Cook & serve, cook & hold (& serve) were the common production processes in gastronomy and communal feeding in the past. Today, modern kitchen equipment makes it possible to cook, for instance, time-delayed, to regenerate mobilized, and/or to portion decentralized at stations, for instance, of hospitals, or in living groups of homes for the aged. Mobile kitchens, sometimes installed in food trucks, form the prerequisite to spoil guests by offering a meal at (almost) any place and at (almost) any time.
In the past, everything was very simple. In order to cook, the chef needed a stove that was large (more or less), a tilting frying pan, and a deep-fat fryer – then he was already able to get started. In gastronomy, he cooked in the past the same way that is still common today – “à la minute”, thus direct per order; the guest receives his ordered meal freshly prepared.
On the other hand, one usually still produces in large-scale catering establishments today in accordance with the system “cook and & hold” i.e. one cooks the food, keeps it warm for a few hours, and then serves it. Perhaps the kitchen professionals in the old days registered that the temperature, color and consistence of the food changed during this time, or that the dishes often lost a part of their nutritional value, especially vitamins and micronutrients, by the often long holding times.
Possibly they even suspected that harmful microorganisms form, when the temperature drops, but they didn’t know precisely abou...