3 Reasons This Chef is Obsessed with Cambro’s UPC400

“I’m excited about this Cambro, I love this thing.” Dave Schonfelfer, owner and chef of Fields BBQ and Catering has only had his Cambro Ultra Pan Carrier for around two months, but he’s already using the “L word.” It had been a year into his retirement when Schonfelfer decided to put his love of cooking to good use. He went online and signed up for cooking classes through Weber Grill. After training with their chief executive chef for some time, Schonfelfer began running what he calls his “kitchen on wheels” in Illinois. After a few years in business, Schonfelfer realized he needed an insulated transport unit to make his operation more efficient. After getting connected to his local Cambro rep, they decided the UPC400 would be best for him. He talked to us about the three biggest differences it’s made for his business:

1. Superior food quality and temperature are maintained

One of the reasons Schonfelfer went searching for an insulated transport unit was because he didn’t have a way to safely hold cooked meat. Previously, he used a warming pan, but he noticed the meat was becoming dehydrated and causing it to shrink. Schonfelfer takes a lot of pride in his food and refused to serve anything that wasn’t up to his standards. When he received his UPC400 and began using it in his day to day operations, he noticed a huge difference.

“As the customers come up, we would open [the UPC400] and for hours my meat stays hot, my meat stays moist,” said Schonfelfer. “The food flavor stays almost the same as if you just took it off the grill…it’s not dehydrating in one of those electric pans. That was huge.”

One of the most important features of the UPC400 for Schonfelfer is its heat retention and food temperature maintenance. The UPC400 safely stores prepared food for at least four hours.

“I just did 125 hot dogs for a bunch of kids at the YMCA as a free hot dog day for the kids. I loaded up my grill, I put them in the Cambro, two hours later, I had been opening and closing the door, I still had hot hot dogs,” said Schonfelfer.

Implementing the UPC400 into his operation has had an impact on his customer satisfaction too. 

“I have reduced the wait time which means I improved my customer service just by having the ability with that Cambro to keep food warm, and for catering too,” said Schonfelfer.

2. Exposure to heat has been decreased

For the last two and a half years in operation, Schonfelfer has been cooking in his kitchen on wheels for eight hours a day; a handful of those days were in 90-degree weather with high humidity. Couple that with standing in front of an extremely hot grill all day and it starts to take a toll on a person.

“If you’re cooking as they come up to your kitchen on wheels and you want fresh [food], then you have to deal with all of that severe heat,” said Schonfelfer.

Rather than standing in front of the grill for hours, Schonfelfer utilizes the UPC400 to enable him to cook in shifts.

“It reduced the heat exposure on me on these 95-degree days and that is so important. This thing is so cool, I’m so happy,” said Schonfelfer.

3. Money is staying in his pocket

No one wants to their money to burn—but that’s exactly what Schonfelfer had been doing. Keeping a grill going for eight hours a day doesn’t come cheap. Schonfelfer was spending a lot of money on quality wood and charcoal that wouldn’t negatively change the flavor of his food.

“I wanted to save expenses on my charcoal. I’ve been fighting to keep my expenses down,” said Schonfelfer.

Instead of constantly adding wood and charcoal to his grill, Schonfelfer was able to let the coals burn a bit between uses. When you’re cooking as much as Schonfelfer does, that little change starts to make a big difference.

“A lot of people wouldn’t think that you’re going to save money on charcoal, but a lot of the food vendors out there should consider getting a Cambro,” said Schonfelfer.

Fields BBQ and Catering features menu items like smoked ribs, pulled pork, chicken, tenderloin, Texas-style chili and homemade sides. Schonfelfer said he has his eye on a second UPC400 unit to use for his cold menu items.

Looking for the right Cambro insulated transport unit for your business? Click here to find your local Cambro rep.


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