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Chafing Dish

A look at the chafing dish and other food serving, cooking, and dish washing devices.

Whether you’re looking to suit catering needs, or simply looking to make things more interesting for events and meals at home, a chafing dish can be a refined and convenient means of serving food.

The origins of the chafing dish date back a few centuries, as it was popular in 16th century England, and even traces back to the early origins of colonial America.  Things have obviously come a very long way since then, but the underlying purpose of them remains the same:  to keep food warm in a dish that amply provides an adequate supply of food to those eating from it.

These days, you’ll be able to find chafing dishes in a wide variety of compositions.  Some are made of copper, some of silver, and some of stainless steel.  Some are electric and aren’t fueled with a flame.  Other lower cost chafing dishes are disposable, making for a convenient short-term fix.

A chafing dish can also come in a variety of different shapes.  The most popular form is probably the rectangular chafing dish, as there seem to be more of these for sale than any other kind.  However, you should have no problem finding a round top chafing dish, which essentially provides you with a circular shaped dish to store and serve your food from.  There’s also something called the roll top chafing dish.  This form of dish is basically a hybrid between a round top and a rectangular dish, as the chafing dish is rectangular in shape, but the top “rolls” off, making for easy access when the dish is opened and closed.

A chafing dish will often be used in restaurants, particularly those that serve buffets.  You’ll also commonly see them at formally catered events like weddings, corporate events, and more.

Other things that you’ll to look for when getting a chafing dish include making sure that the fuel holder that’s included is a high quality one.  You’ll want it to provide adequate adjustable features that allow you to change the temperature of the flame that’s powering your chafing dish.  Different foods will need to be served at different temperatures, so getting this part right is important.

You’ll also want to make sure that the metallic surface of your chafing dish doesn’t end up tarnishing over time.  If you get something with a lacquer finish, you’ll most likely have the adequate protection that you need as far as this issue is concerned.

If you’re not into the idea of going with something gel-powered as far as fuel goes, you might want to look into getting an electric chafing dish.  While the idea of this does provide convenience, there are some drawbacks to going this route as well.  First of all, you’ll need access to a wall outlet if you intend to use yours for outdoor situations.  Secondly, they’ll come some more money (usually around $250+ instead of the $100-200 average cost you’ll otherwise find).  Lastly, some people simply prefer the taste of food that’s cooked with gas, just as they might feel about using an electric stove vs. a gas powered one.

Take advantage of the many retailers selling chafing dish sets online, and proceed from there.  Read reviews to get user feedback, and you’ll maximize your chances of finding the best dish for your situation.