At Last! A True Ductless Ventilation System for your Commercial Kitchen.

Many restaurants use deep fat fryers and griddles for commercial use in their kitchen. If any of these appliances are used, then they will need a ventilation system with an extract canopy to filter out the smoke and particle emissions. A standard ventilation unit ducted to outside air is one method of ventilation control; however, if you are a restaurant owner, you may want to consider a ductless ventilation system such as the Lincat Refresh.REF150

A ductless ventilation system is an alternative for someone who doesn’t want to, or is unable to because of building constraints, go through the hassle of installing a traditional ventilation system. The key advantage to the ductless ventilation system is that it requires no ductwork installation. The system itself has an air filtering system that cleans the emissions and recycles the air back into the room – instead of exhausting out of the building and into the atmosphere.

The robust and powerful Lincat Refresh units are truly unique. Available for use with electric appliances, they require no ductwork to the outside, but work by recirculating the air back into the kitchen after the extracted air has passed through a unique four-stage filtration process.

As the units are all-in-one, there is minimal installation required. The simple electrical system only requires a 13 amp plug (2 plugs for the REF150). The Refresh eradicates the necessity to install an air duct to the ceiling of your restaurant. It is also particularly useful when your appliances that have a need for it are not actually sited by an exterior wall. The ventilation system is portable and can be moved from location to location without any installation required.

Refresh is designed for use where venting to the atmosphere is impossible, difficult or costly. Examples could include

  • Listed buildings and conservation areas
  • Basement kitchens
  • Office blocks with limited access for ventilation
  • Where ventilation systems would otherwise need to go through a firebreak (and therefore increase fire risk)
  • Concession areas within airports, train stations and concourses
  • Buildings with restricted planning consent
  • To increase capacity or help with menu changes, which call for additional equipment in existing kitchens

The Lincat Refresh units are available in three sizes, to accommodate appliances up to 500mm wide, 1000mm wide and 1500mm wide.

At last we have a solution which provides a decent working environment for your staff, efficient ventilation for the equipment and you can buy this from your equipment supplier – so you are just dealing with one person for the whole design solution. An affordable modular design which avoids expensive ductwork.

Points to Note:

  • Suitable for use with electric catering equipment only (the units will not remove products of combustion such as CO or CO2 from the recycled air)
  • Recirculating units do not include equipment to reduce extracted air temperatures. This may be of benefit in cold weather but consideration should be given to the provision of cooling within the kitchen space when warmer conditions prevail
  • Refresh units need no direct duct connection to atmosphere; however we suggest a small amount of background extract ventilation should be provided to create at least 10-15 air changes per hour. Most existing kitchens will already have background ventilation in place
  • With the exception of the stainless steel baffle filter (which will only need replacing due to accidental damage), the other stages of filtration will require replacing once they have reached capacity. The frequency of filter changes will depend on the intensity and type of cooking. If a filter change is needed this can be determined easily by visual inspection as part of general maintenance checks. The stainless steel baffle filters (which provide the first level of filtration) should be washed in a dishwasher once per week, whilst this filter is removed, a visual inspection of the panel filter can take place, this filter will need replacing more often than the final two stages of HEPA and Carbon filtration.

Lincat Refresh ventilation units come with a two year warranty and are usually available within one week of placing the order. To download the Refresh brochure click here. The Lincat Refresh range of self contained ductless ventilation canopies are available from For further information email or phone the Busychef sales team free on 0500 008075

Ten things you didn’t know you could do with a combi-steamer (and a few things you should NEVER do!)

cropped-combi-paulThe modern combination oven is a sophisticated and versatile tool. Models such as the Lincat Opus SelfCooking Center are capable of so much more than just roasting or steaming. Here are ten uses for a combi-steamer which might not be immediately obvious – and also a couple of things you should NEVER, EVER try…

