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"Hotel Pans" in the residential kitchen


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Last spring I bought of couple of full-size x 2 1/2 inch steam table pans for some volunteer cooking I do seasonally. I liked them so much I bought 2 more and a couple of half-size x 4" pans. I started adding to my now growing collection by bargain-hunting on ebay. I also started using the plastic CAMBRO and Rubbermaid equivilents. Today I keep some of these around the kitchen for everyday use. I find that these clean up easier than most of the consumer kitchen products I have around.

Does anyone else out there use these at home or do the esthetics of consumer pans and storage containers win out?

Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

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Last spring I bought of couple of full-size x 2 1/2 inch steam table pans for some volunteer cooking I do seasonally.  I liked them so much I bought 2 more and a couple of half-size x 4" pans.  I started adding to my now growing collection by bargain-hunting on ebay.  I also started using the plastic CAMBRO and Rubbermaid equivilents.  Today I keep some of these around the kitchen for everyday use.  I find that these clean up easier than most of the consumer kitchen products I have around.

Does anyone else out there use these at home or do the esthetics of consumer pans and storage containers win out?

I use almost exclucivly pro equipment.

Living hard will take its toll...
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I got a bunch of hotel pans and their subdivided sizes a month ago. I don't use them as much as I thought I would, but it's nice knowing I have them and *could* use them if i wanted to. Got 'em used for two bucks a pound, too, mostly Vollrath.

This whole love/hate thing would be a lot easier if it was just hate.

Bring me your finest food, stuffed with your second finest!

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I have 12 6-pans and a few half sheets. If I had my way all i'd have would be pro. After teaching my BF to cater wrap there have been a lot less spills :biggrin:

I also have stainless mixing bowls, and little mis bowls too...ebay and bowery

does this come in pork?

My name's Emma Feigenbaum.

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At home I use 1/2 size stainless hotel pans and sheet pans in the oven, polycarb 1/6 and 1/9 pans for mise and leftovers, and plastic Cambros for stocks and the like. Cheap, available worldwide, easy to clean, stackable, durable.

Hong Kong Dave

O que nao mata engorda.

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Over the past few years I've mostly switched over to Cambro for plastic storage. It's so much better than consumer level stuff, and it's cheap. I just order it from BigTray. I use the Camsquare containers in various sizes for flour, sugar, even dog food. The square design is very space efficient, and you can stack different capacity containers. The construction is incredibly durable and the lids stay on tight. I also use the Camwear black plastic food pans as storage bins. Three of them fit side-by-side on top of my refrigerator (which is also black, so they're barely noticeable) and I use them for onions, potatoes, that kind of stuff.

Vollrath hotel pans are great, and not just for food. I use 9-pans (technically known as "Steam Table Pan, 1/9 Size, 4" Deep, S/S") to hold miscellaneous stuff in my cabinets, like oven thermometers and corkscrews. (Hotel pans are referenced by their size in relation to a full-size hotel pan, which is about 12" x 20" give or take a little depending on the lip and manufacturer, and can come in various depths with the 4" depth usually holding 15 quarts and the 6" depth usually holding 22; a 1/6 size hotel pan is referred to as a "six pan," etc.) BigTray also sells a brand called Update International, which cost about half as much as the Vollrath ones.

I've also got several cheapo aluminum half sheet pans (a full professional sheet pan is 18" x 26", a half sheet is 18" x 13") that I use for many purposes. The standardized sizing ensures that a half sheet Silpat fits right in.

There are so many kitchen smallwares and tools that are better and cheaper in their professional versions. It always pays to look on BigTray or one of the other restaurant supply sites for the professional equivalent of whatever it is you think you need. You may find that you don't have to settle for poor quality, or overpay for non-utilitarian materials and design.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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"You may find that you don't have to settle for poor quality, or overpay for non-utilitarian materials and design."

Well put, Fat Guy. How many times have all of us bought something that promised the world and fell apart at a crucial moment? How many times have we spent hard-earned cash on something that has not delivered? How many times does it take until we learn that cheap and easy has a price?

