Is My Kitchen Equipment Required to Be Under a Hood?

Does your commercial kitchen equipment require a vent hood? It depends on several factors. These include the type of equipment, your menu, and your operation’s location. The ultimate judges of hood requirements are your local health and fire officials. They will advise whether hoods are required and, if so, what type. Always check with local officials before proceeding. Most states and municipalities adhere to the International Mechanical Code. But you may find that your locale has additional guidelines. For example, New York City’s codes are more stringent than most other municipalities.

Commercial kitchen vent hoods are expensive. Depending on the type, they can cost as much as $1000 a foot to install. Add to that the cost of operating and maintenance, and you’ve got a substantial chunk of change. So, in these days of constant inflation, you may be looking to save where you can. Perhaps you’re wondering if your equipment must be under a hood.

Different Hoods for Different Situations

Type 1 Hoods

Appliances that produce greasy by-products and smoke require Type 1 hoods. These hoods primarily deal with the removal of grease particles from the air. For this reason, many refer to them as grease hoods. Type 1 hoods are typically above deep fryers, cooktops, open-flame stoves, conveyor-pizza ovens, char-broilers, and such. Because of the grease by-products that Type 1 hoods capture, they require frequent cleanings to help prevent damage and fire risks due to grease buildup.

Type 2 Hoods

Type 2 Hoods are for other kitchen appliances that don’t have to pertain directly to cooking. These appliances can include dishwashers, pasta cookers, and other equipment that doesn’t produce smoke or grease. Since Type 2 hoods mainly deal with removing heat and steam from the air, the industry refers to them as condensate hoods or heat hoods. They help create a more comfortable work environment.

We strongly advise you to contact a consultant or other knowledgeable foodservice professional to determine whether a vent system is needed (and if so, which type). Adding a ventilation system you hadn’t budgeted for is a financial blow for an operation that already operates on slim margins.

foodservice products

Vent Hoods and Winston Products

Collectramatic® fryers must always be under hoods. Likewise, a Winston Smoker Box with your CVap® oven will require it to be placed under a vent hood or outdoors. That little box generates a lot of smoke.

Although the above Winston products require vent hoods, you can usually use CVap products without hoods. We hired the independent testing firm Intertek to verify CVap’s compliance with the EPA’s Method 202 – Condensable Particulate Matter standards. The ovens were checked for particulate compliance using full loads of pizzas (good and greasy food). The results speak for themselves. CVap ovens breezed through to a passing grade. Place CVap ovens, holding cabinets, and warming drawers where sufficient electrical power is available.

At the risk of sounding repetitive, please don’t just take our word for it. As mentioned, local codes can vary a lot. It’ll save you money and peace of mind to consult with your local authorities (and perhaps a consultant) to ensure you comply with your area’s codes.

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

Ingredients

  • 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.

Settings

Cooking

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

Holding

  • 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

Ultimate Guide to Cook and Hold Ovens

cook and hold oven
cook and hold oven

Not all cook and hold ovens are equal. Let’s examine the differences in equipment and discover which cook and hold ovens are suitable for your kitchen.

In one form or another, Ovens have been around since prehistoric times. Not long after learning to control fire, our ancient ancestors figured out that encompassing fire or embers within a vessel or enclosure produced even better results when preparing food. Skip forward a few millennia, and we’ve arrived at today’s modern, technology-packed ovens. Whether you are outfitting a commercial kitchen, refurbishing your restaurant, or redesigning your school cafeteria, you will want to know the differences and the best fit for your kitchen.

Traditional Oven Types

conventional-oven

Conventional

This is your basic oven, with electrical elements or gas burners providing radiant heat within the interior. You will find these in residential settings.

Convection Oven

Convection

This kicks conventional oven technology up a notch. Convection ovens add powerful fans to circulate heated air throughout the oven’s interior. They cook significantly faster than conventional ovens. However, if not closely monitored, they can overcook or dry out food.

passive-humidity

Passive Humidity Ovens

These ovens include a water reservoir to add humidity to the oven’s interior. The upside is that it is easier to retain the food’s moisture by adding moisture, resulting in a juicier product.

humidified oven

Humidified Ovens

These ovens control the water vapor generation within the unit, with varying degrees of success. Humidified equipment includes Controlled Vapor Technology ovens and combi ovens. 

Equally important, one should remember that simply controlling relative humidity doesn’t necessarily translate to managing food quality. In fact, it’s merely reading for the maximum amount of water vapor an atmosphere can contain at a particular temperature. For example, 50% relative humidity can exist from 120°F to 245°F. Otherwise, the relative humidity is irrelevant. Controlling vapor, on the other hand, is highly precise. Controlled Vapor Technology (or CVap) precisely controls the temperature of the water vapor within the oven. In turn, it also controls the temperature of the food itself. 

What is a Cook and Hold Oven?

Cook and Hold Ovens perform the functions of both an oven and a holding cabinet. In the case of Winston’s CVap® Cook and Hold Ovens, they are incredibly versatile. They’re great at cooking, baking, roasting, braising, steaming, sous vide, holding, proofing, dehydrating, and much more.

Cook and Hold Ovens Increase Yield

Overall, the main benefit of CVap Cook and Hold Ovens is that they increase yield, which helps your bottom line. Depending on the primal cut, CVap ovens can yield one to two additional servings, which increases profits exponentially over time. There’s simply no comparison between CVap Cook and Hold Ovens and conventional or convection ovens.