  1. Grilling – because humidity levels can be accurately controlled, it is possible to grill steaks and produce full English breakfasts. You can even chargrill using an optional oven grid which imparts authentic char marks to meat products.
  2. Pan Frying – advanced temperature and humidity control systems allow you to prepare pan fried dishes, such as trout, without even needing to turn the product during cooking.
  3. Toasting – again, efficient removal of excess moisture allows you to toast with crisp results. As well as bread and teacakes, you can also toast coconut, nuts, and a whole host of other ingredients, for patisserie work.
  4. Regeneration – many chefs will steer clear of regeneration, having suffered recurring nightmares of the dried out or soggy food of the past. But the unique Finishing mode in Lincat Opus SelfCooking Centers brings pre-cooked food back to perfect serving condition. Inbuilt automatic monitoring means that this mode can be used for plated banquets, a la carte dishes and also bulk food production in GN containers.
  5. Poaching – being able to combine steam with low temperatures (30°C – 99°C) enables you to gently poach fish, fruit, etc.
  6. Proving – precise control of both temperature and humidity means that a Lincat Opus SelfCooking Center can be used as an effective prover for bread and other yeast products.
  7. Overnight Cooking – fully automatic control means that food products can be cooked to perfection overnight, totally unsupervised. Slow roasting minimises shrinkage and produces a wonderfully succulent and tender result. Lincat have a Delta-T mode, which is perfect for cooking cured meats such as hams.
  8. Frying – deep-frying in a combi oven? Absolutely. Again, accurate control of temperature and humidity, together with a Lincat special CombiFry basket, allows bulk production of fried potato and breaded products – and with minimal oil, which is an obvious added benefit in these health conscious times.
  9. Drying – removal of excess humidity and gentle air circulation means that the Opus SelfCooking Center can be used to dry meringues, fruit slices, tomatoes, etc.
  10. Hog Roasts – using the optional spit attachment, whole pigs or lambs can be roasted.

There are some things, however, that are impossible even in an Opus SelfCooking Center. That’s not to say that one or two of Lincat’s more “imaginative” customers have not tried. One attempted to clean the pan supports from his six-burner range using the Lincat CleanJet self-cleaning function.

Another tried to use it as a clothes dryer – to dry out his tea towels. Our favourite, though, was the chap who placed a pan of lit oak shavings in the bottom of the cooking chamber, intending to impart a delicate smoked flavour to his meat. Unfortunately he forgot about the fan, which whipped ash to every corner of the oven.

The Busychef team would like to thank Paul Hickman, Development Chef at Lincat Ltd, for his contribution to this blog.

Eight Things That Chefs Would Never Admit To!

1. Chefs are fussier than you think

picky eater

You might think chefs need to eat everything to get new ideas for their wonderful new creations, but the truth is most chefs are not willing to eat EVERYTHING. The top 5 foods that chefs hate most are liver, sea urchin, tofu, aubergine and oysters, of all things. Only 15% of the chefs said they ate anything.

Avoid pasta and chicken when eating out

chicken pasta

Why? These dishes are not worth the prices on the menu. Pasta and chicken dishes are easy to make at home, and chefs said that if they are paying £15 for a dish, they want something they don’t usually make, or at least is not that easy to make.

Chefs love fast food, TOO!



You may think chefs would avoid fast food but actually most of the chefs claim they love fast food. The favourite chains among chefs’ votes: KFC and McDonalds.

Chefs work hard for low pay


Chefs usually work between 60 to 80 hours a week and almost all of them work on holidays. 65% reported making less than £25,000 per year, compared to waiters taking home an average of £600 per week.

Specials are usually experimental dishes


You may think that special menu items usually are the popular dishes, but the truth is that specials are just a chefs’ way of using old ingredients to try out new ideas or serve seasonal ingredients. Only 5 chefs admitted that they try to empty out the fridge with nightly specials.

Don’t order fish on Sunday


Several chefs warned, “We don’t get fresh deliveries on Sunday.” So if you order seafood on Sunday, you might have the food less tasty/fresh.

Does 5 seconds rule work?

food on floor

Yes, 25% of the chefs surveyed said they’d pick up food that dropped on the floor and cook it. So the 5 seconds rule works, at least for the chefs.

Restaurants mark up wine by A LOT more than you might expect

drunk restaurant

A lot of chefs said that the wines on their menu costs 3 times what the same one costs in a supermarket.

With thanks to Al for his contribution – and my wandering mind which made most of this up.

Top 10 Tips for Catering Equipment Maintenance

fireTop 10 Tips for Catering Equipment Maintenance

The only way to get the most benefit and trouble-free service out of your catering and refrigeration equipment is to perform regular maintenance. Regular maintenance, which includes cleaning, will keep everything working in good working order and can catch minor problems or worn out parts before they cause expensive breakdowns. Regardless of the type of equipment, there are 10 maintenance related tasks that you need to do for every piece of catering equipment that you own.

