A variety of equipment is available for keeping food hot, pending service. Liquids, semi-liquids and particulate products, such as vegetables and read-to-eat portions of meat, may be kept in bains-marie. These should always be brought up to operating temperature before use, and should not on any account be used for reheating foods. In water baths, checks should be made to ensure that the water levels are kept high. Topping-up should be with hot or boiling water. Container sizes should be matched to the water depth, limiting the amount of product which is above the water level.
Hot cupboards and hot plates may be used for storing reheated products. The latter are particularly valuable when used in conjunction with heating light arrays, but care should be taken to ensure that foods are kept fully in the lit areas, which correspond with the areas exposed to the radiant heat.
Hot food should be stored at or above 63°C. The temperature of the food should be monitored at two-hourly intervals using a clean, disinfected probe thermometer. Food below 63°C may be reheated, on one occasion, and stored above 63°C or consumed. If hot food has been below 63°C for longer than 2 hours it should be discarded.