Slow cooking produces a high yield with natural browning. The meat retains more food juices which result in less shrinkage. Use practically any type of meat with slow cooking. Natural enzyme action tenderizes the meat. Preserve and enhance the delicate flavors of seafood. Retain color and nutrition in vegetables. Bread, rolls, desserts, pies, and cookies brown evenly for a beautiful presentation. Gentle air circulation roasting at lower temperature produces a tender roast, naturally browned to perfection. Just a little light seasoning to taste is all that’s needed. 

You save time and labor when you don’t have to pre-sear, put on sauces, or rubs.  

CVap ovens save on overhead costs, like labor. Features such as timed preheat and overnight cooking mean your oven is working, even when your staff isn’t. In most cases, CVap equipment doesn’t require placement under a vent hood, saving you electricity and valuable vent space. 

Cook and Hold Ovens Are Not Combi Ovens

Although often compared to combi ovens, CVap Cook and Hold Ovens. Unlike combis, CVap ovens don’t require expensive chemicals and extensive cleaning. Although CVap ovens can’t match the speed offered by combi ovens, it makes up for it in precision. CVap ovens don’t require hard plumbing connections or vent hoods. They produce food that’s every bit as high-quality as food produced in combi ovens. Frankly, combi ovens tend to be overly complicated. For that reason, they’re often under-utilized in kitchens. And the upfront costs of combi ovens are incredibly high compared to other oven technologies

cook and hold staff

Cook and Hold Oven Types

There are various cook and hold ovens to choose from, depending on your foodservice operation’s needs.
Key features to consider are temperature ranges and the results you need to achieve.

cook and hold oven

Cook and Hold Ovens

Cook and Hold Ovens specialize in low and slow cooking. Generally, slow cooking minimizes shrinkage and boosts yield. Reduce shrinkage by 15 to 20 percent when cooking in this method. These ovens automatically transition to an automatic hold mold and the conclusion of the cook cycle. Auto holding removes the necessity of having staff constantly monitor the unit. Cook and hold ovens that utilize advanced technology, such as CVap (Controlled Vapor), precisely control food’s temperature and texture.

Retherm

Retherm Ovens

Retherm ovens are another version of a cook and hold. They rethermalize pre-cooked foods to the desired serving temperature. Depending on the brand of the oven, some may not have a holding option. However, Winston’s CVap Retherm Ovens can also precisely hold foods. This option sets it apart from other manufacturer models. Therefore, you can cook and hold all in the same unit.

Cook and Hold Oven Temperature Ranges

There are various cook and hold ovens to choose from, depending on your foodservice operation’s needs.
Key features to consider are temperature ranges and the results you need to achieve.

CVap Technology

CVap technology uses the thermodynamics of water vapor to control food temperature. Unlike our competitors, CVap technology can precisely control food temperature. Eliminate overcooking for good. CVap is a dual heat system, combining both moist vapor heat and dry air heat. As a result, food is at the exact temperature and texture. There isn't an equivalent system that compares moist foods to crisp foods.

Probe Cooking

Probes are one of the best ways to achieve optimal food temperatures while cooking or holding. Some cooking and holding ovens can set food probes to your ideal internal temperature. The unit will automatically switch to holding mode once a set cook temperature reads. The oven will then hold the food at the optimal temperature and texture until it's ready to be served. CVap Series 7 and Series 5 ovens are probe-ready. These ovens give you the option of cooking by probe temperature or time.

Low-Temperature Ovens with Cables

Food products are subject to fluctuating temperatures when using a low-temperature oven that distributes heat with halo cables. After all, directly controlling food moisture is the only way to ensure internal water is not lost — loss of internal moisture results in poor food quality.

Low-Temperature Ovens with Controlled Vapor

Low-temperature ovens that utilize controlled vapor, such as CVap ovens, must be filled with clean water. For this purpose, these units need to be connected to a water source to operate correctly or be filled manually with water. Also, to prevent limescale buildup, clean the basin daily.

Humidified Ovens

Not all humidified ovens are alike. Although introducing water vapor into the oven cavity delivers better results than a simple oven, it indirectly affects food quality. Generally, such passive humidity ovens allow food to retain internal moisture. Unfortunately, they don’t directly control other aspects of food quality. CVap ovens, on the other hand, precisely control the temperature of water vapor within the unit. Not only are they controlling vapor temperature, but they also control food temperature.

Soup

Simple thermodynamics dictate that different bodies of water will inevitably equalize their temperatures, given enough time. All foods contain water. For instance, think of that food product as a body of water. When you place the food in the oven, the food (water) is cool. The oven is full of hot water vapor. When the hot water vapor condenses on the colder food surface, this transfers heat energy into the food. Then the heat energy raises the food temperature until it reaches equilibrium. The food-water temperature matches the heated water vapor of the oven. Food cannot overcook because it can’t exceed the temperature of the water vapor.

You might think that all this water vapor would result in soggy food, but that’s not the case. CVap’s air heat engineering controls the surface texture of food. For example, if you serve breaded proteins or baked goods, surface moisture evaporates more quickly. As a result, you achieve the desired surface aesthetic. Soups or pasta do not need dry surfaces. In this case, air heat is low, allowing the water vapor to raise food temperatures to the desired level quickly.

Cook and Hold Oven Control Options

Most cook and hold ovens have different control options available to match the sophistication needs of the kitchen.

Simple Controls

simple-control

Simple controls often include buttons and dials rather than touch screens. However, touch-based terminals are becoming standard for newer models. Stored recipes and probe cook options are often available. Recipes can be uploaded and downloaded by USB. Also, enable HACCP documentation easily.

