The Alto-Shaam Story

Alto-Shaam History Flyer

Whether you’re preparing haute cuisine in a top restaurant, health-conscious meals in a health care facility, or tater tots in the

local school, the equipment must provide a great return on investment for the foodservice program to be successful. At Alto-Shaam, we specialize in creating systems and equipment that are the core of successful and profitable foodservice programs in many different industries.

Born of innovation

In the 1950s, Alto-Shaam founder Jerry Maahs was trying to run a profitable business just like everyone else. As a chicken delivery franchisee, Jerry needed a way to keep food hot when it was en route to homes during cold Wisconsin winters. Jerry talked his challenges over with a pair of engineers and together they developed a stainless steel box heated with thermal cable. The invention was so successful, he was selling them company wide to help other franchisees build their profits.

Soon, Jerry’s invention was retooled to both cook and hold meat. Not only was the product turned out by this oven superior in flavor and tenderness, the reduced shrinkage meant more portions could be served from each cut of meat, providing higher profits for restaurant owners. With a great oven and a lot of hard work, Jerry promoted his cooking philosophy and technology to restaurants across the country.

In the mid-1960s, Jerry sold his franchised restaurants so he could concentrate his efforts on promoting low-temperature cooking philosophy and Halo Heat® products through the newly formed Alto-Shaam, Inc.

Today’s Cook & Hold

While many Alto-Shaam Cook & Hold ovens still take a little bit of effort and electricity to make an amazing prime rib, many chefs are using this commercial kitchen staple oven for steaks, vegetables, braising short ribs, baking cheesecakes, proofing bread dough or reheating convenience food items. With no flavor carryover, a very small electricity draw, no exterior ventilation needed, the Cook & Hold can work all day, every day, with maximum efficiency.

The Halo Heat Family

The advantages of soft, gentle Halo Heat not only makes the Cook & Hold oven the pride of any commercial kitchen, it also is a chef’s best friend in other areas:

  • Heated Holding– From drawer warmers and cabinets to heated banquet carts and CombiMate companion warmers, exclusive Halo Heat holds food at the perfect temperature for hours and hours, virtually eliminating waste from overcooked food.
  • Smokers– Cook & Hold ovens team-up with real wood burning components to provide perfect hot or cold smoking, adding a perfect extension to any menu.
  • Thermal Shelves and Carving Stations – Look close, or you might miss it! Halo Heat is cleverly disguised in our thermal shelves and carving stations, keeping displayed food at perfect temperatures.
  • Hot Wells – Hot steam blasts are a thing of the past with Alto-Shaam Hot Wells. Instead of using unpredictable steam to keep food warm, not to mention all the draining and deliming bother, Alto-Shaam hot wells use Halo Heat for a precise and low-maintenance heat source.
  • Merchandisers and Display Cases – Precisely heated food keeps deli customers coming back again and again. With Halo Heat-equipped merchandisers and display cases from Alto-Shaam, watch your deli offerings disappear and your profits soar!

High-Speed Cooking

When Jerry Maahs saw the future of commercial cooking going towards CombiOvens in the late 1980s, people thought he was crazy. Why would a company that virtually invented low-temperature cooking invest in high-speed cooking?

Lucky for us, Jerry didn’t let the naysayers interrupt his vision. He saw a future where quality food was cooked quickly and efficiently, using less energy, water, and labor than traditional methods.

Today, Alto-Shaam Combitherm ovens are being used in creative ways all over the world. Institutions are cooking large amounts of food in short time intervals with superior results. Fine dining establishments are using the patented CombiSmoke option to add flavorful options to their menu. High-volume operations are using the Combitherm as an integral part of their cook/chill program, allowing them to dramatically reduce both waste and labor costs.

The Alto-Shaam Combitherm is a lot of things to a lot of people, but to everyone, it’s a cost-effective, time-saving oven.

Back to Work!

When your equipment isn’t working, you’re not making money! That’s why you can reach a member of Alto-Shaam’s tech team 24-hours a day, every day, including holidays.

All of our FASTeam (Factory Authorized Service Team) global network of technicians have been certified by Commercial Food Equipment Service Association (CFESA) and undergo ongoing training to keep them up to speed with the latest technological advancements.

Green also is the color of money

Many people and companies are suddenly out to save the environment and be good ecological stewards. We couldn’t agree more. It’s important to take care of the Earth and to leave it better than we found it. For us, though, it’s also very important to take care of our customers, and their bottom line.

At Alto-Shaam, being “green” means a lot of great things for our customers, including:

  • Lower utility bills – Saving on electricity, gas, and water consumption helps the earth just as much as it helps your bottom line.

  • Less food waste – When food is cooked and held perfectly, less of it ends up in the landfill. Alto-Shaam offers precise temperature and humidity controls to help keep your food costs down.

  • Better food – Alto-Shaam was established on the principle that the key to producing better food is the prudent use of heat and energy. Today, it is common culinary knowledge that low-temperature cooking brings out the best in food.

  • Fast return on investment – With savings in utilities and food costs, combined with better food production, Alto-Shaam customers find a faster return on investment than those of our competitors.

At Alto-Shaam, it’s important to take care of the Earth as well as our customers.