Commercial heat lamps are used for helping to keep foods warm before serving. Unlike a bain marie, catering heat lamps are intended for more instantaneous and shorter term food warming.
Food heat lamps are not intended for cooking food, but with the help of heat lamps, food will stay warm while you’re preparing to serve it.
The principle of kitchen heat lamps is very simple. Just like studio lights or stage lights, the food heat lamp generates radiant heat. When this shines onto the food, it keeps the food warm without overcooking it. Of course if you were to leave the food under the heat lamp for too long, it might start drying out, which is why a bain marie is normally used when you need to keep food warm for an extended period.
As you may have guessed, a heating lamp for food requires a lot more electric power than an ordinary lamp would need.
Different Kinds of Heat Lamps from Butler Equipment
There are different types of heat lamps for food, and although they work on the same premise, they are uniquely suited to their particular purpose. For example, a chip warmer is used to keep french fries and other similar small fried food portions warm prior to packaging or plating. This use is quite different to a carving station heat lamp, which is used for keeping roast meat warm while it is being carved into serving portions.
Their function is quite different, so they also look distinctly different from one another. You’ll never mistake a carving station heat lamp for a chip warmer, though you may mistake it for an overhead projector due to its shape.
There are some important things to consider before you make your purchase. The first of these is whether a bain marie would be more suitable. The answer to that question is mainly going to be based on how much time the food needs to be held warm before it is served.
High Quality Heat Lamps for Food
Another factor is whether there is any work taking place on the food after it is removed from the cooking station and before it is plated or packaged. If the post-cooking preparation involves more than a second or two, you definitely should have heat lamps. If the food needs to be kept warm for more than a few minutes, it will probably be sensible to transfer it to a bain marie.
The advantages of using heat lamps for short term warming include being able to prepare foods en masse, and keep them warm until they can be bussed out to tables or packed for take away service. This helps staff to be more efficient, and to provide high quality service.