Versatility key in commercial kitchens
THE commercial kitchen can be a fast-paced environment but the right microwave can help lighten the load without sacrificing quality.
That was the message from catering equipment suppliers contacted by SLTN last week, who said the range of functions on most commercial microwaves mean they are a key piece of kitchen equipment.
Patrick Bray, managing director of Regale Microwaves and sister firm Cavity Protection Systems, highlighted the importance of microwaves to the commercial kitchen.
“Far from ‘heat and defrost’, the microwave oven has become a must for every kitchen thanks to improvements in technology and a better understanding by operators of its capabilities,” he said.
Bray said the microwave is the right tool for a number of jobs.
“[Microwaves are] ideal for sauce-making, ‘steaming’ vegetables, drying herbs, toasting spices, scrambling eggs and cooking rice, to name but a few uses, and many busy operations have three or four microwave ovens as they have become more integral to preparation throughout the entire menu as they can save operators time, labour and space,” he said.
When it comes to purchasing a microwave, Keith Warren of the Catering Equipment Suppliers’ Association stressed the importance of choosing the right one.
“Never use a domestic microwave in a commercial operation; it is not up to the job and will not last long,” he said.
“Commercial microwaves will often have more than one magnetron to cope with the repeated usage demands of a commercial kitchen.”
Iain Phillips, sales and marketing manager at Panasonic UK, agreed with Warren, advising operators to “buy the best you can afford, and be realistic about what you will use it for”.
“Operators should look for the microwave that is best-suited to their operation and beware the cheap option as it could cost you money as well as your reputation,” he said.
Although commercial microwaves may represent a larger investment than their domestic counterparts, David Watts of Samsung Professional Appliances highlighted the advantages in longevity that come with making the right choice.
“Modern commercial microwaves should last for three to five years plus,” said Watts.
For operators who want to make sure they choose the right kit, Ray Hall of RH Hall suggested taking an outlet’s menu into consideration.
“To choose the right kind of microwave, operators should look at what dishes they are producing and what you need the oven to do,” he said.
“If you require the microwave to be used mainly for the simple reheat and defrosting of foods then a straight commercial microwave will suffice.
“However, if you wish to reheat and cook food products then a microwave convection oven is well advised.
“Items such as pastry will become soggy if reheated in an ordinary microwave whereas using a combination microwave convection oven the crisp golden brown and conventional finished result will be achieved however in microwave time.
“These two types of oven work extremely well in tandem together. For example, whilst reheating/cooking pastry products using the combination model the ordinary microwave is available for all your straightforward reheat/defrost requirements.”