Touch Screen Controls

Touch Screen

In addition to all the features of simple controls, touch screen controls allow kitchen staff to select preset channels with ease. Capacitive touch controls are simple to understand and easy to clean.

Comparing Cook and Hold Cabinet Styles

There’s a size configuration to suit every operation. Each serves various purposes and provides multiple solutions. In addition to the size, the inside structure of the oven is essential to consider. Side racks are standard on most models. Additional configurations are also available based on your needs.

cvap equipment sizes

Countertop Ovens

Smallest CVap Cook and Hold Oven are just over 36" tall. Winston's most compact oven holds up to four hotel pans of food products. These are perfect for small-batch cooking, and the design allows you to maximize your counter space. This powerful little oven operates on a standard 120V circuit.

Under Counter Oven

This type of oven can hold up to eight hotel pans and are approximately 36" tall. These low-profile ovens can easily slide under counters and worktables to maximize space. Casters make cleaning and maintenance easy.

Half Size Ovens

Half-size ovens are slightly taller than under-counter ovens hold up to ten hotel pans of food. Their height is approximately 39 inches tall. Half-size ovens are compact, and you can maximize kitchen space by stacking a second oven or a holding cabinet on top of it.

Full-Size Ovens

Free-standing, full-size ovens are ideal for large kitchens and extensive operations. They hold up to 28 hotel pans of food and are approximately 76 inches in height.

Contact Winston Foodservice Today

While there is a wide variety of cook and hold ovens available, it’s essential to find one that meets all your space and operational needs. Thanks to Winston CVap Technology, our cook and hold ovens ensure your food is cooking evenly and consistently. They don’t need hoods or permanent plumbing. Options include heavy-duty casters. therefore, you can move them to wherever you need. Cook and hold ovens are great additions for Ghost kitchenscloud kitchenssatellite kitchens, or commissary kitchens. In conclusion, there’s a CVap Cook and Hold oven to suit every need, every kitchen, and menu.

Talk to an expert today to learn more about how CVap Cook and Hold Ovens can benefit your operation. One of our qualified professionals will be glad to reach out to your shortly.

Fill out a contact form, or call 800-234-5286 to speak with a member of our team.

How to Pick a Holding Cabinet for a Commercial Kitchen

holding cabinet

No matter what type of commercial kitchen you’re operating, there’s a holding cabinet that can benefit you. Holding cabinets are a crucial part of any kitchen that serves hot food. They save time and labor. Consequently, holding cabinets can increase your bottom line.

What is a holding cabinet?

CVap commercial kitchen equipment foodservice products

Basically, holding cabinets are heated appliances designed to hold cooked foods at a safe serving temperature. Some holding cabinets do this well and some do not. Of course, the quality depends on the manufacturer and design.

Notably, people sometimes refer to holding cabinets as hot boxes, warmers, insulated warmers, hold and serves, warming cabinets, and other titles. Nonetheless, their function is the same.

Winston’s CVap® technology started as a holding technology. Colonel Sanders (yes, really) challenged our founder Winston Shelton to invent a cabinet that could hold his famous chicken for an extended time. Critically, the chicken had to maintain the infamously high quality that Sanders demanded. Shelton was up to the challenge.

Although the Colonel didn’t live to see the final product, CVap technology was the result. It revolutionized the foodservice industry. Nearly four decades later, CVap is still the pinnacle of holding cabinets.

All holding cabinets have the same job; keeping food hot until it’s served. Clearly, some do this better than others. It’s dependent on their design. Holding cabinets fall into four basic categories:

  • Dry holding cabinets
  • Passive humidity cabinets
  • Humidified holding cabinets
  • Controlled vapor holding cabinets

What Can I Use a Holding Cabinet Holding Cabinet For

As the name implies, holding cabinets are used for keeping food hot while serving. Although they’re found in all sorts of commercial kitchens, they’re particularly well suited for high-volume operations. These include fast-food establishments and institutional kitchens (schools, hospitals, prisons, etc.).

 Notably, holding cabinets cannot be used to reheat food – that’s a food code violation. But used with a little forethought, holding cabinets can reduce labor by allowing staff to prepare food ahead of rush periods. Depending on which type of cabinet you choose, holding cabinets can help you serve fresh hot food to all your patrons.

holding cabinet

How to Select the Right Select the Right Holding Cabinet

When it comes to selecting the right cabinet for your commercial kitchen, there are several factors to consider. In the interest of transparency, we’re only talking CVap holding cabinets here.

Your Volume

How much traffic do you see in a typical day? Is it spread throughout the day, or does it come in rush periods? If your volume isn’t particularly heavy, you may be able to thrive with a smaller CVap unit, such as a holding drawer or half-size holding cabinet. There’s no point in paying for more capacity than you need. On the other hand, higher-volume operations may want to consider larger cabinets, such as an HOV5-14UV or HOV3-14UV. Clearly, larger cabinets increase your holding capacity, so you can maintain food at high quality throughout meal periods.

Your Space

How much room is available in your commercial kitchen? If you’re in a confined space, such as a food truck or concession stand, you obviously don’t have a lot of room to work with. Smaller CVap cabinets, such as warming drawers, holding bins, or under-counter holding cabinets are a good solution. Likewise, larger spaces can accommodate bigger cabinets, from the half-size HOV7-05UV up to the HOV5-14UV. CVap holding cabinets don’t require vent hoods, so there’s no need to utilize that valuable space. Optional stacking kits give you the option of stacking two cabinets, doubling the footprint capacity. There’s a perfect size for any operation or workspace.

