Grilling, broiling, stewing, steaming, braising, cooking, pressure cooking, roasting – in the past, chefs needed their own equipment for this. How is the situation today? How has multifunctional equipment changed the working environment in commercial kitchens?
By Dieter Mailander, mailander marketing
A lot of space, many pieces of equipment and even more staff – that was the situation in many kitchens at the turn of the last century, hence barely 20 years ago. The equipment was sluggish: it needed a lot of time for warming up and cooling down. Moreover, one could only cook a small range of dishes in it.
Today, the situation is entirely different in large parts of Europe. Space is scarce and expensive, kitchens are significantly smaller than in the past. Their equipment is often just as clearly laid out as the number of staff members, even though the number of meals served has often risen considerably. Both favor the development of new equipment and the further development of traditional equipment like kettles, dumpers, hot-air ovens, or pressure steamers, but also blast chillers and shock freezers, which are able to cook at low temperatures today.
Multifunctional – What does This Mean?
The manufacturers of hot-air steamers have already begun to expand the range of applications for their devices many years ago: producers of caldrons have followed suit. As in the past the hot-air steamer, the steam pressure cooker brought an innovation push to the industry. Cooks are now able to grill, broil, stew, steam, braise, cook, pressure cook, and roast with one piece of equipment on a small surface area. Furthermore, these multifunctional devices as well as other modern devices present additional advantages:
- An Efficient Degree of Utilized Capacity
Multifunctional devices are designed for continuous operation but can therefore also be used for cooking overnight (Note: good meat must age, therefore it has to be “well hung”. Some specialists say that every hour during which meat is cooked at a lower temperature, compensates for 24 hours of maturation period).
- High Energy Efficiency
The devices are temperature-sensitive. They reach their desired temperature quickly; stand-by is not necessary. They emit little heat and don’t heat up their outer walls (there is a lower risk of injury).
- Reduction of the Staff
Many cooking processes are usually programmed works. But cooks can also program their own ones on-site. All of this enable unmanned procedures. However, the chefs must check, whether they have to adhere to legal requirements for this type of production.
- Distinct Working Efficiency
Comprehensible symbols on the monitors facilitate the operation of the devices. Moreover, the equipment is becoming increasingly easier to clean; the processes are running partly automatically, even between individual production times.
- More Attractive Working Places
Staff members well qualified and willing to work are few and far between in some European countries. Those chefs, who provide jobs, which are physically less demanding, have the advantage: for instance, with equipment, whose baskets for pasta or fried foods raise resp. lower themselves automatically and whose displays are easy to read at eye level.
- Unproblematic Documentation of HACCP
With the help of saved data, chefs can document all the procedures electronically, which are relevant for HACCP.
- Digitalization and Networking
As a matter of course, new devices are digitalized and network-compatible.
You can read the entire article in the March-April 2019 print issue of Frozen Food Europe.