Flambé is a French term used to describe the process of igniting a dish to which spirits or liqueurs have been added. Knowing how to flambé safely is vital in order to prevent accidents at work or in the home.
Flambé safely: the basics
In order to flambé safely, it is necessary to have all required ingredients and equipment ready before starting the process. This includes:
- A suitable spirit or liqueur
- A large chafing dish, skillet or flambé pan with a long handle and deep, rounded sides
- Long barbecue lighter or long matches
- A large metal lid, to cover your dish quickly if the flambé gets out of control
If at all possible, use a serving cart, as doing your flambé safely on the table can be difficult.
Flambé safely: the alcohol
The spirit or liqueur used to flambe your dish should be 40 per cent alcohol by volume, or 80-proof. Anything below this is not likely to ignite. Liqueurs above 120-proof should be avoided, as they are highly flammable and considered to be dangerous when ignited.
Heat the alcohol in a high sided pan until you see bubbles forming around the edge, but do not allow it to boil. Never add alcohol to a pan near open flames, as these flames may follow the flow of alcohol into the bottle and cause it to explode.
Flambé safely: the method
Pour the heated alcohol onto your dish and ignite it immediately using the long lighter or matches. Always make sure to ignite only the fumes around the pan’s edge, rather than the liquid.
To prevent personal injuries, take care not to lean over the pan and keep sleeves well out of the way. If lighting your dish on the table, make sure it is well away from guests and any flammable materials.
Never carry a flaming dish, as the burning liquid may spill and could cause potentially serious injuries by scalding and burning. If the dish appears to be burning out of control, use the metal lid to extinguish the flames.
When things go wrong
If you were injured at work because you were not shown how to flambé safely or were not given the right equipment to flambé a dish properly, you could possibly be entitled to claim work injury compensation.
Find out more about making an industrial injury compensation claim by discussing your workplace accident with an Accident Advice Helpline representative on 0333 500 0993, from your mobile, or 0800 689 0500 from a landline, now.
Date Published: August 1, 2016
Author: Accident Advice