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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

Contact Winston Foodservice Today

For over 50 years, Winston has provided reliable equipment to help foodservice operators meet the growing demands of their customers. Our sales team and global network of sales representatives are happy to consult with you and help you figure out the best equipment to meet your goals.

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

Essential Equipment for Cloud Kitchens

cloud kitchen
cloud kitchen

If 2020 showed us anything it is that cloud kitchens are here to stay. Consumer habits have shifted.  For example, app services like DoorDashGrubHub, and UberEats are more popular than ever. The public’s reliance on food delivery is unlikely to fade. Thinking of starting a cloud kitchen? Consider what equipment you will need. Maximize space, efficiency, and food quality in your kitchen.

WHAT IS A CLOUD KITCHEN?

A cloud kitchen (or ghost kitchen) is a professional food preparation facility set up to prepare delivery or takeout meals only. They do not include a storefront or seating for customers. It is not a restaurant brand in itself. For instance, one kitchen space could be home to multiple brands.

Cloud kitchens can work within brick-and-mortar restaurants or function as standalone facilities. Without the overhead of a physical location, cloud kitchens can save money on property expenses, labor, and maintenance. Maximizing the functionality of this small space is important because the average cloud kitchen typically operates in just a few hundred square feet. Winston Foodservice offers three essential equipment lines that would benefit any cloud kitchen.

Winston-Foodservice-CVap-Holding
MAXIMIZE YOUR SPACE

With a limited workspace, this kind of kitchen equipment must be compact and mobile. Winston’s CVap® Cook and Hold Ovens fit the bill. For example, CVap ovens do not require a vent hood*. Vent hoods are very expensive to install and operate. Since CVap ovens don’t require hoods, they can be placed anywhere in a kitchen with sufficient power. CVap ovens are versatile and can be used for multiple cooking techniques. There are many other benefits that CVap ovens provide. Click here to learn more.

*Check local codes.

FRY, FRY AGAIN

Serving fried food? No cloud kitchen that offers fried products is complete without a good fryer. Whether you offer chicken, fish, or potato wedges, Winston’s Collectramatic® fryers are the fryers you need. Collectramatic fryers have a 50-year track record of providing trouble-free performance and consistency. They cook all day with little filtration, therefore saving you on labor and oil. They have an industry reputation for cooking superior foods. Available in open and pressure configurations, there’s a Collectramatic fryer to suit any cloud kitchen.

ghost kitchen food
Winston-Foodservice-HBB5D2-Left-Shadows
KEEP IT WARM, KEEP IT FRESH

Need the accuracy of CVap holding, but limited on space? Our warming drawers are what you need. Winston offers a variety of CVap Hold and Serve Drawers. If you need to keep products crisp or moist, then you need CVap. You can place the drawers under or on top of counters for easy access. Because these drawers are available in wide or narrow configurations, you can rest assured that there’s a model that’s perfect for your space. They include single and double drawer models. Because of their versatility, you can hold a multitude of foods. Whatever you need to keep warm and fresh, from bread to soup, as well as eggs and chips, CVap has you covered. Having hot and ready food can keep deliveries flying out the door.

In conclusion, every operation is unique. Having the right equipment in your cloud kitchen will help your operation function efficiently and profitably. Our team of representatives can guide you to the best equipment to suit your individual needs. Please contact us today to learn how Winston’s products can set your kitchen up for success.

Carnitas in CVap®

events carnitas
events carnitas

I love food, and I mean all types of food! My absolute favorite style of cuisine is Hispanic – more specifically, Mexican, with its wealth of tradition and depth of flavors. What’s not to love? I have a group of friends I meet every Sunday at our local On the Border for lunch and a margarita or three (if I’m being honest, the food is decent, but the margaritas are the real draw!). I decided to mix it up one Sunday and order one of my favorite traditional Mexican dishes: carnitas.

