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 www.busychef.co.uk, 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….

General:

  • 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.

Griddles:OG7207-N

  • 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.

Grills:AS4

  • 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

What to Consider When Buying Restaurant Equipment

If you are thinking about opening your own restaurant, buying commercial catering equipment will surely be a top priority. Purchasing such equipment is quite different from buying it for your kitchen at home. Making the right choices is imperative, as they will pave the way for your future success. The following tips might help you in devising a strategy on how to proceed.

Consider Your Budget

Starting up a restaurant is expensive. You have to employ kitchen and waiting staff as well as pay for licences, food, rent, utilities and advertising. No restaurant can go without equipment, hence it deserves special attention. It is the foundation for future growth. But there are ways of equipping your kitchen with everything you need without going bust.

Having gas available in the building is one way of saving money from the outset without reducing quality. If you prefer electric, then you should try getting three-phase into your restaurant kitchen. Three-phase wiring lowers the kilowatt hours used and cuts your electricity bill. Another factor when deciding between electric or gas is efficiency and maintenance cost. Electric equipment is usually more efficient but it contains more moving parts and so repairs are costlier.

Furthermore, there are different levels of quality equipment within the above categories. Depending on how much money you have available you can opt for different classes for the different items you will buy.

Consider your Space

Considering your space and arranging all the equipment properly is vital for the efficient functioning of your kitchen.

Talk to a commercial kitchen designer to devise an optimal kitchen layout so that it creates nice flow throughout the cooking process. A  good kitchen plan is where all your equipment fits in and is easily accessible to the kitchen staff when needed. Therefore, don’t overbuy equipment.
It is better for a kitchen to be compact instead of having useless items standing in the way. Consulting an electrician is important. If you are using an older building for your restaurant, you have to ensure it can supply all the electricity needed. In summer, for example, refrigeration equipment and ice machines work harder to keep cool and can overheat, which can cause electrical outages.  The electrician will be able to help once the layout is decided to make sure the right power is available to the equipment pieces.
                                                                                                                                                                            Consider What You Need

This brings us to prioritising your purchases. Some equipment is indispensable. Other items can be purchased later, on or can even be leased. Once you know your budget you can list all the equipment you want on a sliding scale of necessity. The importance of equipment is determined by how often a specific item will be used. You should consider whether the kitchen could survive without a particular piece for a day or several days. Naturally, the more crucial a piece is, the more you should opt for quality.

A chef’s input before you go shopping is beneficial. Depending on the type of your restaurant, a chef might be able to give you some good advice about what’s important and what can wait. You should also consult an electrician about a good kitchen plan that houses all your equipment neatly and is readily accessible to staff.

Finally, you might want to consult your local environmental health officer, fire service and building inspector before you buy anything. They can usually provide you with a spec sheet on what is allowed into a commercial kitchen.

Do Your Research

Proper research and planning is maybe the most important part of the process. This can save you hassle later on. Compare the different items, set priorities, consult relevant specialists and keep your vision in mind. With all of this in check, you are well on your way to creating a kitchen which will work wonders.

Spacious and Clean Commercial Kitchen

YCE Catering Equipment Ltd are based in Leeds, Yorkshire and has built up a reputation as a respected catering equipment company serving the hospitality, leisure, public and private sectors throughout the UK.

Busychef is the online sales showroom for YCE Catering Equipment Ltd.

 

Commercial Kitchen Design Tips

 

restaurant-kitchenWhatever the style of kitchen, the general rule is that the larger the operation, the more services and facets have to be considered.

The three prime considerations that dictate kitchen design are:

  • Service requirement: Consider the service the kitchen has to provide – for instance, the numbers being served, is it an la carte menu, plated service, self-service, cafeteria-style, etc?
  • Space available: Is the space allocated sufficient to fit in the equipment required?
  • Budget: Always have an accurate idea of spend available.

The design process should never progress without a clear understanding of these considerations, which should then be structured around the need to provide the required service, while satisfying the basic codes of practice of food hygiene and handling and complying with statutory legislation.

Always carry out a risk assessment of any design to identify any shortfalls – for instance, the need to keep the food preparation area separate from the rest of the kitchen to negate the risk of cross-contamination.

