Every step of food preparation is vital – from storing ingredients to checking cooking temperatures.
And whether you oversee a large commercial kitchen or operate in a smaller setting, there is kit that can help each aspect of the operation run more smoothly.
With demand for fresh produce higher than ever, operators can benefit from preparing as much as possible on-site.
It’s a cost-effective approach but it can be time consuming.
However, Mark Hogan of Foodservice Equipment Marketing (FEM), said there is a raft of easy-to-use food preparation equipment which can “speed up food preparation and ensure consistent results”.
One of the tools he reckons is a ‘must-have’ is an all-in-one slicer – capable of chopping a range of different fruits and vegetables.
Not only can this piece of kit save time, it can also improve the consistency of food leaving the kitchen, according to Hogan.
If space is at a premium, operators should look for multi-functional pieces of equipment.
Another ‘must-have’ when it comes to food preparation is a cooking thermometer.
Tim Strutt of Electronic Temperature Instruments (ETI), whose product range includes the Thermapen, said its “ease of use, speed of response, accuracy and robustness” is “essential” in commercial kitchens.
“Taking and monitoring storage and cooking temperatures can be time consuming, but to meet legal requirements, such activities are critical,” he said.
“Making control in the kitchen as easy as possible, helps everyone achieve due diligence.”
Flexibility is another important consideration when it comes to food preparation and equipment as space is often at a premium.
Malcolm Harling, sales and marketing director at Williams Refrigeration, said food preparation areas “need to be flexible in order to meet the varying demands of both the venue and the customers”.
“As pressure on kitchen space increases, operators are always asking how they can get the same amount of food prep equipment into a smaller space,” he said.
“Compact refrigerated ingredients units, such as Williams’ PrepWell and Thermowell from its Small Kitchen range, help operators maximise the efficiency of their kitchen – whatever its size.”
The importance of flexibility was underlined by Hogan at FEM, who advised choosing food prep kit which can take over manual tasks and speed up food preparation.
“If space is at a premium then operators should look for multi-functional pieces of food prep equipment,” he said.
“These will rarely stand idle, taking up valuable space and will make light work of prepping a range of ingredients.”
Whatever the equipment, the consensus from catering equipment firms was to choose reputable brands.
“Improvements in electronics and plastic moulding have meant stabilisation of production costs and kept the price of equipment at competitive levels in what is a very competitive market,” said Strutt at ETI.
“‘You get what you pay for’ and this
is most often discovered by experience.”