They were less than spectacular, and I asked my friend Sergio why he thought they weren’t very good. He replied that too many people really only want fajitas on the hot plate, and this restaurant’s preparation just wasn’t traditional. To be fair, one look around the room proved that he was right. It looked like a sauna with the steam rising from every table. I was a victim of demand.

carnitas ingredients

Let's Make Carnitas!

I wasn’t about to settle for this disappointment, however. Carnitas is a staple of Mexican cuisine and I mean, c’mon, it’s PORK! I decided to take matters into my own hands. There are many ways to prepare carnitas, but traditionally it is shoulder meat (or leftover parts of a butchered hog) slow braised for several hours in pork lard, confit style. Once the pork has broken down enough, it is taken out and either pulled apart or cut into cubes. It then goes back into the lard with the heat turned up, and is fried to add texture. There are many twists and variations of this dish, and the part of the country you are from usually defines what ingredients and flavors your carnitas might have. For this recipe, I’m combining the old with the new and adding a splash of CVap®.

Ingredients

2 Lbs. pork shoulder, cut into 1″ cubes
½ teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cumin
2 small bay leaves
½ lime
1 cinnamon stick
½ orange
½ Mexican beer, preferably dark
Fresh cilantro
½ medium onio
2 Lbs. lard or cooking oil

Instructions

In a large vacuum or re-sealable bag, combine all ingredients.

Place bag in CVap Cook and Hold Oven at the settings below. Drink the other half of your Mexican beer!

carnitas in bag
carnitas in pan

Carnitas CVap Cook and Hold Oven Settings:

Legacy CVap

High Yield Mode: OFF
Doneness: 178
Browning: 0
Time: 8 hours

New CVap

High Yield Mode: OFF
Vapor Temp: 178°F
Air Temp: 178°F
Time: 8 hours

  1. Once the timer goes off, pull the bag out of the Cook and Hold oven and separate the pork cubes from the other ingredients.
  2. Place lard or oil in a fryer or large pot on the stove and set to 350°F (or medium-high heat). Drop the cubes into the oil and let fry until golden brown, about one minute.

Now comes the easy part: eat the carnitas! I usually enjoy them over a bed of rice and beans with a little salsa on top. I also like them in a corn tortilla with diced onions, cilantro, and freshly squeezed lime. Then again, sometimes I just eat them right out of the pot because it’s fried pork and I’m impatient. There is no right or wrong here, just enjoy!

carnitas pork frying
carnitas meat

Cooking Rice in CVap Ovens

Placing rice in CVap oven

Traditionally, rice is boiled or steamed. But cooking rice CVap ovens is very easy. CVap’s dual heat technology helps to avoid overcooking. Winston has several large chain customers who use CVap equipment to prepare and hold their rice. Rice can be held hot for up to 24 hours in CVap equipment, with no degradation in quality.

Rice is one of the most widely consumed cereal grains in the world. As an agricultural commodity, it ranks third globally (just behind sugarcane and corn). Rice provides more than one-fifth of the calories consumed worldwide by humans.

In this cooking session, we tested five different types of rice, in the same oven, cooking simultaneously.

  • Brown Rice
  • Enriched Long Grain White Rice
  • Par-Boiled Long Grain White Rice
  • Basmati Rice
  • Short Grain Sushi Rice

For most of these, the ratio of water to rice is a simple 2:1. Sushi rice is the exception, its ratio is 2.5:1.

The Process

  1. Pour premeasured rice and water into a hotel pan. We used a 4” deep, half hotel pan.
    – If cooking brown rice, use boiling water.
    – If cooking sushi rice, rinse prior to cooking, per instructions.
  2. Cover with both parchment and foil.
  3. Place in a preheated CVap oven. Our settings were 200°F Vapor temp, 350°F Air temp. The oven in this case was an RTV7-05.
  4. After the cook phase, allow the rice to rest or “cure” for a few minutes before removing parchment/foil lid and fluffing with fork.