Any design should incorporate good workflow patterns and ergonomic solutions to building constraints, so the following criteria should be considered:

Delivery

  • Ensure goods vehicles have adequate access to the premises, providing direct deliveries to the catering area. Provide adequate space to allow a goods check-in area before entering the kitchen.
  • Where possible, bulk storage should be close to the goods-in area so there’s no need for delivery personnel to enter the kitchen and food preparation area. Never underestimate the need to allow adequate space for dry, chilled and frozen goods. Many suppliers have minimum drop requirements.

Preparation

  • Position main preparation between bulk storage and the cooking process, to ensure the correct flow pattern. Where possible, different processes should be segregated – ie, raw meat and fish separate from prepared foods. If necessary, consider chilled preparation areas for high-risk food environments. In smaller establishments where segregation is not possible, stringent regimes must be employed to ensure segregation of processes, so that utensils and tables are suitably sanitised between processes. In addition, consider adequate refrigerated storage for prepared food.
  • Provide adequate prep sinks, separate pot-wash sinks and hand-wash facilities.

Cooking

  • When selecting cooking equipment, consider the requirements of the menu and the ability of the staff using the equipment. Although state-of-the-art equipment such as programmable combi-ovens, pressure bratt pans and computerised deep-fat fryers may be nice to have, they may not always be appropriate for the style and content of some menus. Conversely, never underestimate the benefits that hi-tech equipment can provide, in terms of cost control, and energy and labour savings.
  • Workflows and safety should be the prime drivers in the layout of a professional kitchen. Simple things include ensuring there’s a set-down space next to deep-fat fryers, never siting a fryer at the end of a run, and always allowing a minimum of 900mm corridor to the front of any cooking equipment, although 1,200mm is ideal.
  • Ensure the flow of the cooking suite suits the style of service, with fast-cook equipment such as fryers, salamanders and griddles nearest to the point of service and bulk cooking kit such as bratt pans, convection ovens and boiling pans further away.
  • Consideration should also be given to the mechanical and electrical services available. Sometimes it’s not possible to get gas into a building, or you may be restricted by the size of the incoming electrical supply.KitchenCookingArea

Food Service Area

  • The space requirement for service is often underestimated, particularly by architects. Whether the operation is waited service or tray-line style, you can minimise queuing by the provision of multi pick-up and service points. Consider adequate space for hot and cold holding of prepared food ready for service. If it’s a large site, counters may need to be replenished several times during a service period. In an la carte restaurant, allow sufficient space for plating up and hot pass. Where possible, locate the service point close to the final cooking process to avoid double handling.

Wash-up

  • Nearly always undersized by space planners, the dishwashing operation is key to the success of any catering establishment. If it fails through inefficient planning, the restaurant cannot function. To determine the space required, the capacity of dishwasher and the amount of ancillary sorting space, calculate the number of crockery, cutlery and hollow-ware items (don’t forget trays) to be used during a service period. All reputable dishwasher manufacturers can help you with this calculation and provide you with the correct size system and machine. Remember to allow sufficient space for the storage of clean items and the disposal of rubbish, ensuring the two are segregated to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Location is paramount to the efficient management of the space. Ideally it should be close to both the restaurant and service area to avoid double handling.
  • The amount of steam and moist air produced is often underestimated. If possible, consult a ventilation engineer.

Refuse

  • Always allow for a clearly defined route for dirty dishes that won’t conflict with preparation and service areas. Consider the location of an outside refuse bay, well away from the kitchen entrance.
    Staff facilities
  • Ensure that appropriately located and sized facilities for staff changing and locker areas and staff toilets are available near the kitchen.

Environmental

  • Consider energy efficiency of all equipment, as fuel costs are now higher than ever. Also, consider volumes of water used and research your product; many major manufacturers use energy efficiency as their USPs.
  • Consider any “green” policies, allow for recycling of bottles, aluminium, plastic and paper. If possible, have a recycling area.
  • Ensure correct ventilation and air replacement are available in all areas. Consult an engineer to ensure you comply with the minimum requirements of the local authority’s clean air policy.
  • Ensure lighting provides at least the minimum requirement of 500 lux at worktop height.
  • Invite your local EHO to view your plans and pass comment. It’s always best to get them on your side at the outset.

Building fabric

  • Ensure floors (non-slip), walls and ceilings can be cleaned and maintained easily.
    And remember, almost all designs are a compromise. A good design is one that best suits the constraint of space and budget without detrimental effect on service.