Read The Manual!

The first place you should look for proper maintenance procedures for your specific pieces of catering equipment is the owner’s manual, which comes with the equipment. Generalised tips from an article on the internet are all well and good, but the owner’s manual will tell you specifically what needs to be done to keep your equipment in tip-top shape. Most manufacturers’ websites have downloadable versions of manuals, and the manufacturers should have manuals for older or discontinued models, too.

Fill Out and Return the Warranty Card

The only way to gain the benefits of manufacturers’ warranties for new catering or refrigeration equipment, which usually include x-number of years in free parts and labour, is to fill out the warranty card and return it to the manufacturer. You usually have about a month after delivery to get the warranty card filled out and returned, so don’t put it off.

Educate staff on the proper use of the equipment.

Misuse and abuse are among the leading causes of catering equipment breakdowns, and most warranties will not cover repairs resulting from misuse. Show staff how to properly use, clean and maintain your foodservice equipment to keep everything up and running and eliminate the amount of money you have to spend on non-warranty issues.

Clean all catering equipment daily.

Daily cleaning is perhaps the most important maintenance tip for catering and refrigeration equipment. Daily cleaning prevents dirt, grime and food scraps from building up and causing damage to the machine’s components. Having clean catering equipment is something environmental health officers look for too. Learn more here about what EHO’s look for

a9feaa6c206_634x404Perform thorough cleaning on a regular basis.

Either weekly, monthly or half yearly, depending on the type of equipment, there are deep cleaning procedures that need to be followed. The purpose of more thorough cleaning is to get those places that are hard to reach or to just tackle the grime that accumulates over time.

Regularly inspect your catering equipment.

Any time you perform a thorough cleaning on your catering equipment, inspect any moving parts, electrical, water and gas connections and other components for wear, tear and leaks. Catching and correcting small maintenance issues early (like a water leak caused by a loose hose fitting) can save you from more expensive repairs in the future. You can even set up a service contract with a local service agent and have them inspect your equipment. Try us out at YCE Catering Equipment Ltd by phoning 0113 252 6566 or email

Replace broken or worn out parts.

Over time, parts just wear out and need to be replaced. If something appears worn out, better to replace the worn out part soon before it causes serious problems. Contact a member of our service team at YCE Catering Equipment Ltd by phoning 0113 252 6566 or email

tumblr_inline_mi812zliar1qz4rgpBe careful with DIY fixes. 

One way to save money on catering equipment or refrigeration repairs is to simply fix it yourself. If the equipment is new, fixing things yourself may void the warranty, so be sure to read the warranty and know what you can and cannot do yourself. Even if the equipment is not under warranty, overly complex repairs should still be performed by someone with the right skills and qualifications – not some guy the boss met down the pub. Don’t slow down your wait time with unreliable equipment.

Follow chemical instructions.

Whether the chemicals you are using are meant to clean the piece of equipment or the equipment uses chemicals itself, like a commercial dishwasher, be sure to read and follow the instructions on the labels. Improperly mixing to the wrong chemical concentration can be dangerous for your staff and damaging to your equipment.

undersinkcloseProperly care for stainless steel.

Catering equipment and refrigeration is manufactured primarily out of stainless steel. Despite its name, stainless steel can become stained, tarnished or corroded if not properly cared for, so be sure to use mild detergents, soft cloths and wash with the grain when cleaning your food service equipment.

If you would like advice from the experts on looking after your catering equipment, please get in touch with the Busychef team on 0500 008075 or email We have been giving good advice for a very long time.

When your deep fat fryer stops working…………

Just about to start service, switch on the fryers at the wall or try to fire up the burners and the nothing happens? Kitchen nightmare indeed! Imagine running just one service without a deep fat fryer!

What do you do next? Call an engineer – maybe – but will your favourite kitchen equipment engineer really be able to get to you in five minutes?angry boss

Do you have an on-site maintenance engineer? Even if he can get to the kitchen quickly, does he know what to do?

This is worth a shot – read on.

