Catering Meets Gluten Free

Gluten free dieters have become a norm in the United States and across the world. This is because there has been an increase in knowledge about Celiac’s Disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Many of the people who are part of those two groups have suffered for years before they were able to pinpoint their issues were do to the non-gluten free diet. Celiac’s Disease effects about 1 in 100 of the worldwide population, according to celiac.org. Though 3 million Americans have Celiac, the only treatment is a 100% gluten free diet. For many years the only option was to do hours of research to find a grocery who sold gluten free items. Now most groceries have brought on gluten free options. Restaurants have begun servicing gluten free options for these cases, but the catering industry is lacking these necessary options. I would suggest every caterer to have gluten free options for every event they serve. There many only be a few people who suffer from Celiac at the event, but it could be the difference in being hired to cater events for the guest in the future. When a caterer decides to offer a gluten free menu, they have to go all in. People who suffer from any sort of gluten sensitivity often find the gluten free options, but still have discomfort after. This is mainly do to a gluten contamination of the gluten free ingredients. It may not be a contamination at the local caterer, but rather at the factory level. Be sure to buy gluten free ingredients from a reputable gluten free providers. The additional cost will easily be made up in the long run by the additional business from your new gluten free clients. For a start, these are good gluten free items to build a menu around: * Unseasoned chicken breast * Ground turkey * Fish * One ingredient species * Simple Vegetables These ingredients, combined with the quality gluten free items from established gluten free provides will build the necessary comfort level with the customers. Branch out a bit, and build your gluten free menu items today, and reap the benefits later!

5 Reasons to NEVER use a Chafing fuel EVER AGAIN

1. Fire
     Fire has been the go to heating source for caterers since the introduction of chafing fuels in the early 1900’s. Fire is a hassle to work with and a hassle to be around. Also, every caterer has had a near accident or worst, been involved in a chafing fuel accident.
     Additionally, caterers have to monitor the temperature of their, monitor whether the fuel has burnt out, and monitor the water level to ensure there is still water in the pan. All of these can cause issues at an event.
2. Fumes
     Based on two different chafing fuel manufacturer’s data sheets, their fuels should only be used in “well ventilated” areas. If the user does not use in a “well ventilated” area nasal and/or respiratory irritation will occur.  Another manufacturer’s data sheeting reads “Harmful if inhaled”. Everyone who has been at a catered event has inhaled the fumes from a chafing fuel, we are all just a breath away from a harmful situation.
3. Environmental impact
     Every year millions of chafing fuels are thrown away. Many time with some gel or liquid still inside the container. The leftovers leak into the soil, and depending on where the      containers end up, it could get into our drinking water, our food, and/or the air we breath. These could all lead to poisonings from the hazardous chemicals used to heat the food.
4. Dangerous working environment
     Working in the food service industry is more dangerous than many people believe it to. There are slippery spots all over the working environment, thus workers wear slip resistant shoes.             
     But the most dangerous aspect is the fires. Not for cooking food, but rather the open flames keeping the food warm. These flames are unnecessary, unsafe, and make for the most dangerous working environment. These flame heaters should be replaced by safer, fire free heating sources.
 
5. Cost more money
     The last reason to never use a chafing fuel again is the cost. The cost of a chafing fuel is between $.75-2.00 per fuel. Some people will pay less and some more. But the hidden cost of using chafing fuels is staggering. The setup time for a caterer take between 30 minutes to 1 hour. Each dish take between 30-45 minutes, which requires at least 1 or 2 employees to setup. This setup cost the company valuable time before the event. The next hidden cost is cost of insurance. Open flames require the company to be covered at a higher level. Every employee deal with the chafing fuels has the potential to get burnt by the flame and even injured by the steam when replacing a dish. The last hidden cost is the time it takes to clean up after the event is over. The employees have to wait for the chafing fuels to cool down (approx. 10 minutes), find a place to dump the hot water out, and finally pack up the dishes. The total time for this could be up to an hour. 
by Logan Hayford
 

Tips for Planning the Perfect Reception!

