry reports, consumers have fundamentally changed their habits, compared to the pre-COVID-19 world. Consumers are spending more now, to regain opportunities they missed during the pandemic. Experts recommend that chicken brands should position themselves as a splurge, rather than highlight chicken as the value protein, to attract these consumers.

The report went on to say that brand loyalty took a hit during the pandemic. This may provide an opportunity for other chicken concepts to charm customers away from the more established operations. Perhaps there’s never been a better time to expand your chicken offerings. Contact us to discuss how Winston can help your operation take advantage of the changes in chicken.

School Recipes – Tater Tots


Ore-Ida Golden Tater Tots, or equivalent frozen product


Retherm (RTV)
Cook Time: 50-60 Minutes
Vapor Temp: 160°F (71°C)
Air Temp: 350°F (177°C)

Holding Program (CVap Oven, Holding Cabinet, or Drawer)
Holding Time: Up to 2 Hours
Vapor Temp: 150°F (66°C)
Air Temp: 180°F (82°C)

  1. Preheat CVap® Oven.
  2. Spread out 4 to 5 lbs. of frozen tots in a single layer onto a sprayed perforated sheet pan.

  3. Place the pan into the oven.
    Press ENTER.

  4. Remove from oven once the program is complete.

  5. Use a straight spatula to remove tots from the pan. Serve immediately, or transfer tots to another pan for hot holding.

Chef’s Tips

*Preparation in a CVap Cook and Hold Oven (CHV) is not recommended.  

Easy Soup Recipes to Warm Your Menu This Winter

It’s winter in the Northern Hemisphere. Most humans are hard-wired to crave comfort foods in freezing weather. Of all the comfort foods, soups seem to be the best at warming our innards. Many folks think of soup as something that’s prepared on a stovetop. But CVap® ovens are also great for making soup. You can scale the process up to crank out gallons of soup to keep your sales hopping all day. It doesn’t matter whether you’re making soup from scratch or retherming pouches of premade soup – CVap’s got you covered.

Here are a few great easy soup recipes you can whip up in a CVap oven.

What soup is more comforting than chicken noodle soup on a frosty winter day? It’s one of those flavors that instantly takes you back to being a kid. It’s particularly good when you’re battling a cold. That’s not a superstition. Evidence has shown that chicken noodle soup can reduce cold symptoms. It’s chock-full of electrolytes, which help you stay hydrated.

Our chicken noodle soup take utilizes CVap ovens and our Collectramatic® Fryers. The result was a soup that combined many flavors and textures. It’s sure to warm the coldest heart. Check out the recipe here.

This flavorful broth recipe has some good bones – literally. It calls for over eight pounds of beef, pork, and poultry bones, roasted in a CVap oven. This recipe is one you’ll need to plan, as it calls for simmering for at least 12 hours.

Pho (pronounced fah) is a Vietnamese staple. There are countless variations of this easy soup recipe. Our recipe is rich in different flavors and textures. You may want to consider offering this as part of a Tết celebration, Vietnam’s observance of the Lunar New Year.

Here’s a tasty chowder that’s a little decadent. The chowder recipe includes lobster, scallops, veggies, and a brunoise of new potatoes, onions, celery, and carrots. The advantage to preparing this chowder in a CVap oven is that you can stage all the key ingredients in the CVap while the lobster shells enjoy a day-long simmer to create a stock. At serving time, the scallops just need a quick sear to finish. Then the impressive final dish is assembled – with a base of veggies, topped by lobster meat, a couple of scallops, and a generous ladle of the lobster stock. It’s a soup that’s as impressive to look at as it is to eat. It’s a perfect soup on a frigid day to make diners daydream of warm days near the ocean.

Chili is great any time of year. But it really hits the spot in the wintertime. You can spice it up with as much extra heat as you want to bring some warmth to a cold day.

A customer challenged us to see if it was possible to prepare beer chili using just a cook and hold oven. As this recipe shows, it’s not only possible but also awesome. So, bring on the beans! Bring on the meat! Chilly weather is chili weather!

By the time mid-winter gets here, we’re sick of it. Good thing Mardi Gras comes around to add some color and fun to the never-ending greyness of late February. And we’ve got the perfect dish to inject a little Cajun flavor into your menu.

This spectacular gumbo has it all: veggies, sausage, chicken, and crawdads. Like many great soups, you’ll want to let it cook overnight to coax every bit of flavor. A little roux, a little rice, and you got yourself some great gumbo.