Before service started were the fryers cleaned out? Was the old oil changed for new? Has someone simply pulled the fryers out to clean behind them? All of the above actions can result in the overheat, safety or reset switch becoming activated, or trigger the fryer head location microswitch (sounds it techy but it’s not).

The fryer head location microswitch is the easiest fix – just looking at the fryer you will be able to see whether the head is sitting squarely onto the tank. If not, just relocate it as it should be, and the fryer should start up. There is no resetting of a microswitch – its just there to make sure the elements are sitting in the oil and this type of safety device is usually found on small table top electric fryers.

Now to the overheat or reset safety switch and the most likely cause for it to trip out:

When emptying your deep fat fryers, whether gas or electric, we all know it is easier to drain the oil when it is warm. The oil is less viscous – thinner – and runs away easier. Don’t try emptying the fryer of oil when it is still hot as that is dangerous and could result in a fire or worse.

The Hot Off the Grill restaurant in Seal Beach is closed on Saturday due to a grease and oil fire that happened Friday evening.  ////ADDITIONAL INFO:  -   -  Day: Saturday - Date: 4/25/15  -  Time: 9:56:14 AM  -   Original file name: _KSA3642.NEF  -  KEN STEINHARDT, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER --

When draining warm oil from the fryer tank, the fryer heating element or gas burner tube is exposed whilst the fryer is still warm, and these areas can actually still increase in temperature as the oil absorbs any left over heat once the fryers have been switched off.

Remove the oil (the heat absorbing load if you like) and the metal components can no longer dissipate the latent heat through the oil so they heat up.

This can result in the overheat thermostat being activated, which is why your fryer won’t switch on. Have a look at this really helpful video from our friends at Lincat. Don’t worry if your fryer isn’t made by Lincat, and the neon lights on your fryer may not be the same colours – the remedy is just the same as soon as you have found out where the switch is hidden! Now where did you put the fryer instructions?

Easy – right? Well we hope so, but there is a chance of course that this fix doesn’t get your fryer working again. The overheat switch may reset, but it might activate again either immediately or soon after resetting. In this case, as John says in the video, you may have an underlying fault within the fryer that your service engineer will need to check. Under no circumstances tape the reset button down or ask your KP to keep his/her finger on it until service ends. It’s there for a reason!

To see the full range of electric and gas deep fat fryers on the Busychef website click here.df7

The Busychef and YCE Catering Equipment Ltd team would like to thank Lincat Ltd and  their Product Support Manager John Quipp for the above video.

If you do need service support, then contact YCE Catering Equipment service line on 0113 252 6566 or email:

Why Choose Induction Cooking?

IH21Induction Cooking has come a long way since its creation back in the early 1900s (yep – really!) and modern implementation into North America in the 1950’s. Advancements throughout the late 20th century and early 21st century have made induction cooking a popular option for chefs across the world. Is induction cooking right for your business? Keep reading to find out!

The Techy Bit

Induction CookingWhen you use an induction range, an electric current creates alternating magnetic fields. These magnetic fields create a current that push against molecules in the cookware. The resistance from the molecules produce heat in the pan. Therefore, the pan itself creates the heat, making induction cooking one of the safest options in the foodservice industry.

Remember, when you use induction cooking you need to use pans made from a ferrous material (such as iron or stainless steel with ferrous bases) for the heating to take place. If you don’t, the process won’t work! You can soak up more techy stuff here.


Induction cooking is known for being a safe alternative to conventional cooking. With induction cooktops, there is no open flame or heated surface to catch fire or get burns. Yes, the pan and food get hot – but induction ranges only produce magnetic fields, so if there isn’t a pan on the range, no heat is produced!


When it comes to induction cooking, nothing is more accurate. Increased control and repeatable results are just a few of the pros with this type of cooking. Some hobs and ranges have many power settings so you can have varied degrees of accuracy every time you cook. You can adjust cooking heat instantaneously with induction ranges.

Induction cooktops heat food more evenly by turning the pans into the source of the heat. They also feature tight, precise temperature control and the capacity for very low temperature settings.


If you’re looking to save when it comes to your energy bills, induction cooking is the way to go. Induction is about 90% efficient rather than gas ranges at under 50%. You’ll also save some money throughout its life by eliminating a pilot light.