Your Menu

What food products are on your menu? CVap holding cabinets provide an extended hold on any food products. CVap truly excels at moist foods, such as soup, pasta, and seafood. The moist vapor environment inside CVap cabinets really interacts with the food’s moisture, locking in freshness for a long time. Foods that you wouldn’t consider particularly moist, such as pizza, burgers, or steaks will also hold fresh for an extended time. Nothing can hold forever, but these foods will hold for a substantial time before losing quality.

At the upper end of the scale are crisp foods, such as french fries. Again, CVap provides a respectable hold. But the high differential temperature required to properly hold crisp foods will inevitably cause food evaporation to creep up. This shortens the time before quality starts degrading. Don’t get us wrong, CVap cabinets still provide a respectable holding time. But it’s important to realize that even the best cabinets have their limits.

Does your operation offer baked goods? CVap holding cabinets are also excellent proofers. You can proof and hold in the same cabinet, getting double duty from the same footprint.

Your Budget

The brutal reality of today’s world is that everything is getting more expensive. Geopolitical turbulence (we’re looking at you, Russia), persistent pandemics, and supply chain strain is ratcheting up the cost of everything. This is particularly true of stainless steel. Naturally, stainless steel is the primary component of virtually every holding cabinet.

Money is always an issue. But at rocky times like these, you may be tempted to go with the cheapest cabinet you can get, namely a dry or passive cabinet. But you need to look beyond the initial cost. Buying the cheapest cabinets will save money up front, but over the life of that cabinet, the decrease quality of the food served from it will add up costs over time. In the end, it may cost you more than you saved by buying the el-cheapo cabinet.

CVap cabinets’ precision and elevated food quality really are the better option. We admit, CVap isn’t the cheapest brand out there. But it is the best. CVap in your commercial kitchen gives you the assurance that you are serving food at the absolute peak of quality.

Winston offers CVap holding cabinets in three feature levels, tailored to fit a range of budgets.

Our lowest tier is Series 3. The 3s feature simple membrane controls. They’re easy to operate, even for untrained staff. Although they’re the simplest CVaps, they still deliver the precise hold that people expect from CVap cabinets.

Next up are our Series 5 cabinets. The 5s have capacitive touch controls, desktop programming, a USB port for programming uploads and data downloads. Eight programmable channels cover about every type of menu. Convection fans minimize hot and cold zones with the cabinet.

The top of the line are our Series 7 cabinets. Series 7 have all the bells and whistles as the Series 5s, plus a few more. Wireless NFC programming enables you to reprogram the cabinet with the wave of your Android phone. Convection fans can be turned on and off. And a probe option gives you accuracy the is simply unrivaled.

As you can see, there’s a CVap holding cabinet to suit every budget.

Your Mobility

Sometimes you have to move it, move it. CVap cabinets come stock with casters, so moving them around your kitchen, whether to clean or to rearrange, is no problem. If you need to really move it around, consider adding the optional transport package. This includes 5” heavy-duty casters, push-pull handle, cord wrap, and evaporator cover. It’s perfect for commercial kitchens that need to move hot food from one area to another, such as from a school kitchen to a classroom.

CVAP Accessories

Ultimately, It’s Up to You

Nobody knows your operation as you do. In the end, you are the best judge of what you need. But if you need a little guidance, contact us. We’ll be glad to discuss your needs and options and suggest the best solutions for your commercial kitchen.

Cooking Vegetarian in CVap®

cooking vegetarian
cooking vegetarian

Cooking vegetarian cuisine in restaurants and commercial kitchens is now a thing. There are many reasons behind this growing trend. For some folks, it’s a desire to eat healthier. Others may take up vegetarianism out of a desire to avoid harming animals. Undoubtedly, sustainability factors into some people’s decision to be vegetarians. Plant-based foods certainly have far less impact on climate change.

Although CVap is well-known in culinary circles as being excellent for cooking proteins, we wanted to test it by cooking some vegetarian dishes with a carnivorous slant. It’s worth noting that while these are solidly vegetarian, they aren’t vegan. The cauliflower recipe includes butter, a vegan no-no. Nonetheless, they were a tasty, guilt-free treat for our resident vegetarians and carnivores.

cooking vegetarian

Roasted Buffalo Cauliflower

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Frank’s Red Hot (or hot sauce of preference)
  • ¼ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 Tbs Butter
  • 2 Heads of Cauliflower (cleaned and cut into large bite-sized florets)
  • Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

The Process

  • Preheat RTV/CHV-05 ovens to 200°F/350°F.
  • Place butter, hot sauce, and extra virgin olive oil in an oven-safe pan and into the CVap to melt butter and heat through
  • Toss florets with the sauce and place them onto a lined baking sheet, single-layer, with space.
  • Bake for about 30 minutes (RTV) – 40 min (CHV), or until reaching the desired texture.
  • Remove from oven, then sprinkle tops of buffalo cauliflower with freshly-grated Parmigiano Reggiano. Bake for another two to three minutes.
cooking vegetarian

Serve with your favorite sauce (we used ranch), or enjoy as-is!

The base recipe came from allrecipes.com, but we adjusted it to suit our preferences, so technically, it’s our recipe now 😊

cooking vegetarian

CARROT BACON

This recipe is inspired by Tabitha Brown’s Carrot Bacon recipe. We’ll be the first to admit that good old-fashioned bacon is damn near the perfect food. But if you’re looking for a healthier substitute for bacon, this vegan bacon/jerky recipe fits the bill...