Different rices have different cook times. Sushi rice cooks fast – about 15 minutes. Enriched long grain, par-boiled long grain, and basmati rice all took about 25 minutes to cook thoroughly. Brown rice takes a bit longer, approximately 40 minutes.

Cook time can vary, depending on the size and depth of pans used, and the size and type of oven utilized. We encourage you to experiment to find the optimum settings for your operation.

The Results/Observations

  • Brown Rice
    • As a whole grain, the brown rice took longest to cook, even with using hot or boiling water.
    • After 40 minutes, the brown rice was fully hydrated, tender, and fluffy.
  • All Long Grain White Rice Varieties:
    • Were fully hydrated, tender, and had great integrity
  • Short Grain Sushi Rice:
    • Sushi rice is easy to overcook. We pulled this sample after about 15 minutes. Gotta watch this stinker.

A Word About Rice and Food Safety

Cooked rice can contain bacillus cerus spores, which can produce a toxin if the rice spends too much time in the temperature danger zone (40°F to 140°F). If storing rice for use the next day, rapid cooling is advised.

A safer alternative is to hold the rice hot in a CVap oven or holding cabinet. CVap can keep the rice safely above 140°F, with no degradation in quality, for up to 24 hours. Read more about how to hold rice safely for hours in this blog.

Multitasking with CVap

CVap controls make multitasking easier
CVap controls make multitasking easier

pan into the cvap

We often brag about the versatility of CVap® equipment. But any kitchen professional will tell you, a kitchen tool that only does one thing really isn’t very useful. CVap ovens are the kitchen equivalent of a Swiss Army Knife. Sure, CVap ovens can bake and roast. But they can also braise, stage, retherm, steam, poach, even sous vide and confit. CVap ovens can also function as holding cabinets, saving valuable floor space. Likewise, eliminating the need to transfer product from an oven to a holding cabinet saves labor. CVap simply excels at multitasking.

CVap Multitasking Helps Your Everyday Prep

Delayed Start – Get your equipment pre-heated and ready to roll the moment your crew clocks in. CVap equipment can be set to preheat up to 24 hours in advance. When your crew arrives, CVap will be hot and ready.

Overnight Cook – The overnight cook feature is particularly useful for large proteins. It works while you’re not working. Simply load the ovens in the evening. Food will be perfectly cooked and ready to serve in the morning. Because CVap ovens automatically transition to hold mode at the end of a cook cycle, it won’t matter if the cook cycle concludes in the middle of the night. CVap maintains food at just-cooked quality for hours. Our school customers have frequently mentioned how much they appreciate this feature at Thanksgiving. Perfectly-cooked turkeys are ready when they arrive in the morning, ready for their students’ special holiday meal.

Bagged burgers in a CVap oven are an example of multitasking
Burgers and fried prepared in CVap oven - multitasking is easy

It’s All in the Programming

Programmed Channels – CVap Series 7 and 5 equipment feature eight pre-programmed channels, covering the most popular settings. Need custom settings for your operation? No problem! All eight channels can be reprogrammed via the control board, an Android device (Series 7), or a desktop app (Series 7 and 5). And the settings can be locked, eliminating the hassle of someone playing with the controls and messing up the day’s menu.

Righteous Retherming

Slacked or Frozen, CVap Can Handle It – If your operation serves lots of slacked or frozen foods, CVap Retherm Ovens retherm quickly and safely. They’re ideal for schools, healthcare, hospitality, concessions, ghost kitchens, commissaries, or satellite feeding sites – anywhere that serves a lot of food in a short amount of time.

Staging for Success

Staging – Staging involves par-cooking food to reduce the serving time. CVap ovens are unrivaled at staging. Food can be cooked to a precise temperature just below doneness, then quickly finished and served. Imagine holding an oven full of steaks or burgers at 135°F. As orders come in, food goes from the oven to the pan or grill for finishing. In less than five minutes, your patron has a perfectly-cooked, tantalizing meal.

Multitasking Helps You Save Time

You can literally turn tables three times faster by staging instead of starting from scratch. It’s another example of how multitasking with your CVap equipment helps streamline your kitchen operations.