Induction cooktops produce less waste heat, which is useful if you’re working with expensive food that needs to be cooked carefully and kept cold beforehand. If you’re looking to easily temper chocolate, or thicken custard or hollandaise sauce, induction ranges are perfect and your kitchen will no longer require bain-maries or double boilers.

Is your traditional range making your kitchen uncomfortably hot? Induction ranges keep your kitchen much cooler, making your team much happier! Induction units are incredibly easy to install if you’re purchasing a range, or if you have a countertop range you simply plug it in and go.

They all come from Asia – Right?

Wrong! Lincat, the UK’s leading manufacturer of commercial catering equipment, has added induction hobs and ranges to its professional range of over 450 products for cooking, holding and display.

Manufactured at Lincat’s purpose-built factory in Lincoln, UK the energy-efficient induction technology can help you to reduce operating costs and maintain a more comfortable kitchen temperature, while delivering a highly responsive and controllable cooking method with a range of convenient features.

Because heat is generated in the pan, instead of the hob surface, very little energy is wasted into the kitchen’s atmosphere, which makes the cooking process more efficient and reduces demand on air conditioning systems. At the same time Lincat’s new induction hobs deliver rapid heat-up and almost twice the cooking power of a similarly rated gas hob.

Other features include rotary controls with LED power level display, pan detection safety functions, easy-to-change filters and powerful internal cooling fans with overheat protection. Their impact-resistant Scott Ceran® glass ceramic surface is hard-wearing and easy to clean, particularly as the induction process keeps the surface relatively cool.

Nick McDonald, Marketing Director of Lincat Ltd, said:

“Ideal for melting chocolate, simmering stocks or rapidly boiling a large pan of pasta, our new IH21 induction hob will help businesses to reduce energy consumption, cut costs and increase safety in the kitchen. Equal to the challenges of the busiest commercial kitchen, the IH21 is also a great choice for front of house or theatre style cooking, thanks to its attractive design and sleek profile.”

For further advice on induction cooking or help in choosing the right induction cooker for your business, call the Busychef team on 0500 008075 or YCE on 0113 252 6566. Our range of induction cookers can be found by clicking on this link.

Demystifying Stainless Steel! Why you should know more



Have you ever noticed that some stainless steel is more durable than others? Ever wondered why some is magnetic and some is not? It turns out that stainless steel is a broader concept than many realise, referring simply to a group of hybrid metals (“alloys” if you like). Why should you, a food business owner, need to know about stainless steel though?

Being properly aware of what you’re investing your money into is important. We don’t want you to buy a product which is insufficient for your needs, nor do we want you to spend money on a piece of equipment which provides more protection than you really need.

So, let’s talk stainless steel. Stainless steel alloys are made by mixing iron with at least 10.5% chromium, as well as other metals and materials like carbon. The different “recipes” for stainless steel result in different types, impacting price, strength, and corrosion resistance. You may have noticed we label benches “430 grade”. That description tells you something about its composition. It’s part of a larger group called “ferritic” stainless steel.

Another group common in foodservice (and elsewhere) is called “austenitic.” Most commercial sinks are made from a type of austenitic steel tagged “304 Series.”

All of this can get rather confusing, so let YCE and Busychef break it up a bit for you – we have been making stainless steel benches, sinks and shelves for 35 years.

Austenitic Steel

The most common type of steel used today, austenitic steel accounts for 70% of steel production. Because of the materials used in this alloy, it’s particularly resistant to corrosion.


304 Austenitic Stainless Steel

Known for being the most common type of stainless steel used, 304 is practical and hardy. It’s resistant to food products, sterilising solutions, and most organic materials. Because of its superior rust protection, it’s used in sink bowls and other surfaces which are most likely to come in contact with corrosive substances. Unfortunately, due to the high cost of nickel and how difficult it is to work with austenitic steel, this is more expensive than many other stainless steel options. An example of a sink made from this material can be found on the Busychef website here.

201 Austenitic Stainless Steel

You could consider 201 the kid brother of 304, since they share a similar chemical composition. It’s still food safe, but doesn’t hold up to corrosion quite as well, so it’s not going to withstand chemicals like bleach. Because of this, it tends to be less expensive. You’ll often find it in the form of handwashing sinks, but we won’t use it for fabrication.

