Chips not down when it comes to fried food

Energy efficiency should be a top priority when choosing a fryer

FRIED foods like fish and chips continue to be a staple on menus in pubs across Scotland. But as energy costs continue to soar, and the rising price of ingredients keeps a squeeze on margins, is there a more cost-effective way for operators to offer chips and other fried food? Suppliers of commercial kitchen equipment seem to think so.


Rational said its SelfCooking Center with CombiFry basket acts as a replacement for the traditional deep fat fryer and can help operators cut costs.
Pre-fried foods can be cooked without using fat, which is said to speed up cooking times, improve the taste and produce healthier foods, including fries with one-third fewer calories and up to 80% less fat than when deep fried. “This method of preparation offers big savings in overall catering costs,” said a spokeswoman for Rational. “There is no need to buy, store and dispose of frying oil so the whole process needs less labour and supervision. Another bonus is that while traditional deep fat frying is notorious for steaming up the kitchen and raising the ambient temperature, the SelfCooking Center has all this under control. It uses sophisticated insulating materials that keep heat losses to an absolute minimum so less energy is required by the unit and less heat is emitted into the surrounding area, making the kitchen a more pleasant working environment.”
The Catering Equipment Suppliers’ Association (CESA) also stressed the importance of considering energy costs when choosing a fryer.
Director Mick Shaddock said prices can vary depending on whether the equipment is gas or electric-powered. “In terms of choice of power supply it is a balancing act,” he said. “Electric fryers are cheaper to buy than gas fryers, whereas gas fryers are cheaper to run and the bigger models have a higher output capacity. Gas fryers are more expensive to install and service than electrical fryers because of the need to check the gas system.
“There have been significant advances in the technology of high-performance electric fryers in recent years so they are comparable to gas fryers in speed of output.”
Meanwhile, Foodservice Equipment Marketing (FEM) said its Fortius range of fryers caters for a range of production capacities, from 7kg to 33kg of chips per hour. The capacity and design of the oil tank is said to immerse food in oil during frying, meaning it is cooked thoroughly, while the larger size of basket is said to allow food to be spread out, ensuring it is cooked evenly. The range includes a ‘batter plate’, which gives chefs the option of frying fish without using the basket.
Versatility is also high on the agenda for fellow supplier FRIMA International. The firm said its VarioCooking Center doubles as a bratt or kettle pan when it’s not being used as a fryer, meaning it can be used to prepare pasta, sauces, casseroles and pancakes. The “quick and even” heat distribution system is said to cut down on cooking times.