It's more of a philosophical thing than a utilitarian thing with me; I use professional equipment because I am a professional in the kitchen; and it doesn't matter if I'm collecting an hourly wage to do the best I can with the daily fish special or pouring Cheerios into a bowl at ten in the morning at home on my day off. Professional equipment is a reminder to me that somebody grew the food or harvested the food; an animal died or some poor punter nearly went overboard in the Bering Sea in Force 11 weather to get this food to me. It deserves my respect, and all the focus and care and attention I can bring to bear to the task is just barely sufficient.

They say it's a poor workman who blames his tools. But I've been banging nails off and on for twenty years now; and I notice that the guys who do the best work are the ones who drive the 3/4 ton Diesel trucks, who buy the expensive yellow drills and the expensive blue saws and the expensive grey routers. And they use them hard and they take good care of their tools, feed them the pricey bits and blades, and they have absolute confidence that they will do a good job. These are serious men with serious mustaches and some of them even smoke pipes; they don't waste a word when a nod will suffice; and there is something in all of us, I think, that says that these are men who should be listened to.

This whole love/hate thing would be a lot easier if it was just hate.

Bring me your finest food, stuffed with your second finest!

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Restaurant supply stores are my favourite places to shop for kitchenware. Not only is the merchandise constructed for heavy-duty use, there is always a trade discount available.

I use my 20x12x4 hotel pans for the first straining of stocks and chicken soups. I fit a perforated pan of the same size inside of a solid-bottomed pan, and pour the contents of my stockpot straight in. Voila! The solids are lifted out with the perforated pan, and the stock/broth remains in the solid pan. It's a lot easier than using a spider to remove the solids, and it makes it very easy to further strain the liquids. I put my chinois into the stockpot, and pour the contents of the hotel pan straight in.

I also use the large round stainless steel steam table inserts usually used for soups as my containers of choice for everything from stocks and soups to stews and, basically, any cooked foods. Their verticality makes them much easier to store in the fridge, and they hold quite a bit. For storage purposes, just make sure to purchase the accompanying lid that is totally closed, rather than the one which has the slot for a ladle.

Edited by FlavoursGal (log)
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BigTray also sells a brand called Update International, which cost about half as much as the Vollrath ones.

I have Vollrath, Syscoware and Update pans (Full, 2-pans, 3-pans, 6-pans and 9-pans) as well as a few Polar Ware 1/2 sheet baking pans. Once I got some of the different brands I quickly gravitated toward the Vollrath as being worth the extra money, or in my case mostly time, since most of my acquisitions have been by bargain-hunting on ebay.

Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

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I have round Cambro containers in every size they make. They go from the freezer into the microwave (but on the lower power "defrost" setting to thaw the stuff, then on high for heating. I also use the square clear Cambro containers for storing some things but for grains, flours, etc., which I always store in the freezer for a few days, I like the seal on the round ones best. They are tough and do not crack, even when knocked off a high shelf when full of flax seed (yesterday morning).

(King Arthur Flour sells them at an inflated price for proofing dough.)

gallery_17399_60_1105293657.jpg

I use full-size sheet pans some black steel (old) and some aluminum (newer), as my big oven will hold them. I also have a stack of half-size sheet pans that fit in my Cadco convection oven.

I use the heavy weight steam table pans, especially in the barbecue/smoker because they are inexpensive and easy to grab and lift because of the deep rim and an 8 oz ladle fits perfectly into the rounded corners - something that really annoys me when trying to ladle liquids out of most roasters.

One of my favorite places to shop is Star Restaurant supply in Van Nuys - on Sepulveda Blvd. and open to the public since 1963. On the web at starkitchen.com.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I saw a bit of a real estate infommercial this weekend that had clips of some sort of a Bath & Kitchen Appliance Convention included. A rep from Sub-Zero was showing off one of their built-ins that included professional pans inside, with the selling point of taking it out of the fridge and putting it right into the oven.

Wow...I just Googled it and found they gave this model its own website!

Behold! The Sub-Zero Pro 48! Funny how they call the pans "bins" on the website.

So there's obviously a market for professional pans in the residential kitchen.

Is it a growing trend?

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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  • 1 month later...
After teaching my BF to cater wrap there have been a lot less spills  :biggrin:

How is "cater wrap" wrapping done? I've never heard the term before.

Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

;

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After teaching my BF to cater wrap there have been a lot less spills  :biggrin:

How is "cater wrap" wrapping done? I've never heard the term before.

ALL the way around...

start laying out the plastic wrap on the counter - place container on top - keep rolling out the wrap up and over the whole thing

start again but - spin the container sideways - wrap the whole thing again

if you do it right the wrap would contain any spills if tipped

tracey

The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

Maxine

Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

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Right. The idea is that most people take a small amount of plastic wrap off a small roll, then lay it over the top of a container and press around the edges. In professional kitchens, you work with a big roll of food film, and you start by pulling enough off the roll (but not tearing it off) to go under whatever you're wrapping. Then you go all the way around, sometimes twice, pulling more film off the roll as you go, and finally tearing, then often wrapping once or twice in the other direction -- it really depends on what you're wrapping.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Thanks, Tracey. I was envisioning some clever folding of the corners of foil or something like that and couldn't figure out how that would make a difference.

Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

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Does anyone have a favorite kitchen supply store in the SF Bay area? I'm in the South Bay, but will go elsewhere if need be. I've found a few small kitchen supply stores in San Jose, but they both seemed poorly stocked and didn't have much of a selection.

Thanks,

Margy

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  • 3 weeks later...
Does anyone have a favorite kitchen supply store in the SF Bay area? I'm in the South Bay, but will go elsewhere if need be. I've found a few small kitchen supply stores in San Jose, but they both seemed poorly stocked and didn't have much of a selection.

Thanks,

Margy

Check out Economy in SF or try East Bay Restaurant Supply in Oakland

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  • 11 years later...

I happily use Paderno hotel pans in my home kitchen.  However I've been looking for a larger pan for lasagne, one that would still fit in my Cuisinart Steam Oven.  My search stumbled upon the Vollrath 72060:

 

https://www.webstaurantstore.com/vollrath-72060-10-x-6-x-4-stainless-steel-loaf-pan/92272060.html

 

But note this disclaimer, particularly the last part:

 

RESIDENTIAL USERS:  Vendor assumes no liability for parts or labor coverage for component failure or other damages resulting from installation in non-commercial or residential applications.  The right is reserved to deny shipment for residential usage; if this occurs, you will be notified as soon as possible.

 

I just want to make lasagne.  How can Vollrath legally or morally refuse to sell to me?

 

 

Edited by JoNorvelleWalker
by request (log)
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My sense says that this has something to do with Volrath's suppliers who,  perhaps, make a "non commercial" line as well. Perhaps Volrath has agreed to avoid competition with that.

 

Otherwise, why would they care?

Edited by gfweb (log)
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Looking at all the varied stuff that they sell with their name on it, I'd think that some of it must be made for them.

Edited by gfweb (log)
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That's interesting.  Maybe it's their standard disclaimer and applies more to appliances?  Hard to see what could go wrong with a hotel pan!

 

I was shopping for a refrigerator and bought a commercial one because the warranty would be void if I used a residential fridge for commercial use.  How different is this from that?

Edited by pastrygirl (log)
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46 minutes ago, pastrygirl said:

That's interesting.  Maybe it's their standard disclaimer and applies more to appliances?  Hard to see what could go wrong with a hotel pan!

 

I was shopping for a refrigerator and bought a commercial one because the warranty would be void if I used a residential fridge for commercial use.  How different is this from that?

 

 

That makes some sense. 

And in ranges, the insulation on a commercial unit is less than a home range, so it requires clearance from cabinets that would be ugly in the average home.

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Ranges are totally understandable. Commercial ones violate a long list residential codes. They're actually dangerous, unless you make serious modifications to the kitchen to accommodate them. Even then, kids and the uninitiated can get burned from touching any exterior surface. With pans, I wonder if it's something more mundane, like you need a different class of liability insurance if you sell consumer goods, or if experience shows that it's more expensive to to give customer service to individuals rather than restaurants.

 

I've always thought hotel pans were cool, but never found a use for them at home. I prefer to use plastic containers for prep, because they do triple duty for storage and leftovers. And I don't have a steam table.

 

The big sizes do make great litter boxes for cats.

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Notes from the underbelly

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