Millions of people get married throughout the world every year. Most weddings are followed by a huge celebration with food, drink, gifts, and load of fun. In the United States this is usually referred to as the wedding reception. Wedding receptions can either make or break the day of the wedding, and I can guarantee without prior planning it will break the wedding day.
First off, you must pick a reception venue. This is the first important step in planning the perfect reception. Some wedding venues offer a place to wed and a place to party. Others will not have a place to hold the reception, this is when searching for the perfect venue comes into the planning process. I suggest starting your search on the Knot. The Knot is a great source to find all the venues in your area.
Things to keep in mind when picking the venue:
  • Who is allowed to cater in this venue?
  • What is the capacity of the venue?
    • Will you come close to reaching the max capacity of the venue?
  • How far from the wedding ceremony is the venue?
  • Will there be a bar service provided, or an extra fee?
Next, you need to decide if the reception will serve a meal, appetizers, and/or drinks. Guest will become impatient if the reception does not have either appetizers or drinks while they wait for the wedding party to arrive from after ceremony pictures. Many wedding receptions have ended before they started, because the guest did not wait for the wedding party to arrive. When choosing the food, ensure the caterer will provide a safe experience for all the guest. Most caterers will use the dangerous fire heating sources which can lead to dangerous situations for your guest. Be sure to ask your caterer to use the EcoHeat warmers.
Next, you need to take into account is timing. Wedding are typically in the mid afternoon on Saturdays. This allows for a wide range of time for the reception to take place. It is common to allow about an hour for the wedding party to take pictures following the ceremony. The picture time puts the reception into the supper time range. Many guest will expect for the reception to serve a meal if it is not made clear there will be no food. Depending on choices made for food and drinks the ceremony can go on into the late night hours. Sometimes even after the bride and groom have left the reception.
Sometimes food and drinks are not enough to keep the guest busy. In this case, the DJ is very important. DJs are another make or break part of the wedding. When choosing a DJ you get what you pay for. A good DJ will play songs to get different age groups on the dance floor, then play songs to keep them there. Everyone knows the songs which get people dancing, and the songs which send a certain age group back to their seats. One of my favorite traditions is the “Years married dance”. This gets everyone up out of their seats (who are married) and keeps them around the dance floor to see who has been married the longest.
Weddings can be the best day of a couple’s life together. Make sure when planning to take the venue, food and beverage options, timing of the event, and especially your DJ into account when planning for your wedding reception. Remember to keep you wedding safe from the dangerous fire fuels by ensuring your caterer chooses to use the EcoHeat warmers!
by: Logan Hayford

Improving the Life Span of your Catering Equipment

Every catering company is weary of the necessary investment they must make in their catering equipment. This equipment can range from something as useful as food displays to miscellaneous items such as decorative center pieces. However, one item that is vital to a catering event is a chafing dish. All caterers understand the pains of keeping your nice new pans shining after using them a couple times. Burn marks from using your chafing fuels, water marks inside the pans and residues of burnt food on the food pans. Chafing fuels can be the source of all these problems. Using fire to heat is not only dangerous for guests, but is hard on your equipment. Some options you may have for dressing up your catering line would be; Try using the EcoHeat warmers to help with these pains. EcoHeat warmers deliver just the right amount of heat to keep your foods perfect for your guests without harming your expensive chafing pans. You won’t have any worry about burning the pans which means no burn marks on the outside, and no burnt crusty food on the inside. EcoHeat warmers also don’t require water, so you won’t have to worry about dirty water build up leaving marks on any of your pans. Check out HeatingWithoutFire.com to find out more about how to revolutionize the way you are serving at your events. by Austin Hale

Is it safe to use a chafing fuel indoors?

is it safe to use a chafing fuel indoors?
Is it safe to use chafing fuel indoors? Many chafing fuel providers will say it is absolutely safe to use chafing fuel indoors, but is it really a safe way to keep food warm? I would say absolutely not. Many others agree with me including Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. In 2011, Madigan started a war against the use of chafing fuels. Chafing fuels are inherently dangerous in nature. They use a flame to heat water to produce steam to heat food. That is not taking into account the hazardous chemicals which chafing fuels burn.
What could go wrong
Almost every chef or event planner has been part of a nightmare scenario when a guest was injured by a chafing fuel or has had a guest come extremely close to injured by a chafing fuel. One chef told me he once had a event nearly canceled, because a chafing fuel was knocked over and caught the table cloth on fire. Another chef told me, she had a young girl nearly caught her hair on fire while going through the food line. If you talk to chefs across America, you will find story after story about chafing fuel accidents or near misses.
The Safer Way to Heat Food
There have been many attempts to replace chafing fuels, but chafing fuels have continued to be the main source for caterers. Heating Without Fire with the EcoHeat warmers is the best alternative for the dangerous chafing fuels. EcoHeat warmers are an air activated warmer which keeps the food at the perfect temperature while keep all guest safe.
Many lives have been greatly effected by chafing fuel accidents. This needs to stop! Chafing fuels are not safe, indoors or outdoors!