Barry was a master at multitasking

Part One: Rosendale Against the World

Chef Richard Rosendale prepares a dish

Read all parts in this series: Part Two | Part Three | Part Four

A year of intense preparation lead Richard Rosendale to the most prominent stage of his life.

To win gold at the Bocuse d’Or USA qualifier, Richard Rosendale used a CVap® oven to cook a deboned chicken reassembled to appear whole by forcing the meat—believe it or not—into the shell of a Mr. Potato Head. He stuffed the bird with a mixture of sage and country ham, wrapped it in plastic, and closed it inside the toy. Leveraging the CVap’s low temperature, high humidity settings, he cooked it slowly and thoroughly while retaining its shape.

Rosendale prepares for Competition

Once it was up to temperature, I took the chicken out, put it into and out of a deep fryer four times to get the skin a little crispy, and then basted it with a winter truffle butter and sprinkled it with chives and sea salt,” Rosendale said. “To be able to cook that all the way through at such a low temperature can’t happen in a traditional oven. It would never have been that juicy and evenly cooked.

Rosendale would go on to prepare for the 2013 Bocuse d’Or culinary competition using a fully equipped replica of the competition kitchen he’d use in France. It was constructed in the basement of his workplace, The Greenbrier Resort. Every inch was measured off to equal the workspace in France. And every piece of permissible competition equipment was purchased for the set-up.

Chef Richard Rosendale prepares a dish

Achieving His Goal

That was my Bocuse d’Or headquarters, the place where (the coaching) chefs came to help me refine my dishes,” Rosendale said. To mimic the raucous atmosphere of thousands of fans who attend the highly patriotic event, “I had crowd noise coming in on loudspeakers. That can be a distraction if you listen to it, but once you get into your rhythm, you don’t notice it much.

Years after the event, he still speaks with awe about the deep education gained in that single year of focused training. Being surrounded by some of the greatest culinary minds in America helped him anticipate problems and find solutions in ways he’d never considered. He described the education as “equal to ten full years of learning normally.”

But having gone through that, I now think about problems differently from most chefs. If you haven’t gone to that level of training and creativity, you may not know it even exists,” said Rosendale. “When you’re sitting around a table with Grant Achatz and Thomas Keller, you see the ideas they come up with as striking but possible. Suddenly you’re figuring out new ways to do things. The lines of what once was just the realm of possibility have been moved.

Under the clock at the Lyon competition, Rosendale and his commis, Corey Siegel, endured five stressful hours preparing dishes. According to Newsweek.com, their menu included hickory grilled beef filet with asparagus and horseradish, fried hollandaise, a take on the Yankee pot roast using oxtail, potato dumplings, a resplendent coil of carrot, bone marrow, and more. The fish dish, turbot was slowly cooked and enhanced by ham, black truffles, cider-cooked butternut squash, a potato and leek cigar, and a wine emulsion.

Though hoping for America’s first gold medal win, the duo placed seventh behind the winning French team. Disappointed but not defeated, Rosendale acknowledged his team’s advance past its 10th place finish the year prior. He expressed gladness over being the last American chef who’d work full time while preparing for Bocuse d’Or.

That’s become part of the program now, to focus 100 percent of that year on the competition,” Rosendale said.

That change netted solid results four years later.

Matt Peters finally won it for the U.S. in 2017,” Rosendale said. “It’s great to see our chefs getting the benefits of every year of building blocks the chefs before them put in place.

Having achieved his goal of competing at Bocuse d’Or, Rosendale returned to his job at The Greenbrier with a new outlook on his role there. Satisfied with his accomplishments, he felt an eagerness to take his talents elsewhere.

I had young kids, and I saw the need to spend more time with them at that age,” Rosendale said. “I also wanted to return to being an entrepreneur.”

Read on and learn about Rosendale’s climb up the culinary ladder and toward his collision with CVap Technology.