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp Liquid Smoke
  • ¼ Cup Agave
  • ¼ Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Granulated Garlic
  • 1 Tbsp Granulated Onion
  • ¼ Tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Smoked Paprika
  • 6-7 Large Carrots (peeled)

The Process

Preheat RTV/CHV-05 ovens to:

  1. Cook Time – will be dependent on the size of carrot slices and expectations of “doneness.”
  2. Vapor OFF and Water Removed Air 300°F
  • Prepare the “curing spice” for the carrot bacon by mixing everything in a bowl and setting it aside.
  • Clean and peel carrots. Use a peeler, a Japanese mandolin, or a comparable slicer to make the carrot strips. The longer the pieces, the more it will look like “bacon.”
  • Toss strips with curing spices, cover, and allow to marinate for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Transfer strips to a perforated sheet pan, single layer.
  • Bake in CVap oven until reaching the desired texture.

Remove the carrot bacon from the perforated pan immediately. Otherwise, it will stick to the pan as it cools.

cooking vegetarian

Note: We noticed that the strips get crisper as they cool.

Full disclosure – the original recipe was written for preparation in an air fryer. But we discovered that cooking in a CVap oven increased the volume output! We also realized that this spice blend is similar in flavor profile to Grippo’s Bar-B-Q Potato Chips! Happy accident!

All in all, our vegetarian cooking day was an interesting and
tasty success.

No Matter How You Crack It, CVap Cooks Eggs to Perfection

eggs scrambled feature

If you’re familiar with CVap® technology, you know that it’s very versatile. Its ability to dial in its dual heat system to achieve different cooking processes is unparalleled. One area where CVap really shines is in cooking eggs. CVap’s vapor heat makes it particularly well-suited for moist dishes. Why not use the most versatile technology to prepare nature’s most versatile food? We’ve done lots of CVap testing on eggs, and the results were impressive.

Precision is what sets CVap technology apart from other cooking technologies. When cooking, just a few degrees make all the difference in the eggs’ consistency. Too cool, and they are runny and undercooked. Too hot, and they are granular and closer to hard-boiled. CVap delivers the precision to really dial in the desired end temperature. And only CVap can hold them at that desired temperature for extended periods, without overcooking.

Here are a few examples of how CVap excels at cooking and holding eggs.

eggs scrambled feature
poached eggs

Poaching Eggs

Poaching is a classic example of moist cooking. Ordinarily, it involves cooking food in a liquid and at a lower temperature than most other “moist” cooking methods. The CVap oven’s controlled vapor heat replaces the partial immersion used in traditional poaching. CVap is so versatile, you can poach eggs inside the shell. It’ll hold eggs perfectly, for hours, without overcooking. Read more here.

Baking

Of course, when it comes to baking, eggs are simply an ingredient, rather than the focus. But that being said, CVap ovens excel at baking egg-rich recipes like cheesecake and crème brûlée. In the mood for something savory instead of sweet? How about a goat cheese tartlet or a quiche with fresh kale? No matter what recipe you’re baking, CVap will bake it perfectly, without overcooking.

cvap live event cheesecake
sous vide egg bites

Sous Vide

Although sous vide seems to be getting a lot of attention lately, it’s an age-old cooking technique. Traditional sous vide involves immersing bagged food in temperature-controlled water to cook slowly and precisely. The CVap twist on this technique is that CVap ovens use water vapor instead of immersion. You get the same precision as traditional sous vide without the hassle of bags or circulators. CVap ovens enable you to ramp up productivity in a fraction of the space that countertop circulators would take up. Because sous vide involves lower temperatures, it’s perfect for delicate foods like seafood, vegetables, and of course, eggs. Check out a great example of sous vide cooking with these sous vide egg bites.

Staging

Staging involves cooking food to the exact internal temperature and texture desired and holding it there. When the time comes to serve, simply remove food from the CVap, apply any needed finishing touches (like grilling or garnishing), and serve. CVap technology is uniquely able to do this, even with delicate foods like eggs. Serving a banquet of 500 eggs benedict? No problem. Staging in CVap means every patron will get a fresh, hot dish. If you need a little inspiration, check out this delicious eggs benedict recipe.

poached egg on muffin
egg on toast

Holding Eggs

In a perfect world, every meal is cooked fresh to order. The reality of foodservice is that food usually must be held before it’s served. But to keep food warm doesn’t mean it can’t be kept fresh. Food placed CVap equipment maintains just-cooked freshness, temperature, and texture for extended periods. You can prepare well ahead of the rush and keep serving through peak periods. Imagine being able to cook sunny side up eggs on a skillet, transfer them to a CVap cabinet, and hold them hot for hours, without temperature change, and without the yolks condensing. Cook up hotel pans of scrambled eggs and hold them hot and fluffy until you’re ready to serve. It’s possible in CVap.

Want to know more about eggs, their nutrition, and the health benefits of eating ‘em? Check out this info from the Egg Board.

When it comes to eggs, Winston wrote the book on it. No really, we did. Download a free copy of Delicate, Delightful, Delicious Eggs, by our dear late friend, Chef Barry Yates.

Cooking Plant-Based Meat Options using CVap

plant burgers

Plant-based proteins have trickled into retailers across the US and have been, dare we say, adopted into our everyday life.  As more people search for ways to eat healthier and reduce their impact on the environment, plant-based meat substitutes are increasing in popularity across dayparts and in multiple formats.

