A chafing dish is a covered pan of metal or ceramic, fairly wide, which is used to slowly cook food, or to keep it warm. The name comes from the French chauffer ("to keep warm"). It can used for preparing dishes which cannot withstand the direct heat of a stove, such as fondue or rarebit or delicate fish. The most familiar form of the chafing dish in modern times is the long, light metal tray used on a buffet table, usually with Sterno or another type of burner beneath it. Smartalix correctly points out that some versions have water between the heat source and the food in a 'double boiler' arrangement.


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