Hostess Secrets For Success

The secrets to serving food successfully using your Hostess


Secrets Of Success with a Hostess

The secrets of success when using your Hostess Trolley, Hostess Side Server and Hot Trays are ...

  • Cooking the food correctly (Food should never be under or over cooked).
  • Pre-heating the Hostess Trolley and the serving dishes / plates too.
  • Cover or uncover your food as needed - see the guide below
  • Leave the doors shut and the lids on - don't keeping checking

Cooking Food Correctly

The Hostess is designed to look after your food in the best condition.

Your Hostess is not designed to finish cooking food, so undercooked items will remain under cooked when served. If a Hostess cooked food then everything placed in or on the Hostess would be overcooked - not something you want to serve to your guests.

Likewise, over cooked food will remain over cooked. The Hostess keeps food in the condition it was when you used the Hostess.

Simply, food cooked properly and then placed in the Hostess will give you great tasting food when served.

Pre-heating The Hostess

One of the biggest mistakes made is not allowing enough time for the Hostess to heat up properly.

A Hostess Trolley needs 20 minutes minimum to heat up. If you do what we do and heat serving dishes up and plates at the same time as heating the Hostess Trolley you will need a minimum of 30 minutes to heat everything up properly. The actual time will vary according to the number of extra items you are heating up; you will need to test it before using. If in doubt allow plenty of extra time, as when the Trolley is up to temperature, it will use little energy keeping everything hot as long as you don't keep oening the doors.

A Hot Tray takes 8 to 10 minutes and a Side Server takes 25 to minutes to heat up fully. Again you can warm dishes and plates at the same time but do allow longer to make sure you are up to temperature before using for food.

Tip - We always heat serving dishes and plates at the same time as the Hostess. Why? Your serving dishes are ready for use when the Hostess is, plates are hot for the table, saves space and one less thing to worry about.

When to cover / not cover food?

This is one of the questions we get asked the most so here is a guide to cover or not to cover.

To Cover

Cover food when it should be kept moist and not be crisp. This includes most cooked vegetables, pasta, rice plus any food served in a liquid or sauce, for example stew. Depending on how it cooked and to be served some fish, meat or poultry dishes should be covered. You can find out more in the Hostess and Foods section.

The dishes should be covered using their own lids when possible as they will fit properly keeping in the moisture. If the dish does not have a lid, or the food does not fit in the dish with the lid on, the use cooking foil instead. Cover the food loosely and tuck the foil around the edges tightly to stop the moisture escaping.

Do not use cling film to cover hot food as cling film is not heat resistant and will melt into your food.

Do Not Cover

If food is to served dry and/or crisp do not cover the dish. Examples include roast potatoes, crackling on roast pork, pies with pastry top (the pastry will keep the filling warm and moist), bread. Again you can find out more in the Hostess and Foods section.

Covering hot food produces condensation on the lid or cover which then drips onto the food spoiling the dish.

One point to note is that layering food in dishes that is meant to be served dry / crispy produces condensation in the lower layers. The roast potatoes on top may be crispy but under the top layer the food will become soggy.

Food not to be covered is best kept in a flat dish to prevent a soggy bottom.

Leave the doors shut and the lids on

Everytime you open a door or lift a lid, like a fridge you alter the temperature, so you should keep doors closed and lids on as much as possible.

This stops the Trolley or Side Server cooling down abd affecting the food.

This does not affect a Hot Tray; just keep lids on derving dishes with lids to help keep the food moist and hot.

Great Food

With these simple secrets, you will be able to serve great food all the time.


If you have have any tips you would like to share or any questions then please contact us.