Ferritic Steel

The main way ferritic steel differs from austenitic is that is contains nickel and is also magnetic. For example, want to find out if your stainless steel is austenitic or ferritic? Grab yourself a magnet. If it sticks, it’s ferritic. It’s known for being both corrosion resistant and hold up against stress.

430 Ferritic Stainless Steel

For environments with less chemical use, 430 is a great option, as it’s made with chromium. 430 is used most often for ovens, refrigerators, and economic cost sinks or tables. While it may be cheaper, if properly taken care of, it can last you a long time and will end up being a wise investment. We tend to use 430 for undershelves, wall shelves etc.

316 Ferritic Stainless Steel


316 isn’t something you’ll find very often in the restaurant world, though it’s been known to pop up occasionally, like in food trolleys meant for hospitals or food processing equipment. It’s extremely corrosion-resistant because it has larger quantities of nickel, and as such, it is mainly used in the medical world. Because of the amount of nickel it contains, it’s difficult to fabricate, and so is quite expensive.


Counter-intuitively, the lower number gauge, the thicker the steel. Take note that while the steel may have a lower gauge, and therefore be thicker, the type of steel still matters. Gauge is just the density, not the quality.



Also known as the economy gauge, for a lower cost you get a respectable piece of stainless steel. It tends to work best for things like wall shelves and undershelves. (1.24mm)


This is where you get the most bang for your buck. It’s a quality thickness which will serve many uses, but won’t break your budget. You’ll find plenty of well-built sinks and prep tables which use 16-gauge. (1.65mm)


The perfect gauge for butchers. You can hammer and hack things on this gauge all day long without bowing the stainless steel. It’s also going to look smooth and sleek over a longer period of time. (2.11mm)

If you would like advice from the experts on which quality or gauge to choose for your food establishment, please get in touch with the Busychef team on 0500 008075 or email You could also take a look at the Lincat fabrication we sell online at website here.

Replacing Refrigeration – What You Need to Know

MBF 2 DOORKitchen refrigeration is one of the key items of equipment of the foodservice industry. Without correctly working refrigeration, it would be nearly impossible for any business to keep its food safe and preserve the quality of its food. When it is time to replace a refrigerated appliance however, there are certain steps that should be taken.

1. Factor in the Size
The first consideration that needs to be made when replacing a fridge is assessing the size and capacity of the model. There is a huge variety of options when it comes to choosing the right equipment, and knowing which one matches a specific business is important. Cabinet refrigeration can range from small under-counter 60cm by 60cm models of 100 litre capacityMGF 1 DOOR to massive 150cm by 80cm uprights that can provide up to 1500 litres of refrigeration. However, the external dimensions of these fridges have declined slightly as efficiency grows, and new models may be able to provide additional storage capabilities through economy of scale.

2. Choose the correct temperature
But all refrigeration keeps food cold I hear you say – well yes, it does, but horses for courses! Do you have house rules for food temperature? If not check out the Food Standards Agency guidelines here. You should all be aware that it is recommended practice to operate refrigerators and chillers at +5°C or below. Meat temperature refrigeration controls the temperature of the contents at between -1°C and +1°C. Freezing of food at temperatures of -18°C or below will prevent bacteria multiplying.

3. Importance of Maintenance
In some situations, replacement of a refrigerator is necessary because it was never maintained. New models can last longer than ever, but proper maintenance can save energy too. Fans get clogged up with dust and evaporators become blocked. When combined with the increased efficiency and capability of new models, a replacement can provide an important cost benefit for the average foodservice business.

In maintenance work, a fridge or freezer should be cleaned thoroughly once a month, while fan blades and condensing units2012-12-16_124344_kelvimator_n660 should be given special attention. Door hinges, as well, are an often-overlooked aspect of the product in question. If they don’t have a secure seal, the unit itself can become overworked, which will harm its long-term lifespan. In addition, having the equipment regularly checked may be able to find important issues like blockages. When buying new refrigeration – ask about the seals and how long they are expected to last.

4. Proper Ventilation and Treatment
Certain rules should be applied to the treatment of a refrigerator to ensure it remains effective. For instance, proper ventilation is vital to ensure the system does not overheat, which can vastly harm its performance. In addition, electrical requirements should be considered, and defrosting frequencies should be set as low as possible. Keeping unit lights off often can also have benefits, as they can reduce heat. Also is it time to replace that high wattage lamp in the cold room with a low energy (and low heat emitting) lamp?