Ask busyCHEF to design your dream kitchen – whether a restaurant or tea room, pub or coffee shop – advice is free! Call Ian Canavan on Freephone 0500 008075.

Lincat launches Giga® Fast Oven

Lincat, the UK’s leading manufacturer of catering equipment, has launched the Giga® Fast Oven, a versatile, compact counter-top oven that can cook a fresh dough pizza in 90 seconds.

The secret to the speed lies within the unique airflow cylinders that intensely focus hot air to deliver exceptionally rapid cooking. The Giga® Fast Oven heats up to 400/450°C in as little as 10 minutes, and features an easy to use temperature control and cooking timer for consistent, repeatable results.

Designed to provide bars, pubs and restaurants with the ability to serve authentic Italian Pizza without having to invest in expensive specialist equipment or staff training, it delivers comparable results to a traditional wood-fired oven.

If pizza isn’t the only thing on the menu, the Giga® Fast Oven can also be quickly converted into a standard convection oven for the cooking of lasagne, croissants, cakes, pies, pastries, potatoes and oven chips, as well as for the toasting of all types of bread products.

Nick McDonald, Marketing Director of Lincat, said:

“The Giga® Fast Oven combines the performance of a dedicated wood-fired pizza oven with the versatility of a convection oven in a single, compact package. And since it operates from a standard 13amp plug it can be used anywhere.

“This will allow any outlet, even one that doesn’t already have a kitchen, to produce tasty, authentic pizzas without the need to invest in additional appliances, specialist staff or training. We think it will prove particularly popular with pubs looking for a cost-effective way to improve their food offering and supplement their wet sales.

He added…

“With the potential to produce up to 30 pizzas an hour, the Giga® Fast Oven will pay for itself in no time, and provide a fantastic long term return on your investment.”

Powerful, energy efficient and easy to use, the Giga® Fast Oven also features include switchable internal illumination, making it ideal for front-of-house use. Like all Lincat products, it is supplied with a two year onsite parts and labour warranty.

Lincat Ltd manufactures one of the world’s most comprehensive ranges of catering equipment. Products are sold in the UK and in over 50 countries worldwide through a comprehensive network of distributors. Lincat Ltd is a member company of the Middleby Corporation.

Tha Lincat Giga® Fast Oven is available from YCE Catering Equipment via their online busyCHEF webshop here and costs £1,188.00 plus VAT.

Healthy Chips?

Busychef would like to thank Paul Hickman Development Chef at Lincat for the his contribution to our blog.

I was recently asked by a journalist whether the widespread desire to offer ‘healthy food’ by cost sector kitchens has rung the death knell for everyone’s favourite – the ultimate comfort food – the chip!

My thoughts on the subject are that whereas a few years ago commercial fryers were starting to be left out of new cost sector kitchens and refits, they’re now beginning to make a comeback.

I think that’s because there’s a greater understanding that what counts, when it comes to healthy eating, is a balanced diet. And fried foods can form part of that healthy eating programme.

It’s true too, especially in healthcare settings, that ‘a bit of what you fancy does you good’. Good nutrition is essential to recovery and, if you can tempt patients to eat with well cooked, familiar food then there are real benefits to be had at every level.

People are also beginning to adopt healthier frying methods. The traditional way to cook chips for example would be to blanch them in the fryer at the relatively low temperature of 160 deg C before chilling them down and storing them until needed. Then the chips would be fried again at a higher temperature prior to service.

Now, many chefs are choosing to steam their chips prior to frying. This allows the chips to be fried just once, in hotter oil. This reduces the quantity of oil which is absorbed by the potato and therefore produces a healthier, less fatty chip.

In order to prepare chips in this way you need to invest in a powerful fryer, which is capable of achieving the high temperature you need (180 deg C) when fully loaded.

This will seal the surface of the potato and allow the interior to be ‘steamed’. Here are one or two other ways to produce ‘healthier’ chips:

  • Serve large, fat chips rather than thin ones. This will reduce fat absorption.
  • Allow chips and other fried products to drain prior to serving – choose a fryer therefore which has sturdy, free-draining frying baskets.
  • Consider using a chip scuttle to hold fried food for a short time prior to serving. This will allow excess fat to drain away.
  • Always use good quality vegetable oil and filter frequently.
  • Make sure that your fryer is powerful enough to meet your needs. Fast heat recovery times are essential. If a fryer is unable achieve the optimum chip cooking temperature quickly, the chances are that the cooking process will be extended with the result that the chips will absorb more fat.
  • Buy a fryer which is big enough for your business. If your fryer is too small, the temptation is to overload the basket, which will result in extended cooking times and greater fat absorption.
  • Buy a well designed and constructed fryer from a reputable manufacturer. Good manufacturers will provide accurate information about optimum batch sizes, capacities, recovery times and overall performance.

