Professional Kitchen Equipment Essentials
Whether you're starting a catering business and fitting a kitchen from scratch or just updating your existing restaurant kitchen there are several key pieces of equipment that are guaranteed to make life a lot easier for your kitchen staff!
- A Stove Top - Every professional kitchen needs a stove top, ideally an induction one as these are much more energy efficient, cook food a lot faster and don't radiate as much heat as traditional gas hobs.
- A Combi Oven - An oven that has several functions is a great space-saver in a professional kitchen. Rational ovens are a popular choice for many restaurants and gastro-pubs as they are fairly compact and have the capability to cook, bake and steam a variety of different foods.
- A Deep Fat Fryer - Ideally a kitchen should have two deep fat fryers as a minimum so that fish products can be fried separately to avoid cross-contamination with other foods for customers that may have a fish allergy.
- Microwaves - Several microwaves are always handy in a commercial kitchen as they're the easiest way to reheat pre-pared food for quick service.
- A Griddle - If your restaurant serves any steak or burgers then a flat or ribbed griddle is essential to achieve the best flavour for your customers. A water vapour chargrill is another great piece of kit for griddling without producing unnessary smoke and will produce moist and tender results. Recently the French style plancha grill has become a popular way of producing succulent results for all types of griddled food.
- A Panini Press - If you plan on serving lunches or light meals then a Panini press is a must. Paninis are incredibly popular so they're a good addition to most menus.
- A Grill - They are usually found on wall mounted shelves above ovens or can be sited on a special built in stainless steel shelf unit attached to an induction cooking suite, so they don't take up unnecessary space. A grill, or salamader grill is essential in a commercial kitchen as it's the quickest way of finishing the tops of dishes such as lasagne, deserts and pies along with toasting bread and heating up garlic ciabatta bread.
- Hot Cabinet - A hot holding cupboard and a bain-marie are essential in fast paced kitchens where food is prepared and kept warm ready for serving. This allows for much quicker service usually.
- Commercial Dishwasher - Busy restaurants use a lot of crockery and cutlery on a daily basis so it's important to have a dishwasher that can handle near constant running during service.
- Fridges/Freezers - It's important to have an adequate amount of chilled and frozen storage within the food preparation area for items that are needed regularly throughout service. It's also vital to have plenty of back-up storage as well in a separate area.
- Pans/Utensils - It's vital to have a good variety of pots, pans and utensils for all purposes. Make sure they're stored safely and within easy reach of the food preparation area; there's nothing more annoying for a chef than needing a spoon and not having one immediately to hand!
- Extraction Canopy - A commercial kitchen creates a lot of steam and fumes with all of the different equipment running and cooking food releasing grease into the air so it's important to have an adequate ventilation system. An extraction canopy sucks the greasy air and gases out of the kitchen and an air input system or air make up system provides fresh air back in.