Behind every great easy soup recipe is an outstanding stock. In this post, Chef Sam walks us through how to use your CVap oven to create gallons of chicken stock. It’s the perfect base for multitudes of soups. The important thing about this stock is that it can easily be frozen to use at another time. And it makes the most of the chicken, with virtually nothing going to waste.

Retherming Soup in CVap

So far, we’ve elaborated on some great scratch recipes you can make in a CVap. But many excellent pre-prepared canned or bagged soups are available from your favorite foodservice distributor. Use a CVap oven to retherm your premade soups, and you can really scale up production. Our largest ovens can hold up to 28 hotel pans, allowing you to cook gallons of soup at once. CVap technology ensures that no matter what soup you’re retherming, it will never scorch or overcook. And CVap oven’s automatic hold cycle keeps soup hot and fresh throughout your meal service.


From Soup to Nuts

These are just a few ideas for souping up your menu. Need more ideas or suggestions for adapting an existing recipe to CVap? Just fill out our contact form. Our culinary experts will be happy to help! There’s no need to limit questions to soup. We can help with just about anything!

How Can CVap® Expand Your Menu?

Are you looking to change or expand your operation’s menu? If you have CVap technology in your kitchen, you already have a head start on your goal.

Ideally, expanding your menu won’t involve investing in new equipment. That’s why having CVap in your kitchen is such a game-changer. CVap ovens offer the versatility to accomplish a wide range of cooking processes, such as steaming, baking, holding, sous vide, staging, and more. You can find a rundown of CVap’s capabilities here.


Proteins are typically the center of the plate for most entrees. Try some of these ideas to expand your menu.

Sous Vide Chicken

Stage chicken breasts sous vide in a CVap oven. When an order comes in, toss the chicken on a grill for a quick hit on both sides. The order is out in under four minutes. This saves so much time, compared to cooking raw. Serve it as a grilled chicken entree, a chicken sandwich, or in salads…the possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

Prime Rib

Who doesn’t love prime rib? An overnight cook yields deliciously perfect prime rib. CVap ovens achieve incredible yields. Their low, slow cooking method breaks down connective tissue within the meat. That ultimately means more servings per roast. Got leftovers? Shave it for epic Philly cheesesteaks.


Do you serve breakfast? Eggs are the ultimate protein. You can cook up a mess of righteous poached eggs in your CVap oven. A CVap oven can cook dozens and dozens of poached eggs in a single load. You can easily keep a breakfast buffet fully stocked. Poached eggs are the perfect center for great eggs benedict.


Chicken wings are crazy popular. Add wings to your menu to pop up sales. Stage the wings in the CVap, then pop them in a fryer or onto a grill when ordered. The wings will fly out of the kitchen (pun intended) in a fraction of the time it takes to cook from raw.



CVap ovens and cabinets are great proofers—proof focaccia, brioche…practically any dough. CVap is the perfect proofer. These unique cabinets can maintain a warm, slightly moist environment that helps yeast get down to the business of rising.


Expand your dessert offerings with goodies like crème brulé, flourless chocolate cake, or carrot cake. These (and lots more) bake perfectly in a CVap oven.

Something Different

Expand Your Menu

Flex your CVap oven for different purposes around the clock. Use as an oven to cook overnight, then use for holding takeaway food during the day.

Do you serve a lot of rice? You can hold rice and popular partner dishes like chicken teriyaki in the same CVap. It’s already set at the perfect holding temperature for both. One of our big chain customers uses this with excellent results.

Expand Your Menu

Is your school using a CVap Retherm Oven for school pizza? Try retherming soups, cooking vegetables, or baking tater tots. You’ll love the results.

Expand Your Menu

Dehydrate! If you’re familiar with CVap technology, you probably think it is humidified. But you can turn off the vapor heat and use air heat alone to dehydrate fruits, veggies, herbs, and even jerky. It’s a great way to introduce unusual products to your menu.

Add some healthier options to your menu by steaming in your CVap oven. Unlike typical commercial steamers, CVap ovens can low-temp steam at 200°F Vapor and 200°F Air. It’s 100 percent humidity at a gentler temperature. It’s perfect for veggies and more delicate foods like finfish and shellfish.

Versatility rules the day with CVap ovens. You can cook just about anything in them. Do you have an idea we haven’t mentioned here? Reach out to us. Our corporate chef and culinary team can advise you on the best way to accomplish it.