We wanted to test how well these retail products performed in our foodservice equipment. We purchased a variety of plant-based proteins, including burgers, breakfast sausage links and patties, breaded chicken patties, tenders and nuggets, and Italian meatballs.

Cooking:

The Collectramatic Fryer was set to fry all of the breaded items at 350°F; the protein patties, tenders, and spicy nuggets.

For the meatballs, breakfast patties, and sausage links we had an RTV705 Retherm Oven set to 200°F vapor/350°F air. We inserted a pan into the oven to preheat, to simulate searing for the sausage links.

We went old school on the Beyond Burger patties. They were chargrilled at medium low heat to internal temperature of 165°F.

Holding:

We set the CHV705 Cook and Hold Oven to hold the crispy fried items at 135°F vapor/185°F air.

The HBB Hold and Serve Drawer was set to hold at 140°F /+4 (148°F) for all of the “softer” products: meatballs, sausage patties, sausage links, and the burgers.

We evaluated everything immediately after cooking, and again after about 40-60 minutes of holding.

beyond burgers plant burger
plant sausage patties
Incogmeato Sausage links
plant meatballs
Chicken Breast Tenders
cutting plant products

Results:

From a frying perspective – the Collectramatic fryer was on point. Products cooked perfectly, and came out crisp and golden.

The RTV oven did a great job as well on cooking the breakfast patties and links.

This was our first attempt at cooking and holding multiple plant proteins. Consequently, these settings worked very well.

We would consider tweaking the holding settings in future attempts. The vapor setting was fine. The air setting kept most of the plant-based foods well, but some items, such as the protein patties and the chicken tenders started to show some cupping, which could indicate too much drying. But their temperature held constant.

The biggest surprise was that the Beyond Burgers improved with holding. They were a bit soft and spongy when first pulled from the grill, but they firmed a bit in holding, which for us, made the texture better.

smoking-burgers
plant meatballs
plant tenders

Honestly, most of the plant-based proteins are surprisingly good. It’s amazing how closely food scientists, research & developers and manufacturers have been able to mimic the look and consistency of actual meat. The flavor on most products is good, though some of our more finicky tasters wrinkled their noses a bit at some of the flavors. Perhaps it’s best to think of these products not as being identical to their animal-based versions, but as a suitable and palatable alternative.

CVap® Operators Groups

Share your recipes on Facebook or Linked In. These groups are all about Winston CVap Technology.  Sharing settings, recipes, and tips on how to utilize CVap in your kitchen. 

What is a Holding Cabinet?

holding cabinet

To explain, holding cabinets are heated appliances designed to hold cooked foods at a safe serving temperature.

Some holding cabinets do this job well and some do not. Of course, the quality depends on the manufacturer and design. Also, holding cabinets are sometimes referred to by other names. For instance, they are called a hot box, warmer, insulated warmer, hold and serve, warming cabinet, and other phrases.

Winston’s CVap® technology started as a holding technology. The challenge was to create an appliance that could keep foods hot and fresh. For example, operations with a drive-thru service rely on holding units to keep food hot and ready for fast delivery. Winston’s founder, Winston Shelton, saw the benefit of the technology. He worked out the science behind the challenge. As a result, CVap technology has been an industry leader ever since.

 

holding cabinet

What are the Benefits of CVap Holding Cabinets?

INCREASED FOOD QUALITY

Foods held in CVap equipment maintain the aesthetics and nutritional quality customers require. Achieve this by maintaining moisture and succulence in foods. The controls allow for flexibility. This enables serving from kiosks, cafeteria lines, chains, and QSR markets.

Maintain precise food temperature

The CVap process controls food temperature precisely. It keeps food safely out of the temperature danger zone. We program CVap equipment controls in compliance with all USDA guidelines. We can assure operators that CVap holding equipment will assist in maintaining safe temperatures. It also enables the documentation and monitoring of food safety plans based on HACCP.

Decreased Food Cost

CVap technology locks in the moisture of food from the start of the holding cycle. This process extends hold times and provides more time for production. Food costs decrease because there will be less low-quality food waste. 

CVap Equipment Versus the Competition

Three categories define CVap’s competition: dry cabinets, passive humidified cabinets, and humidified cabinets.

Dry Cabinets

Advantages

  • Food product is held in a hot atmosphere, facilitating quick service during busy periods.
  • Utilize this cabinet for dehydration (dried meats and vegetables).
  • Minimize cleaning time.
  • Simple to operate.
  • Cost is generally lower.

Disadvantages

  • No humidity means decreased hold times.
  • Heat rises, therefore causing food temperature differences in the cabinet.
  • Utilizes thermostat, which requires calibration and is only accurate within 10°F.
  • Cannot control food temperature precisely.
  • Food quality is not a primary focus.

Passive Humidified Cabinets

Advantages

  • Food product is held in a hot atmosphere, facilitating quick service during busy periods.
  • Increased humidity level in the cabinet, therefore causing better hold times than dry cabinets.
  • Utilize this cabinet for dehydration (dried meats and vegetables).
  • Unlike most holding cabinets, cost is generally lower.
  • Generally better yield than that of dry units.
  • Units are simple to operate.

Disadvantages

  • Small evaporator used, which limits the amount of humidity within units.
  • Water is not heated by a separate heat source, causing uncontrollable food temperatures.
  • Food quality is still secondary compared to other holding cabinets.
  • Unit has significant hot/cold zones throughout the cabinet.
  • Utilizes thermostat, which requires calibration and is only accurate within 10°F.

