Alto Shaam Cook & Hold Ovens and Cabinets
By Pat Finley – Master Certified Lead Technician
The Cook & Hold oven with Halo Heat® technology has been a staple in the food service industry since its introduction in 1970, but commercial ovens manufacturer Alto Shaam introduced the holding cabinet in 1968. They utilize cable heating elements wrapped around an insulated cabinet or box. These units do not use added moisture or fans for cooking. Heat is evenly distributed by surrounding the cavity with the heating elements and radiant heating, resulting in a precise temperature and better results in the quality of food.
These ovens can vary in how they control operation.
Classic controls use the standard knob system. You set the desired temperature and it starts.
Simple control utilizes a knob to set times and temperatures, but also has some programable features for repetitive menu items.
Deluxe controls feature a touchscreen that can interface with probe cooking and endless programs for cooking.
Tips for Peak Performance
To keep your commercial oven repair time from impacting your kitchen as little as possible we are providing a few tips to maintain your unit and when you may need to schedule a trained service technician.
The Doors – These ovens need to be sealed well. If your door seal is damaged or missing, replace it. The cooking cavity being sealed is a major component of the oven operating efficiently and can greatly affect product quality. Make sure the door is latching properly. If the latch is worn out and not holding the door closed, you can lose product moisture. No one likes a dried-out roast. Hinges play a vital role in the door-sealing process. Worn-out, sagging hinges will cause gaps in the door and allow moisture and heat to escape. Steam escaping the unit can damage the controls on the unit or burn someone.
The Cord – Often these ovens are on casters and will be moved around. Make sure the cord is supported and not dragging on the ground. If dragging, the cord can: wear through the insulation, get run over, and grease and cleaners can eat the insulation off. This could result in electrical shorts, downtime, and other hazards.
The Electrical Outlet – Check where the unit is plugged into. Loose connections or heavy cords hanging from a receptacle may cause shorts. Often it will overheat a receptacle and burn it up. This can damage the unit’s cord or the building. Do not plug any commercial food service equipment into an extension cord, if you need an outlet added for the unit, please consult with a professional electrician.
Check the Temperature – If you suspect an issue with your Cook & Hold oven, you can verify the temperature. Place a calibrated thermometer in the center of the cavity. Then turn the unit on and let it cycle on and off a few times. Just realize this is a lengthy process. Compare the temperature displayed on your thermometer to the temperature it is set for. If it is not close, please call your local General Parts Group branch for service. The issue may be as simple as a recalibration is needed, or there may be some other factors in play.