In addition to concerns about health and nutrition, cost sector caterers are also worried about the rising cost of food and are aware of the need to reduce waste and minimise their impact on the environment. Extending the life of cooking oil is one of the key ways in which this can be achieved. As a result, fryers such as our Opus 700 models with built-in filtration, which are designed to extend the life of cooking oil by up to 75%, are proving popular at this time.

You can find out more about Lincat fryers by following this link: http://www.lincat.co.uk/products, and you can see the fryers in action at our Leeds test kitchen here.

Panasonic’s Multi Stage Heating Microwaves Allow For Perfectly Timed Cooking

Panasonic-NE-1856-Commercial-MicrowavePanasonic’s Multi Stage Heating

Multi stage heating: what is it and why should you use it? When you want to cook food in a microwave oven, it’s important to make sure it doesn’t dry out, which generally happens using a manual single-stage microwaving process. Multi stage heating allows you to programme different stages in the cooking process and all at different power levels. Panasonic’s Multi Stage Heating Microwaves do just that so your product turns out fully cooked and delicious.

Using Panasonic’s Multi Stage Heating Microwaves, you can set different stages with different amounts of time and power levels so you can reduce the power level and simmer through the rest of the cooking process to maintain the temperatures you want to achieve.

How to Use

Snap-2013-09-05-at-09.06.31-300x163To use multi stage heating, you open the door and place the product you’ll be heating in the microwave – make sure you always cover your product (you don’t want any mess, do you?)! To set different stages, press the power level button. Set the first stage to the highest heat setting you want, then enter the amount of time you’d like it to last. Next, you repeat this process and hit the power level button and then enter a lower power level and set the amount of time. Repeat this process for as many stages you want, up to five different stages. Panasonic’s Multi Stage Heating Microwaves go up to stage five and have a power level as low as three.

When you press start, all the work is done and the microwave will cook your product at each power level for the amount of time you set it. Panasonic’s Multi Stage Heating Microwaves ensures that food can be cooked in a microwave, but without drying it out in the process.

To learn more about multi stage heating microwaves, watch this week’s video and shop at busyCHEF. If you have any questions and want to learn more, contact our sales team on free phone 0500 008 075.

Happy Cooking from busyCHEF! Buy the Panasonic NE1853 1800 watt commercial microwave oven for £505.38 plus VAT here. Order before noon Monday to Friday for next day free delivery.

Gas chargrills with no lava rock required!

OE7406 propped

Chargrilled or barbequed food is an increasingly popular al fresco option for diners. However it’s often not quite so popular with the kitchen staff who have to clean equipment at the end of a busy session. Lava rock, which is mistakenly thought by many to give food its distinctive chargrilled flavour, is both messy and makes equipment difficult to clean. Worse still it often provides inconsistent results.

But it is the igniting of fat and flaring which gives food a barbequed or chargrilled taste rather than the lava rock itself, which gives off no aroma. That’s why Lincat have eliminated the need for lava rock from our Opus 700 and Silverlink 600 chargrills.

In its place are specially designed heat transfer radiants. These are more controllable and consistent than lava rock, yet still ignite sufficient fat for optimum flaring to give a distinctive chargrilled taste. At the same time removable branding grids provide the characteristic ‘branding’ effect. These can be removed at the end of the cooking session, together with the radiants, fat collection tray and splashguard to facilitate cleaning.

There are four gas powered Lincat chargrills to choose from. The Silverlink 600 CG4 (450mm wide) and CG6 (600mm wide) chargrills incorporate independently controlled twin cooking areas, providing economic use of energy during quieter periods. The heavy-duty Opus 700 range includes the 20 kW OG7401 (700 mm wide) and the 900mm wide OG7402, which offers a 25kW output. All four can be operated by propane or natural gas, and are ideal for barbeque applications.

With thanks to Lincat. The full Lincat range of chargrills available from the busyCHEF online showroom