Humidified Cabinets

Advantages

  • Food product is held in a hot atmosphere, facilitating quick service during busy periods.
  • Large, heated evaporator is adjustable and allows the user to control food better.
  • Extended hold times on all food products (compared to dry and passive units).
  • Good temperature stratification throughout cabinet (minimal hot/cold zones).
  • Better overall food quality than dry and passive humidified cabinets.
  • Increased yield and higher food temperatures.

Disadvantages

  • Cannot control water temperature precisely, therefore resulting in inaccurate food temperature control.
  • Adjust the Humidity level by 0-10 setting, which doesn’t give an exact water temperature.
  • Insulated evaporator will climb past desired settings, which leads to food temperatures overshoot (in some cabinets).
  • Utilizes thermostat, which requires calibration and is only accurate within 10°F.
  • Determine settings by trial and error and for this reason can be confusing.
  • Recommend daily draining and cleaning of the evaporator.
  • Cost is higher than dry and passive humidified cabinets.

CVap Holding Cabinets

Advantages

  • Food product is held at desired serving temperature, facilitating quick service during
  • Hot and ready during busy periods and maintaining safe temperatures during slow periods.
  • Uses differential control to manage food temperature and food texture independently.
  • Differential control adjusts its air temperature to compensate for the water temperature, therefore optimizing texture.
  • CVap system creates a vapor pressure in the cabinet, eliminating hot/cold zones of food temperature.
  • Control has base settings, therefore making it easy to get an initial setting for the customer.
  • Microprocessor eliminates calibration needs and is notably accurate to within 2°F.
  • Best overall food quality and also the most extended holding times in the industry.

Disadvantages

  • Cost is higher than some competition.
  • Some customers don’t require long hold times.
  • Appearance is also similar to humidified cabinets (for example Cres Cor’s Aqua Temp).
  • Recommend daily draining and cleaning of the evaporator.
Pass Humid Cabinet

Passive Humidified Cabinets

CVap humidified holding cabinet

CVap Holding Cabinets

humidified holding cabinet

Humidified Cabinets

Does CVap Equipment Use Humidity?

All CVap cabinets utilize humidity (the amount of water vapor in the air). However, CVap cabinets do not use humidity the same as some competitors’ equipment. Unlike some competitor models, CVap cabinets generate humidity using a vapor bath. This bath is located in the equipment’s base. CVap holding cabinets function with a three-gallon vapor bath. It is also independently heated. The basin heats to the exact temperature that customers choose to hold the food.

Problem Areas – and How CVap Holding Cabinets Can Help

The most common problem area or areas for improvement are:

Ticket Times

The time it takes to serve the desired customer order. The longer the ticket times are the fewer total customers they can fill in one day. Indeed, CVap reduces ticket times, which enables users to seat more people. As a result, businesses make more money.

Food Quality

Poor food quality can result in loss of sales. For example,  poor quality includes dried-out or tough food. Additionally, food that is too chewy or has poor color can turn away customers. Food that is soggy, hard, or overcooked also can cause food waste and loss of revenue.

Shrinkage

This is how much the product reduces weight during holding and deals directly with food costs. In most cases, food products in a dry or humidity cabinet continue to lose weight while holding. Foods that show high shrinkage also are perceived as lower quality.

Employee Skill

Most kitchens today have trouble finding highly skilled employees. Many employees overcook or burn food, increasing food costs. This problem can also result in poor food quality, long ticket times, or an inability to service high volumes of people. Solutions for these problems translate to increased profits!

High Labor Costs

Again, it is tough to get good employees, and many restaurants overstaff to make sure that the job gets done. CVap products allow restaurants to reduce the number of employees on staff, thereby lowering labor expenses.

Food Safety/FDA Compliance

Many facilities are implementing HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points), a system developed to minimize risks of injuries and foodborne illnesses. Those establishments who choose not to utilize HACCP must still follow FDA guidelines. CVap equipment is particularly effective in HACCP temperature compliance.

Kitchen Limitations

All restaurants have some form of kitchen limitation. Operators may not have space for more equipment, although they have trouble keeping up with their business. Other operators may want to get more equipment but don’t want to spend the money to get ventilation systems.

Utility Costs

The establishment may be utilizing inefficient equipment related to higher gas, water, or electrical costs. Providing equipment that solves this helps the bottom-line for profit earnings.

Features, Advantages, and Benefits

CVap technology holds foods at precise temperatures for an extended time without losing quality. Cook your food ahead of time. Also, eliminate quality changes in food. Significantly reduce long ticket times.

  • Feature: CVap Technology.
  • Advantage: Cooking or holding for extended times without losing quality.
  • Benefit: Reduce long ticket times

CVap technology utilizes a dual-heat source. CVap precisely controls the large evaporator in the bottom of the holding cabinet and the ambient air temperature in the unit. Therefore, you can adjust your desired food temperature by controlling that evaporator temperature precisely. Also, managing the ambient air temperature lets you adjust the food texture. You can decide if you want the food to be soft, crispy, or any desired consistency. In conclusion, by having this dual-heat source, you can hold rare steaks or crunchy chicken, and your staff should be able to keep up with the rush.

