Alto-Shaam was incorporated in 1955 and, following 13 years in the restaurant business, Jerry Maahs began to focus more serious attention to the development of equipment for the food service industry. With his strong food service background, Maahs recognized and sought solutions to the equipment problems of the foodservice operator. The change of direction led him to devote the first two years to careful research and enabled him to enter the U.S. marketplace with a line of holding equipment aimed at replacing steam tables. He formally introduced this line at a food service trade show in Chicago.
The domestic foodservice market rapidly accepted the new patented food holding concept offered by Alto-Shaam. The company expanded their original line, developing a combination cooking and holding oven by 1971. The firm’s fast rise in a highly competitive market is attributed to the HALO HEAT System. The System is very basic, however, competitors were unable to duplicate it without infringing on Alto-Shaam patents.
The patented HALO HEAT method is achieved with a thermostatic controlled, low density thermal cable, wrapped throughout the walls of the cooking or holding cavity. This principle of uniform heat distribution is applied, to the greatest extent possible, in a complete line of specialty ovens and serving equipment. Alto-Shaam manufacturers HALO HEAT Low Temperature Cooking, Holding, and Serving Equipment for hotels, restaurants, institutions and supermarkets.
The advantage of low temperature, even-heat applications are: optimum enzyme action to naturally tenderize or “age” meats; improved flavor, color and nutrition; more tender and juicier meats. Roasts shrink less resulting in significantly greater yield and increased number of servings. Over-production of beef, pork, and lamb, after overnight refrigeration, can be reheated to required temperatures in these ovens with only minor deterioration to the product.
HALO HEAT equipment can hold foods for extended periods of time without bacteria growth, no additional cooking, and with minimal dehydration to the product. HALO HEAT equipment will save money on electric bills because the units require only one-half to one-third the energy of conventional ovens. Tests conducted by the Wisconsin Electric Power Company have proven conclusively that HALO HEAT low temperature cooking consumes the lowest known amount of electrical energy per pound of cooked meat. This equipment produces no smoke, heavy fumes, or combustible gases, which eliminates the need for exhaust hoods and outside venting. This not only simplifies and lowers or eliminates installation costs, but also gives the foodservice facility the continuing flexibility to roll units wherever needed.
Today, with the introduction and manufacture of the Alto-Shaam/Combitherm Convection Oven-Steamer in both electric and gas, Alto-Shaam Quickchillers, and institutional hot/cold dietary tray carts, Alto-Shaam has become a leader in advanced systems designed to save labor costs and improve operating efficiencies. Count on Alto-Shaam to provide more innovative systems for today and in the future.
The Culinary Institute of America and Alto-Shaam announce the Jerry D. Maahs Scholarship Fund.
Jerry Maahs devoted his life to better food. It started in the 1950s when he developed Halo Heat to keep home-delivered food warm during cold Wisconsin winters. That original technology soon appeared in the first Cook and Hold oven and changed the culinary world when Jerry introduced low-temperature cooking. Soon the Cook and Hold became a kitchen staple, and Alto-Shaam became a trusted name in restaurant equipment.
Even though Jerry passed away in 2006, his devotion to better food lives on. Alto-Shaam is proud to announce that the Maahs family established a $1 million perpetual scholarship fund for the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. Jerry had always invested in the food service industry, and this scholarship will see that others have the same opportunity to make a difference in the food service industry as well. The scholarship offers one culinary arts student per year a complete educational package, including tuition, expenses, room and board, books, fees, and equipment.
“Jerry came from modest beginnings when he started working in the 1950s toward what is now Alto-Shaam,” said Karen Hansen, CEO of Alto-Shaam and Jerry’s daughter. “It’s only fitting now to give back to the culinary industry by helping top students who would otherwise not afford this high level of culinary education.”
Country of Origin: USA
Specialty: Commercial Combitherm Ovens, Convection Ovens, Rotisseries, Cook N Hold Cabinets, Holding Cabinets, Quickchillers and Drawer Warmers
Awards: Best in Class for 8 Consecutive years
Energy Certifications: Energy Star
Regional Managers: William Groleau with Executive Chef Nicolas Tsikis
Ownership: Privately Owned and Operated Corporation