Replacing a refrigerator doesn’t have to be frustrating. Operators should pay attention to a number of key considerations from size to the type of maintenance required. By keeping these concerns in mind, foodservice personnel will find that new models can actually offer great improvements in their operations.

Ask the experts for their advice at, telephone them on 0500 008075 and ask which manufacturer they would recommend for your application.

Buying Guide: Griddles and Grills

GS7-N_310_210Despite the change to colder weather the demand for lighter, healthier food is on the increase. It is good news therefore that griddles, grills and chargrills allow outlets of all sizes to meet that growing demand for lower fat options.

But it’s not just about offering grilled rather than battered or fried fish, burgers, sausages and steaks. Griddles and grills are great for crepes, flat breads and even fruit. It is even possible to stir fry directly onto the griddle plate, for example to produce Mongolian-style dishes.

Investing in a griddle or grill can therefore help you to widen your menu offering for a relatively modest outlay. And here are our tips on choosing the right equipment for your business….


  • Consider your present and future requirements and always buy the size to suit this need, allowing for future expansion.
  • Always talk to your friendly foodservice dealer about your requirements; we will be able to offer impartial advice on the best griddle or grill for your particular needs.
  • Check that capacities and output quoted are like for like.  For example, is the output of burgers per hour for frozen or fresh product?  If output is quoted for steaks, what size and degree of cooking?
  • Buy one made by a reputable manufacturer to be sure of compliance with all relevant regulations and to ensure ongoing service and spare parts availability.
  • Choose equipment which is easy to clean.


  • Griddle plates should have no gaps to allow grease to seep into the body.  Look for gully welded plates or one-piece castings. Splash guards should be integrated for the same reason.
  • Larger units should offer the flexibility and energy saving capacity of a dual heat zone. This allows just part of the griddle to be used in quieter times.
  • Major manufacturers offer a wide range of griddle plates including machined steel, ribbed, half-ribbed and chrome.  Chrome griddles radiate less heat into the atmosphere and so are more energy efficient than steel plate models.  This contributes to a more pleasant working environment.  Their attractive, easy-to-clean cooking surface is also ideal for theatre-style cooking.
  • Check the drainage channel – will it be easy to use and keep clean?

Chargrills:OE7406 propped

  • Choose a chargrill with power to spare, rather than running the unit flat out to achieve the heat you need.
  • Lava rock can be messy to use. That’s why Lincat’s chargrills use innovative heat transfer profiles to achieve controlled flaring, to give chargrilled food its distinctive taste.
  • If gas is not an option or, if adequate ventilation is an issue, chargrilling is still possible with Lincat’s Silverlink 600 electric chargrill. This features a water bath to retain humidity which makes it a good choice for all kinds of meat and fish.


  • Safety of operation should be a key issue in your choice of salamander grill. For heavy-duty models is there a branding plate lifting mechanism (like the EasiLift mechanism from Lincat)? And is this included in the price, or is it simply available as an optional extra?
  • Choose heavy duty, cast aluminium reversible branding plates.  These offer high heat retention and both sides can be used for grilling and branding.
  • For additional flexibility consider buying and adjustable salamander. The grill hood of Lincat’s AS3 adjustable salamander can be moved up or down to offer supreme cooking flexibility. Of safe, ergonomic design, with an easy-lift action and wide grab handle, it is perfect for grilling and gratination.

Busychef currently offer a large range of griddles, grills and chargrills from most major manufacturers. For griddles look here, for chargrills look here and for grills look here.

Busychef would like to thank Lincat for their help with the above

For person to person advice from a foodservice expert phone Busychef free on 0500 008075

Ten Pub or Restaurant Construction and Design Mistakes

I have been involved with numerous restaurant and pub builds, and I have seen a lot of dust fly! In the throes of a restaurant fit out there are many critical details that can be easily overlooked without a good set of plans and an experienced main contractor at the helm. New restaurant or pub owners in particular are susceptible to construction mistakes because, like anyone on a new journey, they are simply unaware of the nuances involved. Mostly in an effort to save money, new owners, (and plenty of experienced operators too), take on the project management themselves, work from an inadequate set of design drawings or hire sub-contractors unfamiliar with restaurant or pub refurbishment. In either or all of these scenarios inevitably something goes wrong. Here are several reoccurring mistakes that I have seen over the years, accompanied by some personal views:

midtown-0171. Underestimating the cost of fitting out a pub or restaurant. There is no such thing as a cheap pub or restaurant build. They are all expensive. Even taking over a pub or previous restaurant space does not guarantee huge savings. New restaurant construction costs begin at roughly £1,000 a square metre and can increase in a hurry depending on the scope of work and finish detail. To quote Russell Norman “One third of new restaurants fail to open the doors due to lack of cash”. 