  • Feature: Dual heat source.
  • Advantage: Control food temperature and texture precisely.
  • Benefit: Staff can keep up with the rush (employee skill and ticket times).
holding cabinet

Food Sustainability

  • The key to quality food sustainability is more than the simple heat application. Adding simple humidity isn’t the answer, either. The real key to quality holding is to preserve as much natural product moisture as possible. That’s precisely the gentle holding capability of CVap Technology.
  • CVap keeps hot foods at safe, even temperatures while retaining the maximum amount of product moisture, the natural moisture found in most foods you need to hold.
  • Whether your holding needs are large or small, CVap hot food holding solutions are available in a wide variety of models and can support any food preparation or service by extending the sustainability of the food.

Heated Holding Cabinets

  • Holding units are a mainstay for any successful foodservice operation because they maintain precise food temperatures. CVap doesn’t “soak” foods with moisture. Instead, it helps foods retain their natural water for hours without overcooking or drying out.

Drawer Warmers

  • CVap Hold and Serve Drawers can fit anywhere you need production items held hot because they are available in one- and two-drawer configurations, in both standard and narrow widths. Therefore, you can place them on top or under countertops, on carts, or near serving stations.
Good Food

Some competitors may attempt to convince you that adding water vapor to held foods lessens taste and result in washed-out food. Frankly, that isn’t true. Heating food causes evaporation. Evaporation is a cooling process. So, if a competitor tells you that no vapor is needed, they aren’t being truthful. If the cabinet isn’t providing the moisture, the food is. Overall, no matter how “gentle” they describe their technology, it doesn’t escape the fact that it loses heat and quality when food loses moisture.

Proofing in Holding Cabinets

  • Every CVap product, from holding cabinets, warming drawers, and ovens, makes excellent proofers! Since these units can operate as either a holding cabinet or a proofing cabinet, they’re ideal for small operations that only have space for one piece of equipment in their kitchen. 

Holding Cabinet Sizes

holding cabinet

Undercounter

  • 34″ tall or less
  • Fits under counters
  • Best for small kitchens
holding cabinet

1/2 Height

  • 36-41″ tall
  • Best for low volume kitchen operations
holding cabinet

Full Height

  • At least 65″ tall
  • Best for high volume kitchen operations

Insulation

All CVap cabinets are insulated. Insulated cabinets help preserve heat within the cabinet more efficiently. As a result, this helps save energy and reduces costs. Use insulated cabinets for transporting food items. For instance, if you need to move a large quantity of product from one place to another, an insulated cabinet is the best way to accomplish this task. An insulated cabinet reduces heat loss and energy consumption by heating the unit and cooling its kitchen environment.

Pros:

  • Energy efficient
  • Great for off-site events such as catering, weddings, etc.
  • Cool to touch exterior
  • Less radiating heat leaves the kitchen cooler

Cons:

  • Higher initial investment
controller

Control Type

CVap holding cabinets are available with either capacitive touch or membrane controls. Both are easy to use and highly accurate.

CVap Door Types

CVap cabinets offer three types of doors: glass, flip-door, and solid. Glass doors allow operators to see the product without opening. As it happens, opening and closing the door frequently causes the cabinet to lose heat. Winston also offers a flip-door configuration on some cabinet models. Similarly, you can see the product through a flip-door. But unlike a glass door, a flip-door model allows quick access to foods without opening the door. Meanwhile, solid doors are extremely energy efficient and create minimal ambient heat.

holding cabinet pass-through door options
GLASS DOORS
holding cabinet flip door options
FLIP-DOORS
holding cabinet door options
SOLID DOORS

Holding Cabinet Door Configuration

Full height warmer cabinets are better for high-volume operation kitchens. CVap full-size cabinets feature Dutch doors because they minimize heat loss when the doors open. A pass-through configuration is also available. You can open a pass-through cabinet from both sides. Not only the front of the line can access the cabinet, but also the back of the line. Further speeding up the rate of production and service.

Holding Cabinets and the New Normal

The COVID-19 pandemic left a lasting impact on restaurants — a stronger emphasis on safety, convenience, and delivery. Improving food safety is an important goal for all foodservice operations. The right equipment can help accomplish this.

Holding cabinets are critical in preserving food temperature and safety in commercial kitchens. In fact, these cabinets help limit exposure to people when cooking for delivery or take-out. Foodservice professionals have incorporated this equipment to improve food safety practices and keep food fresh for take-out and delivery. Also, you can use holding cabinets to limit exposure to circulated air in a kitchen. Cabinets come in a variety of configurations.

Steak Holding

Holding Cabinets Can Benefit Your Restaurant

Restaurants can improve food safety, cut costs, and improve delivery during this time. Utilizing holding cabinets promotes limited contact with food and keeps safe temperatures. They also keep food hot and fresh for delivery and take-out operations.

Cabinet Safety

Promote Food Safety

With the risks of COVID-19 still looming, limiting person-to-person contact is essential. Holding cabinets help cut down on exposure between kitchen staff and food. These cabinets also are designed to preserve safe food temperatures before eating. They utilize controlled vapor and fans to distribute heated air to keep food hot.

Food Waste

Limit Food Waste

CVap holding cabinets keep food at safe temperatures for longer than heat lamps. A holding cabinet helps cut down on food waste and costs. They also keep food at desirable temperatures for delivery and take-out, which keeps customers happy.

food delivery

Improve Delivery Programs

Customers expect meals to be hot, fresh, and delicious when it’s delivered. Therefore, keeping food hot and fresh as long as possible is essential to offering quality take-out and delivery. Holding cabinets can keep food hot and safe until it’s ready for the customer.