Food Rethermalizers - More than just a fancy name!
There are some pieces of restaurant equipment that are generally well-known and used by most, but food rethermalizers may be something of an unknown for many restaurants. While the name seems to come from a sci-fi novel, food rethermalizers are indeed an integral part of many kitchens here in the 20th century! Rethermalizers are part of a group of kitchen appliances and systems used for reheating food (usually bulk products) from refrigerated or frozen to serving temperatures. You may be thinking that your warmer already does this job, but let’s take a closer look at rethermalizers and why you may want to consider rethinking your mindset!
What is a rethermalizer, and how does it work?
As we’ve already touched upon, a food rethermalizer is a heating system that is used for heating and holding food at a serving temperature of 160-165 degrees. Rethermalizers utilize hot water to heat bulk products rather than hot air, proving both temperature control and energy efficiency. In fact, using hot water as opposed to hot air to reheat food is 10 times more efficient! The process takes about 90 minutes on average, and the cooked product can then be held at 150 degrees until it’s ready to be served (like a warmer).
Warmer vs Rethermalizer
So you may be wondering if it’s worth the investment to get a rethermalizer when you may already have a warmer. Rethermalizers can cut out labor and costs by doing the job of both heating your food and keeping it warm. In fact, rethermalizers are different from warmers in that they can bring foods through the HACCP ‘danger zone’ between 41-135 degrees, saving you the step of heating food before transferring it to a separate warmer. In fact, rethermalizers hold food warm in a ‘steam table’ environment.
Kitchen Biz notes some additional differences: ‘Rethermalizers require a larger heating element, use more wattage, and typically cost a bit more, but for many operators the one step set-up saves time and labor.’
What are some of the other benefits of using a rethermalizer?
If you aren’t sold on the rethermalizer yet, take a look at some additional benefits to adding one to your kitchen!
Consistency : Using hot water to heat food in a rethermalizer allows for more precision in heating temperatures resulting in a consistency in cooking. Similarly, rethermalizers don’t scorch delicate foods because the water bath is a more gentle heating method! The result is less shrinking and overcooking as well as a more consistent texture and temperature.
Less Waste : Because the risk of overcooking, shrinkage, and scorching is at a minimum, there’s less chance that food needs to be thrown out. Packages are also pre-measured, so you know exactly how much you’ll be cooking up! Less food waste translates to more money in the bank.
Versatility : Consider this: Chefs can simply pop items into rethermalizers and forget about them until they need served! This frees up their time to create other dishes, allowing for a wider variety of foods that simply would not be able to be cooked simultaneously without the benefit of a rethermalizer to do some of the work. You can also put the sides and sauces in a rethermalizer and focus on the menu entree!
Safety : When you can prepare allergy food items ahead of time in a sanitized kitchen and rethermalize them later, you reduce the risk of cross-contamination!