2. Asking for forgiveness rather than permission? Environmental health and building regulations have become more stringent for food businesses over the years, and inspectors are evermore wise to the shenanigans of contractors looking to cut corners. I have been privy to some unpermitted work performed on a weekend when local authority employees are typically not on duty. “I don’t know where that huge ventilation duct came from sir”. Do yourself a favour and get the proper permissions for the work being done. Penalties are very costly, and the most expensive penalty can be a delay.

DSCN31473. Overestimating the construction timeline. “The builder said he could finish my pub in two weeks”. I hear this all the time from customers, and I have never seen a contractor yet who could strip out and fully refurbish a pub or restaurant in two weeks. Contractors will do and say anything upfront to get your business. Remember that even the best laid plans are subject to human error, weather events, inspection delays and unforeseen circumstances. Whatever timeline the builder tells you, double it!

4.  Second hand kitchen equipment – not so fast! This is not the best first move when refurbishing a pub or restaurant. A new developer, flush with cash and the eagerness to get their project moving is exactly what the catering equipment dealer is counting on. The myth to dispel here is that you are not saving that much money buying used equipment over brand new. There are no warranties associated with anything used and often no refunds once the goods leave the store. You cannot guarantee that second hand equipment meets current regulations – especially gas equipment. To quote a work colleague “Make your first expense your last expense”.

5. Taking on too much space. In general, restaurants are shrinking in size. The cost to operate, staff and fill 1,500 square metres is unnecessarily expensive. Get creative with 600 square metres instead. There is plenty of room, even for a full service concept with a bar, and your restaurant will feel cozy. Use high ceiling space for mezzanine seating and vertical storage, you’re not charged for that in your rent! 


6. Trophy Kitchens. Ah the ego, it makes us do things we shouldn’t; like making the kitchen too big. Chefs are famous for doing this because – well they are chefs. Never allow your chef to go shopping in a catering equipment showroom unaccompanied! I can show you several tiny kitchens that produce high volumes of food. Many use island style prep and cook stations allow for 360 degree access. Remember, kitchens are cost centres. If you must go big add a chef’s table or counter to generate additional revenues. 

7. Goldilocks Bars. Bars can either be too big or too small and much depends on the concept and drinks offer. An intimate six seat bar might be perfect as could a 30 seat titanic. Take precaution in sizing a bar and even ask “do I need one”? Bars have to be staffed and if they sit empty your restaurant looks dead. Find the size that’s just right for you. By the way, a normal bar top height is about 1.1m from the finished floor. I’ve seen to a contractor demolish a finished bar at 1.2m because it was too high, (bar stools are standard height). Check everything!

restaurant-kitchen-designing-108. Open Kitchens, not open wash-up rooms. Open kitchens are popular these days because they add excitement, connection and transparency to the guest experience. Who doesn’t like to see the sous chef tossing a flaming skillet of mushrooms, right? The wash-up area however – we don’t need to see that. Same goes for the kitchen floor, prep area and other potentially messy sight lines…better left concealed. 

9. Sound and lighting gaffes. Finding balance with both of these design elements will make for happy customers. Leave the roar of the crowd to the football ground. When designing a restaurant use a mix of finish materials and decorative items that are sound absorbent. If I can’t hear a conversation across the table then there’s a problem. Having a variety of lighting elements and the control of lighting intensity is paramount. All hail the dimmer knob – but can I read the menu please! 

10. TV Overkill. For the love of Pete, unless you’re designing a sports bar get rid of the TV’s please. We are an over stimulated society. Restaurants should be refuge from the electronic madness. Here’s an idea, turn the TV’s around to face the wall. I’d rather stare at the wires.

Need help planning your perfect catering kitchen – contact the busyCHEF team by phoning free 0500 00875 or email